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city ("district") and port, southwestern North Island, New Zealand, near the mouth of the Wanganui River. The site lies within a tract bought by the New Zealand Company in 1840. The company established a settlement in 1841 and named it Petre. It was renamed in 1844, the present name deriving from a Maori term meaning "big mouth," "big bay," or "big heaven." Wanganui was declared a town in 1862, a borough in 1872, and a city in 1924.