Unlike the Whanganui National Park and Whanganui River, the city of Wanganui has long been spelt without an “h”. The pronunciation of both is the same, deriving from the local Maori dialect, pronouncing the “wh” prefix phonetically (as opposed to elsewhere in the country, where the “wh” is pronounced “f”). The spelling quirk results from a direct transcription of the Maori name (whanga nui translates as “big harbour”). Most locals opposed any streamlining of the spelling, but in 2009 authorities ruled that the “h” is optional. For consistency with the majority of current usage, the city spelling “Wanganui” has been retained in this guide.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

New Zealand features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

24 breaks for bookworms

24 breaks for bookworms

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas In 1971, fuelled by a cornucopia of drugs, Hunter S. Thompson set off for Las Vegas on his “savage journey to the heart of …

02 Mar 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge camera_alt Gallery
How to find the right New Zealand for you

How to find the right New Zealand for you

While it may not loom large on the world map, New Zealand feels incredibly vast and imposing on the ground, especially to those who try to visit the North and S…

23 May 2016 • Eric Grossman insert_drive_file Article
Everything you need to know about backpacking New Zealand

Everything you need to know about backpacking New Zealand

New Zealand’s craggy coastline and beautiful national parks are dotted with wildlife and beg to be explored. The scenery gets more spectacular around every co…

07 Mar 2016 • Rachel Mills insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month