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Ed Sheeran

Macrons made official for Māori place names

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The New Zealand Geographic Board says it's responding to public pressure over the use of macrons in Māori names.

The board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa has made 824 Māori place names official.

All the names are in common use, and macrons have been added to 307 of the names in common use.

Examples include Taupō, Whakatāne, Whangārei, Lake Wānaka, Ōhākune, Ōpōtiki and Tūrangi.

Many of the names have resulted from a collaborative project with Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu to officially recognise their traditional tūturu names from their online cultural heritage atlas, Ka Huru Manu.

The remaining names were made official to support the Say it Tika campaign.

Board secretary Wendy Shaw says the spelling or orthography or Māori place names is essential and helps with pronunciation.

"The story behind the name is extremely important to the board and that can only be done correctly with the correct orthography and I think with New Zealand society there has definitely been a groundswell in the past few years the board has recognised around the use of macrons," she says.

Among the names with macrons added is New Zealand's longest place name, Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu, which tells the story of the hill where Tamatea played his flute to his loved one.

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