Is the Name Waihinga or Waihenga?





There is an old cemetery next to the school in Martinborough is known as Waihenga Cemetery. The earliest burial dates to 1872. The Waihenga spelling became common from about 1874 onwards, often appearing thus in Wellington newspapers. Crawford uses this spelling in his interesting article article about Bidwill's hills in 1880 (Crawford, J.C. 1880. On Bidwill's Front Hills. Article LXVIII, Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute Volume 12: 416-418, 1879). The bridge over the Ruamahanga near Martinborough is today frequently referred to as Waihenga Bridge in various official local body documents. When the township of Martinborough was laid out in 1879 by John Martin, it replaced a small European settlement which had the name Wharekaka, and a nearby Maori village named Waihinga.

The New Zealand Gazetteer, the official database of New Zealand place names, records that the place name of Waihenga was corrected to Waihinga in 1941, and this was published in the New Zealand Gazette 29 July 1948 (Notice No. 42, page 964). The specific named place involved is south of Honeycomb Rock near Glenburn on the coast east of Martinborough. Waihinga stream runs inland at this point and is marked on the NZMS260 map T27.

Four mid 19th century letters in the Alexander Turnbull Library authored by Maori were written in the Maori language with the address written as Waihinga, not Waihenga. They are signed by prominent Wairarapa Maori of the time. Three are dated 5 October 1853, and one is dated 10 October 1853. Two letters are written with the same hand, the other two are each in different hands. So there are three Maori authors. It seems reasonable to conclude that the correct Maori spelling for this area is Waihinga.


Letter from Riwai Kututai and others to McLean. McLean, Donald (Sir), 1820-1877 : Papers. Ref: MS-Papers-0032-0677B-14. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22566751 Enlarge

Letter from Mohi Te Matorohanga and others to McLean. McLean, Donald (Sir), 1820-1877 : Papers. Ref: MS-Papers-0032-0677B-15. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23173275 Enlarge

Letter from Aperahama Te Ao, Hamuera Te Rangi & others to McLean. McLean, Donald (Sir), 1820-1877 : Papers. Ref: MS-Papers-0032-0677B-20. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22655535 Enlarge

Letter from Koninamu Homaiwaho, Riwai Te Kukutai, Piripi Rare, Ihaia Wakamaiuru, Iharaia Tatahau, Arona Poutake, Noa Wangaparawa, Mohi Torohanga to McLean. McLean, Donald (Sir), 1820-1877 : Papers. Ref: MS-Papers-0032-0677B-13. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23061056 Enlarge

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Last modified on Monday 25 November 2013