This is an e-mail that was sent to all councilors and Community Board members. There have been previous posts on this topic on here. Our view is that the situation before 2010 (with no macron) should prevail.

Kapiti meaning


Happy New Year Mayor & Councillors

I have been notified about a recent local newspaper article titled  “case of
the missing macron”.  Whilst I support the person(s) attempt in correcting
the misspelling of our district name by removing the fictitious macron from
“Kapiti” on the sign, they do need to be more careful with their artwork.

It is an opportune time to remind you all, once again, of the facts relating
to how Council has taken an anarchist stance in defiling our district place
name.  Please read this e-mail carefully in full because “ignorance of law
excuses no one”.

1.     In August 2009, Mayor Jenny Rowan dictatorially introduced the macron into Kapiti Coast District Council without consulting her fellow
2.     Council refused (and still does) to submit an application to the New
Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) to change the spelling of our Territorial
Authority — Kapiti Coast District Council (KCDC) — by inserting a macron.  The previous Council Chief Executive (Pat Dougherty) stated that Council does not recognise the NZGB as the legislated Authority to approve a name change.
3.     KCDC’s lawyers Simpson Grierson advised them in a letter dated
27/10/2010 that “where Council is required to use its legal name (e.g.
because legislation requires it), Kapiti should be spelt without a macron.
This is because the Local Government Act 2002 (LGA) provides the legal names for all territorial and regional authorities”.
4.     Mayor Rowan and her Council, at a meeting on 16/12/2010, passed a
resolution to blatantly break NZ Law by continuing to operate under a
Territorial Authority that doesn’t exist in Part 2 of the Local Government
Act 2002.  The motion also stated that, Council “seeks a formal
determination from the Courts on the matter, should there be a legal
challenge in relation to the use of the macron on Council documents”.
Please note that Councillors K. Gurunathan and Mike Cardiff voted against
the motion.
5.     The Maori Language Commission publicly stated in 2010 that the place
Kapiti does not contain a macron. However, following pressure from Council and some [but not all] local Maori elders, they chose to qualify that local iwi dialect can affect the way in which a word is verbally expressed and this can in turn create issues for how the place name is correctly spelt.  They added that it is important the spelling of any given place name, or part thereof is consistent with meaning that the place name conveys. 

In Māori dictionaries, the word “Kāpiti” has only one translation — “Cabbage” — in NZ English.

The reasoning given by Mayor Rowan to introduce this fictitious macron in
the first place was to help with te reo Maori pronunciation of the place
name Kapiti.  Ask yourself this question, can any of you categorically state
you know how your ancestors spoke 200 years ago?  We all know that people’s speech is different and often changes over time.

NZ Maori tribes did not have a written language so, over time, they used
immigrant European Missionaries to translate their verbal language into
written form.  We can all agree therefore that Maori speech would have been written with alphabetic soundings as known by those Missionaries at the time.  That being the case, if the place name Kapiti was originally
pronounced with an extended “aa” sound then why wasn’t it written “Kaapiti” on the Treaty of Waitangi back in 1840, as European languages at the time have many instances of “aa” in written words.  Te Raperha was a Maori rangatira of the Ngati Toa tribe who signed a copy of the Treaty as
“Principal Chief of Kapiti and Cooks Straits” on 14 May 1840.

For those interested, Maori rangatira were people who held tribal authority
for maintaining boundaries between the tribe’s land and that of other
tribes. Of course, in typical bureaucratic style, Council thought that by using
stealth, rather than the correct legislative procedure, residents would
adopt their nonsensical macron in everything associated with our district
place name without question.  It would appear from the photo in the
newspaper article our Council got it wrong and has created a Kapiti Coast
passive resistance following denouncing the false macron.

Council and the local Maori lobby group “Te Whakaminenga o Kapiti” took
exception to my findings but were unable to present historical evidence to
substantiate their claim about introducing the macron into the place name
Kapiti so I was told its actual derivation is “ka apiti”.  Note that they
proclaim it was two words which would most definitely have been spelt
“Kaapiti’ if a missionary had written it as one word.

The myth then developed that Kapiti is a variation of “āpiti” (also stated
in the newspaper article) but again local Maori elders have no explanation
what the letter “K” means in Kapiti?  If we are to believe that it comes
from “ka āpiti” then can anybody explain how early Maori settlers pronounced
“Ka aapiti”?  How, in written te reo Maori, is “Kaaapiti” represented?

I am still in favour of the long established historical understanding (also
in various text) that the place name Kapiti is an abbreviation of “Te waewae
Kapiti o Tara raua ko Rangitane” translated in NZ English as “the boundary
between Tara and Rangitane”.  Ngati Toa elders agree with me!  In December 2012 they signed their $70 million Treaty settlement where the place name Kapiti (213 instances) does not contain a macron

When I revisited this topic a year ago in January 2018, a Councillor
responded by stating, “the macron issue has, in previous trienniums been
referred to our iwi partners for opinion”.  Since when does local Maori
ratepayers have the jurisdiction of changing a Territorial Authority Name
in New Zealand?  Under what authority do our elected Local Government
representatives have in passing this very important issue over to a small
group of non-elected representatives on basis of ethnicity?

It is the impression of the vast majority of New Zealanders, both non-Māori & Māori, that under the Treaty of Waitangi we are “one people”.  Do the
Mayor and Council agree with this premise?

All I have been asking over the past 9 years is for someone (anyone) to
present me with the proclaimed historical data that shows the place name
Kapiti was spelt with a macron over the “a”.  In all that time nobody has,
including Kapiti Coast District Council; The Maori Language Commission, iwi elders in “Te Whakaminenga o Kapiti” or editors/journalists of various NZ newspapers.

In his days before becoming Mayor, Mr Gurunathan used his journalistic
skills to write an article about my stance over the Kapiti macron issue by
comparing it to the parable of “the King’s new clothes”.  For those who
don’t know this ancient tale, it is where people were told to say how
beautiful the King’s new clothes were when he was actually parading through the streets completely naked.  One, less gullible boy, chose to speak the truth.  Who was right?

Mayor, Councillors and other elected officials, please make 2019 the year
when you take the initiative to stop operating illegally by either:-
1.     applying to the New Zealand Geographic Board, with all the necessary
evidence, to have our Territorial Authority name legally changed; or
2.     acknowledge that your predecessors made a mistake and drop the macron from our place name KAPITI.

I still live in hope that common sense will prevail [a big hope with the present councilors —Eds] and must remind you that in 2016 you signed an oath under the legal name Kapiti Coast District Council (spelt without a macron) to represent us to the best of your ability.


Martin Warriner

9 College Drive
Paraparaumu Beach   5032
New Zealand
Phone:  (04) 296 1117

P.S.   This newspaper article, brings into question the competency of
Tuehu Harris (Maori Language Commission Chief Executive) understanding of language!  By un-dotting an “i” or un-crossing a “t” they cease to be a
written letter in both English and Maori languages but the letter “a” exists
with or without a macron in the 26 letter New Zealand alphabet.  However,
spelling of words may require one or two occurrences of these letters to
convey the correct meaning.

To quote [former cabinet minister] Peter Dunne, “if we create rights for some New Zealanders and not others, then we start down a very sure and slippery slope to anarchy”.