2 Apr 2013

North and South Islands nameless - officially

5:22 pm on 2 April 2013

The names of New Zealand's two main islands are yet to be formalised.

The New Zealand Geographic Board says the names North Island and South Island and their alternative Maori names, Te Ika-a-Maui and Te Waipounamu, appear on maps and charts but have not gone through the formal process of making them official names.

The board has now agreed to make them formal but only after the public is consulted.

It says once this happens and providing there is no groundswell of opposition the English and Maori names will become official and could be used as alternative names.

The Maori names for both islands appeared on early maps but this ceased during the 1950s.

Board chairman, Dr Don Grant, says for a long period, the South Island appeared on maps as Middle Island.