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.

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
Video: the world's friendliest cities

Video: the world's friendliest cities

Which cities are going to welcome you with open arms? Where will the locals be likely to buy you a beer, and who's going to invite you in for tea when it's cold…

10 Oct 2014 • Rough Guides Editors videocam Video
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