Spelling, pronunciation of ‘Wakatipu’ up for discussion

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By MATTHEW MCKEW

Is it Wakatipu or Whakatipu — and how do you pronounce the latter?

That’ll be the subject of a discussion at Frankton Library this week with Darren Rewi — a Queenstown-based Ngai Tahu kaumatua or elder — in the build-up to Waitangi Day, on February 6.

Back in November, Mountain Scene drew attention to the controversial Europeanisation of the word, with highly-respected Ngai Tahu elder Sir Tipene O’Regan saying it was ‘‘something that needs attending to’’.

He pointed out not only was Whakatipu — pronounced as if with an English ‘ph’ — the traditional Maori spelling for the lake, but also Dart River (Te Awa Whakatipu), Hollyford River and Valley (Whakatipu Katuka) and Harris Saddle (Tarahaka Whakatipu).

Rewi will discuss the etymology of the names and the local, cultural significance.

The free event starts at 5.30pm at the Remarkables Park-based library on Thursday, February 4.

matthew.mckew@scene.co.nz