Whanganui residents have mixed emotions after local newspaper adopts Māori spelling

Whanganui residents have mixed emotions over their local newspaper adopting the Māori spelling of the city in its front page banner.

After 162 years, the Wanganui Chronicle has from today added an 'h' to the name becoming the Whanganui Chronicle, to mark Māori Language Week.

Some locals say they do not like it, while iwi and community leaders are calling it the right move, and one that is long overdue.

"It is great, that is how it should be spelled and you need to get it right," one resident said.

"I think that is correct, I do not have a problem with it," said another.

"It never had an 'h' when I was brought up and I still do not spell it with an 'h' , but I guess it is a sign of the times," commented one local.

"I do not like it. I would rather it without an H because I have always known it that way," said another elderly man.

"It should have had an 'h' a long time ago," said a woman carrying a newspaper in her hand.

NZME announced on Friday that all three of its Whanganui papers would be spelled with an 'h' from now on.

It is a win for local iwi, who are staunch supporters of the 'h' , even though their reo Māori dialect means it is almost silent.

But iwi leader Gerrard Albert said it is still meant to be there, and this is progress.

"It is a step that recognises the maturity in the community to accept that Whanganui is a Māori name," he said.

"It is also about those institutions that describe us and communicate with us now taking that step.

"I congratulate the Chronicle on that move."

The debate over the 'h' has been a point of contention with locals for years, with two past referendums voting against it.

However, at the end of 2015, the district formally adopted the spelling.

That was championed by former mayor Annette Main, who said the newspaper was a bit behind the eight ball.

"I have wondered why it has taken a newspaper so long to actually correct a spelling mistake on its front page," she said.

"It is a major communicator for our community and for them to be reflecting the correct name of Whanganui is extremely important for everyone who lives here."

The Whanganui River that runs through town is offically spelled with an 'h' but the city's name can be spelled with or without it.

Some organisations and businesses opt to run without it, including the Wanganui Rugby Union.

But mayor Hamish McDouall said the newspaper had done the right thing, and others would follow suit in time.

"Really fantastic, particularly in Māori Language Week this week - it is really tremendous," he said.

"I think the general community is accepting, we have a lot of businesses shifting - just like the chronicle has - to record their names with the H.

"There will be hold outs, but it will be a process - maybe generational."

Adding an 'h' to the paper brings it in line with all government departments in the area, as well as the police and the courts.

- Leigh-Marama McLachlan


The Chronicle's last edition without an 'h' in its front page title. From today, it is the Whanganui Chronicle. Source: RNZ / Leigh-Marama McLachlan

South Auckland charity The Aunties takes home top Women of Influence Award

The founder of a South Auckland charity group dubbed The Aunties has won the top honour at the Women of Influence Awards.

Jackie Clark set up the not-for-profit organisation six years ago to help vulnerable women and children who've experienced domestic violence.

The group's primary aim is to provide material needs to those they support.

"The Aunties believe everyone has the right to be safe, to have shelter, to be fed, to be loved, to dream, to read, to write, to have their say, and to be heard," the group proclaims on its Givealittle page. "Where any of those things are missing, the Aunties mission is to help provide them - the practical things, and also in terms of advocacy and pastoral care."

The group says it believes in manaakitanga - protecting the mana of the people they help so that they can find their way towards living independently, and with dignity and joy.

"Jackie and her fellow Aunties give without seeking anything in return and without judgement," said Westpac NZ chief executive David McLean, whose company co-sponsors the Women of Influence Awards. "She, and her core of other Aunties, ask vulnerable women what they need and then set about making it happen, in a completely selfless way.

"They have made an enormous contribution to our local communities at grassroots level."

The award ceremony was held last night at SkyCity in Auckland.

Here's the full list of winners:
Supreme Winner: Jackie Clark
Lifetime Achievement: Theresa Gattung
Arts and Culture: Miranda Harcourt
Board and Management: Dr Farah Palmer
Business and Enterprise: Angie Judge
Rural: Rebecca Keoghan
Public Policy: Charlotte Korte
Community/Not for Profit: Jackie Clark
Innovation and Science: Professor Wendy Larner
Diversity: Sarah Lang
Global: Sarah Vrede
Young Leader: Maddison McQueen-Davies

Jackie Clark set up the non-for-profit six years ago, which aims to help vulnerable women and children who have experienced domestic violence. Source: Breakfast


Eleven Glenorchy homes still without power 48 hours after early spring snowfall

Some resident in Central Otago's Glenorchy are still without power 48 hours after a spring snowfall caused major disruptions in the deep south.

Eleven properties remains with power this morning.

Aurora Energy is hoping to have power restored to the area by this evening.

Around 360 households in the central Otago town are affected, with Aurora Energy hoping to have electricity back on by this evening. Source: Breakfast

In many places power was cut, schools were closed and flights cancelled. Source: 1 NEWS


Watch: Artist uses pyramid in central Auckland to spread some joy around town

A Kiwi artist are architect is using a pyramid in central Auckland to spread some joy.

Matt Liggins has made it his mission to ask people what makes them smile, but instead of rolling up to you on the street he's built a pyramid to help lighten people's moods.

TVNZ1's Seven Sharp's Lucas de Jong went along to take a look and share a laugh in the video above.

Matt Liggins has made it his mission to ask Kiwis what makes them smile. Source: Seven Sharp

Meet the transgender Wellington school caretaker brightening up kids' days

A transgender caretaker at a Wellington school has been using her musical talents to brighten up the kids' days.

Molly Mason was born as Michael, but soon discovered she was a female born in a man's body.

"I believe I'm a woman, and I associate as a woman, so I live my life as a woman," Molly told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp.

Molly has a love of music that began when she was just six.

Now, in her role as caretaker at a Wellington school, she uses her talent to good effect by beat boxing with the kids at lunchtime.

"When I realised that beat boxing and making sounds was something I couldn't live without, that was it, nothing else mattered."

However, to be this woman - that little boy Michael, had a fight on his hands.

"I got bullied from primary school right through until the day I left college and left Blenheim."

Molly is now proud to be transgender and says the stage is her safe place. She performs as her drag alter ego called Bette Noir.

"Anything that makes me sad, makes me worried, makes me scared, anything that I find stressful, it's not there, it's gone." 

Seven Sharp’s Arrun Soma spoke with Molly Mason. Source: Seven Sharp