The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) has announced it will publicly consult on proposals to adopt new names for New Zealand’s two main islands.
NZGB chair Dr Don Grant says the move comes as a result of a review of the official naming of the North and South islands.
“At this time we noted that the existing English names were recorded names, rather than official names,” says Mr Grant. “They appeared on LINZ’s maps, charts and other official publications but had never been formalized under the NZGB act.
“The NZGB agreed in principle that the English names should be formalised, that – as a related pair – both islands should also be assigned Māori alternative names, and that all of the names should be formalised at the same time.”
After consulting with iwi, the NZGB decided that the most fitting alternative names are ‘Te Ika-a-Māui’ (for the North Island) and ‘Te Waipounamu’ (for the South Island).
The renaming would give people a choice of language, according to Mr Grant.
“This means that the two main islands of New Zealand could soon be referred to officially as the ‘North Island’ or ‘Te Ika-a-Māui’ and the ‘South Island’ or ‘Te Waipounamu’.”