824 Māori place names made official
25 June 2019
The New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa (NZGB) has made 824 Māori place names official.
The names are all in common use with 307 now including macrons. Examples include Taupō, Whakatāne, Whangārei, Lake Wānaka, Ōhakune, Ōpōtiki and Tūrangi.
“Applying macrons correctly in written Māori provides the meaning of a name and assists with pronunciation. This is important for all New Zealanders,” says Anselm Haanen, Acting Chairperson of the NZGB.
“Many Māori place names have important stories behind them, so ensuring the correct spelling will help keep those stories alive. For example, as part of these changes New Zealand’s longest place name, Taumatawhakatangihangakōauauotamateapōkaiwhenuakitānatahu, has had macrons added. The name tells the story of the hill where Tamatea played his flute to his loved one.”
Many of the names have resulted from a collaborative project with Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu to officially recognise their traditional tūturu names from their online cultural heritage atlas, Kā Huru Manu. The remaining names were made official to support the Say it Tika campaign.
The full list of these official Māori place names is available here.