22 Apr 2009

Maori names sought for NZ's main islands

9:53 pm on 22 April 2009

Iwi are to be consulted on what they think are appropriate Maori names for New Zealand's North Island and South Island.

The Geographic Board is investigating Maori names for the islands and has found that the English names "North Island" and "South Island" are not official by law, despite their common usage.

It now wants to formalise the current names and introduce a Maori name, to be used individually or with the English version.

The board started researching the issue after author Keith Darroch proposed renaming the South Island ''Te Wai Pounamu'' - a name written on Captain Cook's original maps.

Mr Darroch told Morning Report that the issue now lies with iwi. Pakeha will get a say after all iwi have been consulted.