"The Wanaka Community Board has resolved to oppose the New Zealand Geographic Board's proposal to put a macron - long vowel sound - over the first "a" in the place name Hawea."And why are they opposing this?
"Jude Battson, who represents Lake Hawea on the board, said it could be emotive discussing changes and Maori people might say the spelling had nothing to do with non-Maori people.
"But once you get past the emotion of it all, the cost of it is paramount to the Lake Hawea Community Association resisting it," Ms Battson said."Really? the cost? Whatever you do - don't get bloody emotional about it especially not you maori trying to explain why the correct pronouciation via adding a macron is important and means something.
"There could be a lot of money we could spend on this that we could be using to reduce our debt," Ms Battson said.Yeah right very weak argument indeed - and
"This is not about being counter-cultural. We are dealing with things in 2009. This name has been in place since the early settlers arrived and were trying to understand - because there was no written [Maori] language - what the meaning [of Hawea] was," Queenstown Lakes Mayor Clive Geddes said.Might I suggest to geddes that the name was in use well before settlers turned up. Why not ask maori how they pronounce their language and how that should be represented in english. Don't be so arrogant - everything existed before the europeans arrived - and guess what - everything was known and named and had it's unique whakapapa.
"Hawea is supposed to be pronounced with a long "a" sound on the first syllable and without any emphasis on the second syllable.
The Lake Hawea Community Association also discussed the issue recently and has decided to write a submission pointing out most members consider the change unnecessary and that adding a macron was unlikely to influence the present generation of residents to pronounce the word properly.
The board members also discussed whether a macron would encourage district newcomers to stop saying "Hi-wee-ar" (incorrect emphasis on the second syllable).
The change has come about because the Department of Conservation recently included a macron in the official name for the Hawea Conservation Park.
The park name was gazetted so it is now a Crown protected name.As we move towards another year we really should make the effort to fix up these pronounciation issues. It is easy - just listen to what the local tangata whenua say and do that. No need for big debates or upsets. Listen to maori and do what they recommend. We will move towards better pronounciation of maori and ignore those who deliberately persist with incorrect sounds.