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Masterton District Council’s street sign spelling slip-up


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Masterton District Council is owning up to a street sign slip-up that saw a 19th-century New Zealand Prime Minister’s name spelt incorrectly.

The council posted a photo of a misspelt Ballance St sign on its Facebook page, stating that the installation of a replacement sign had “suffered a slight hiccup on the spelling front”.

The sign omitted an L to read “Balance St”.

“Rest assured, we’ll be replacing it in the very near future,” the council said.

The council’s style guide for road and street names stated that names should “be easy to spell and pronounce” and “be correctly spelt”.

The sign was installed on May 22 as a replacement for a missing sign at the intersection with Ngaumutawa Rd.

A council spokesperson said the error came to the council’s attention last week.

“We have asked the contractor to replace the sign as a priority – probably in the next couple of weeks.”

The replacement sign would cost the council $110.

In the meantime, the misspelt sign had disappeared from the intersection with Ngaumutawa Rd.

Other signs along Ballance St were spelt correctly.

Irish-born John Ballance was Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1890 until his death in 1893.

He was remembered not only with streets in Masterton, Wellington, Christchurch, and other towns across New Zealand but also with the farming area of Ballance between Pahiatua and Palmerston North.

According to Te Ara Encyclopedia, Ballance was a supporter of the women’s suffrage movement, influenced by the views of his wife, Ellen.

In a speech in the House of Representatives in 1890, he said, “I believe in the absolute equality of the sexes, and I think they should be in the enjoyment of equal privileges in political matters.”

However, when the House passed electoral bills in 1892 that would have enfranchised all adult women, Ballance sought to delay its implementation until after the 1893 election, believing that the women’s vote would not be in the Liberal Party’s favour.

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