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Posted by karere under Maori News
The North and South Islands are now also officially known as Te Ika-a-Maui and Te Waipounamu, the Government has announced.
Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson has this afternoon also formalised the names North and South which previously had no formal standing.
The alternative names were confirmed after a recommendation from the New Zealand Geographic Board that people be able to choose whether to use the English or Maori names for the islands.
Te Ika a Maui meant “the fish of Maui” and Te Waipounamu “the waters of greenstone”.
The Maori names, which Williamson said had “historic and cultural significance”, were recorded in early government maps of New Zealand but that ceased in the 1950s.
The names North and South had never been made official. This was discovered only when the board met to discuss adopting Maori names for the country’s two main land masses.
“While these names [North and South] appear in official publications, including maps and charts, they had been recorded names only and had no formal standing,” Williamson said.
“As an integral part of New Zealand’s cultural identity and heritage, it is only right the names North Island and South Island be made official under the New Zealand Geographic Board Act 2008.”
Williamson said his decision to assign alternative names meant people could use whichever they preferred and would not be forced to use both the English and Maori names together.
“Instead, everyone will have the choice to keep calling the islands what they always have, or use the assigned alternatives, or use both together if they wish,” he said.
New Zealand Geographic Board chairman Don Grant welcomed the decision.
From now on Land Information New Zealand maps and charts will reflect both the English and Maori names, which will be added when they come up for revision in the normal course of maintenance.
“Maori names were also used by the early European explorers - beginning with Captain Cook - and continued to be used throughout most of New Zealand’s history, so this decision simply brings them back as an option for those who want to continue using them,” Grant said.
Public submissions had overwhelmingly wanted the choice to use the English or Maori names, he said.
Of the submissions received for each proposal, 64 per cent supported Te Ika-a-Maui, 65 per cent supported Te Waipounamu, 87 per cent supported North Island, and 88 per cent supported South Island.
- © Fairfax NZ News[here]