Correct the Robèrt name Petition

Correct the Robèrt name Petition

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Nicky Robert started this petition to Palmerston North City Council

In 1877 Charles and Anne Robèrt along with their 8 children packed up their life in London and travelled to New Zealand and became one of the first settlers of Palmerston North.

Where Leafland is today, the family cleared the land and built a house. When town planner John Stewart proposed the streets of Palmerston North, he looked to the families who had settled there, Gillespies, Flygers and Roberts. He named the street where my family had settled ‘Roberts Line’.

Now in those days (as it is now) our French surname was pronounced ‘Ro-bear’, this is as natural a response to the French name as say the grape varietals of Pinot or Cabernet. So it would have been said ‘Ro-bears’ Line, not ‘Roberts’ Line (as in King Robert of England) that it is pronounced today.

Speaking of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape, a well known relation to Sauvignon Blanc - only New Zealand's most successful wine export! And, if I were John Stewart, and named a street Cabernet Line I have no doubt the pronunciation would remain ‘Cabbernay’ over the years to come. Something the French and English do well in respect of their languages and we humble Kiwis now do with Te Reo!

So what happens when we forget how to pronounce the name and we say exactly what we read the word to be? Well, should pronunciation of the word become an issue then the French have a range of symbols to assist not only in the realisation that the word is French but also to help pronounce it correctly. Te Reo - Māori does this with the help of macrons.

So Robert becomes Robèrt - the grave accent over the è would encourage the ‘bear’ sound as opposed to the ‘urr sound and in turn would remind people of the silent ’t’ - remember this is only done when there is assistance required in saying it correctly.

So to ensure the Robèrt family name will be correctly attached to what is a little piece of Palmerston North history for generations to come, we need your support to amend the street name…

We named/signed, ask that PNCC restore Robèrts Line to its correct pronunciation and ask that Council records/archives and street-signs reflect this. We ask this Petition be tabled to Officers and Councillors for consideration ASAP please.

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