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Wanganui District Council (New Zealand)

Last modified: 2020-08-02 by ian macdonald
Keywords: wanganui | river |
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[Wanganui District Council] image by Jean Marc Merklin, 30 July 2020

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Wanganui District Council

The Whanganui District Council has 2,373 km2, with about 47,300 inhabitants. It is part of the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council, also known as Horizons Regional Council.

In 2015 the flag is changed:

"The flag shows Whanganui's coat of arms, with the council's name under it in both Maori and English. It is displayed in the council chamber, and flown outside the council offices. Ms Main said she preferred it to the previous flag, a logo designed by David Mack. The coat of arms was given to the district in 1955 and is based on that of Lord Petre, a New Zealand Company officer after whom the city was initially named, and it also takes elements from the coat of arms of William Hogg Watt, the city's first mayor. Each element has a meaning - with the Rutland Stockade, at the top, in memory of Whanganui having been a garrison town, and the shells a reference to the long journey to New Zealand by European settlers. The tuatara supporting it, at right, recognises links with Maori people."

Given to the City in 1955, the Coat of Arms includes part of the Arms of Lord Petre, an important officer of the New Zealand Company, after whom the City was first named Petre, and part of the Arms of William Hogg Watt, the first Mayor. The Coat of Arms was presented to the "City of Wanganui" by Dr Morris Watt. Here is a brief explanation of the meaning of the symbols that appear on the Coat of Arms: Rutland Stockade The Rutland Stockade is a reminder that Whanganui was a garrison town from 1846 to 1870, the period during which the British Regiments were stationed in Whanganui. Ram's Head The ram's head denotes the pastoral industry, a source of wealth to the District. Books The books represent Whanganui's reputation as a cultural and educational city. Silver Shells The silver shells, denoting a pilgrimage, were taken from Lord Petre's Coat of Arms, and here mark the long voyage the early settlers took in 1841 from England, to found Whanganui. Broad Silver Band The broad silver wavy band represents the Whanganui River, the pathway used over the centuries by Māori, and later by Pākehā, to the centre of the North Island. Gold Bands The gold band on each side of the silver band represent the wealth created by the many industries centred on Whanganui. The Three Ships The three ships come from the Coat of Arms of William Hogg Watt, the first Mayor, and represent the fleet of ships of Taylor and Watt, which opened up trade from Whanganui to the outside world. Lion The supporter on the left-hand side is the lion from the Petre Coat of Arms, with the addition of the four stars of the Southern Cross. Tuatara
The support on the right-hand side is New Zealand's native tuatara, and recognises the City's strong links with local Māori. Motto The motto is "Sans Dieu Rien" (Without God Nothing) and was the motto of Lord Petre.

The Coat of Arms was granted to the then Wanganui City Council; not Whanganui District Council. A number of councils throughout New Zealand are in a situation where the grant was originally made to an organisation other than the current controlling authority. To rectify this situation a royal warrant is required. However, for convenience the rights have been allowed to be assumed by Whanganui District Council. As they are then no longer truly the “Wanganui City Coat of Arms” they should more properly be known as the “Memorial Bearings of the Whanganui District”.

Valentin Poposki, 29 July 2020

Along with Palmerston North and New Plymouth, Whanganui is one of the main population centres of the southwestern North Island.

The city was originally called Petre (pronounced Peter), but the name quickly was changed to Wanganui, the local spelling and pronunciation of the Maori term meaning "big harbour". In rcent years there has been a move to standardise official Maori place names (and give Maori alternatives to ono-Maori place names) in New Zealand, and several have changed from established local spellings to the spellings as used in Waikato Maori (Waikato being a main seat of Maori dominance). The change to W(h)anganui was the post prominent and most bitterly protracted of the changes, and both spellings are still used locally and nationally, although all official government organisations use the spelling with the H.

The former Wanganui flag reflects the city's nickname of "Big River City" - the Whanganui River (which has always been spelt that way) is the country's fourth longest and reaches its mouth at Whanganui.
James Dignan, 30 July 2020

Coat of Arms

[Wanganui District Council] image located by Valentin Poposki, 29 July 2020


[Wanganui District Council] image located by Valentin Poposki, 29 July 2020

Previous flag

[Wanganui District Council] image located by Vanja Poposki, 25 July 2012

The Wanganui District Council, based in the City of Wanganui in the southwest of New Zealand's North Island, seems to have a flag. There's a pretty reasonably photo of it on the Council website.
James Dignan, 8 September 2009