25 Apr 2009

Aoteoroa should be North Island name, says academic

10:45 am on 25 April 2009

A Maori academic is lending support to the view that Aotearoa is the appropriate name for the North Island, rather than the whole country.

The New Zealand Geographic Board is seeking iwi input on Maori names for the North Island and South Island, however the name Aotearoa is not being considered.

Christchurch author Keith Darrock has said the board has got it wrong.

David Rankin of Ngapuhi says not all iwi support the suggested name of Te Ika a Maui for the North Island.

He says the Geographic Board is culturally ignorant on this matter for disregarding tribal histories in favour of fabricated stories with no substance.

The Geographic Board last week said 'North Island' and 'South Island' are not official names in law, despite their common long-term usage.

The Maori names, Te Ika a Maui, for the North Island and Te Wai Pounamu for the South Island appear on early official maps and documents.

The boad is writing to iwi throughout the country seeking their known traditional Maori names for both islands.

If changes go ahead, either English or Maori names could be used, individually or together. The issue is expected to be put to public consultation next year.