Thursday, 22 October 2020

WHITIANGA WEATHER

What do we call ourselves?

Are you looking for an opportunity to contribute to the history of Mercury Bay? To even have your name featuring in the Mercury Bay Museum? Or just to have something to talk about other than COVID-19, the elections in New Zealand and the USA, and the future of Super Rugby? Then why not take part in our campaign to find demonyms for the residents of Matarangi, Kuaotunu, Whitianga, Hahei and Cooks Beach?

Demonyms are generally understood to be words identifying groups of people in relation to where they live. An easy example is referring to Auckland residents as Aucklanders. Or those living in Wellington as Wellingtonians. Or New York and New Yorkers, and Melbourne and Melburnians. Somewhat more difficult are Dunedin and Dunedinites, Sydney and Sydneysiders, Los Angeles and Angelenos, and Moscow and Muscovites. Amusing are Christchurch and Christecclesians (who would have thought), Sunderland and Mackems, and Kuala Lumpur and KLites. Confusing are Birmingham (England) and Brummies, and Birmingham (Alabama, USA) and Birminghamsters. Not sounding quite right are Wilmot (Wisconsin, USA) and Wilmotters, Yellow Knife (Canada) and Yellow Knifers, and Xalapa (Mexico) and Xalapeños.

Wouldn’t it be great to have identity? To refer to the people of Whitianga as, well, something? Rather than “the residents of Whitianga?” What about Whitiangians? Whitis? Whitians? Or Fidians? Matarangi and Matarangians? Cooks Beach and Cooks Beachers? Hahei and Haheians sound complicated. And there has to be something better than Kuaotunu and Kuaotunuians.

Be part of the campaign. Please send us your ideas in writing, together with your name and surname, and phone number. Be in touch with us whatever way you like - social media, email, mail, by hand. All we ask is one idea per person for each town/village and please stay away from things that may offend.

During the third week of November (about five weeks from now), we’ll work through all the entries and identify the most popular demonym for Whitianga and each of the outlying villages. We’ll publish the results in The Informer of 24 November. From that issue onwards, we’ll attempt to use the results as often as possible in our articles and stories.

Moreover, we’ve also agreed with the Mercury Bay Museum to make some wall space available where the story of the campaign will be told. That will include the name of every person who sent us their ideas.

This year is a very tough year, for all of us. We hope a campaign about what we call ourselves will lighten the mood, bring some fun and, who knows, make history and expand our vocabulary with identities we’re proud to use every day.

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The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.