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Mangawhai name debate

07 Apr 2010 09:48 am

Tena ra koutou katoa,
Greetings whanau


Over the last couple of months, I have been reading with interest the great debate and discussions around the pronunciation and spelling of Mangawhai. In line with this debate, and as tangata whenua and a local resident, I have also been asked my thoughts on the issue.

Well, whanau, we can all recall a similar debate that took place last year down at Wanganui. The silent ‘H’ (Whanganui) that got everybody going – the local Wanganui Council, local Iwi and the community, even some Government Departments all had their say and input.

As for the correct spelling and pronunciation of the word Mangawhai, tangata whenua have always pronounced and spelt Mangawhai with the silent ‘H’ for many generations.

Here is an interpretation of the meaning Mangawhai:

Manga – meaning stream or river
Whai – naming of a chief – Te Whai who fled from northern Ngapuhi tribe and settled on the headland where the river meets.

In short, the name Mangawhai means ‘the river of Te Whai’. It is also recorded in recent history, through Maori folklore and whakapapa, (genealogy) stories around the Mangawhai area.

Finally, there is the Deed of Sale, the purchase sale by Crown agents and the local Maori chiefs of 1854. The chiefs who signed on behalf of their respective hapu, such as Ngati Mauku, Ngati Kauwae, Te Uri o Hau, Ngai Tahuhu and seven others, Chiefs such as Paikea, Aramakaraka, Matikikuha, Paratene Taupuhi and many others who took part in this land sale.

The point of interest whanau, that Deed was signed and witness by both parties title Mangawhai Land Block. If there were any miss-pronunciation or spelling errors at this time, our tupuna would have corrected this before signing.

So whanau, great debate, until next time.

Mauri ora (Healthy living)

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