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Māori place names International Standard

Media Release

8 October 2008

For Immediate Release

Māori place names recognised as International Standard

E ngā mātā waka o te motu, tēnā koutou katoa.

The National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa is proud to announce a major milestone in the international recognition of New Zealand’s English/Māori placenames. The U.S. Library of Congress has agreed to accept New Zealand dual language place names for inclusion in Library of Congress Subject Headings, the de facto international standard for subject headings. These headings will now be in bibliographic records available on the National Bibliographic Database and for use worldwide.

“This is a fantastic achievement for the National Library and we are very proud of the people who made this happen. This success is testament to our commitment to the recognition of our Māori placenames at an international level” Alison Elliott - Director Content Services, National Library of New Zealand/Aotearoa

These place names are mostly the result of the Crown's settlement with Kai Tahu in 2003, when 88 South Island place names were changed to dual language place names, the majority to joint English/Māori names. In April 2006, after much discussion, the Library of Congress agreed to accept the New Zealand Geographic Placenames Database on the Land Information New Zealand website as the authority for New Zealand placenames. Since then, guidelines for these subject headings have been developed in consultation with the Library of Congress.

John Mohi – Kaiwahakahaere Māori (Māori, Pacific, International) National Library of New Zealand/Aotearoa highlighted the importance of this development in saying “Ka wani kē hoki te reo Māori… this is a world first, it brings key te reo Māori kupu (search terms) into library search engines and desktops around the world”

The first group of dual language place names submitted are mainly changes to existing subject headings, resulting in changes to bibliographic records on the National Bibliographic Database. These are:

1. Aoraki/Mount Cook (N.Z.), formerly Cook, Mount (N.Z.)
2. Southern Alps/ Ka Tiritiri o te Moana (N.Z.), formerly Southern Alps (N.Z.)
3. Stewart Island/Rakiura (N.Z.), formerly Stewart Island (N.Z.)
4. Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park (N.Z.), formerly Mount Cook National Park (N.Z.)
5. Westland/Tai Poutini National Park (N.Z.), formerly Westland National Park (N.Z.)

The new subject heading is Ashburton River/Hakatere (N.Z.)

Future changes and new proposals include:
Franz Josef Glacier/Ka Roimata o Hine Hukatere (N.Z.)
Fox Glacier/Te Moeka o Tuawe (N.Z.)
Milford Sound/Piopiotahi (N.Z.)
Matiu/Somes Island (N.Z.)
Doubtful Sound/Patea (N.Z.)


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