October 10, 2013
Name change reflects Maori reality
Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says official Maori names for the North and South islands recognise what is already reality to Maori.
Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson has accepted a recommendation from the Geographic Board that the islands be named officially for the first time in both English and Maori.
The North Island will also be known as Te Ika a Maui, the fish of Maui, while the South Island is Te Waipounamu, greenstone waters.
Dr Sharples says that that’s how Maori already see them.
"We have our own view of New Zealand, our own tribal boundaries, so we're aware when we're passing from Ngati Awa into Tuhoe, for example, or Tuwharetoa into Kahungunu. We're aware of these tribal boundaries that nobody else is and as long as we have been doing that, so have we been using the words Te Ika a Maui and Te Waipounamu, and we will keep using them," he says.
Copyright © 2013, UMA Broadcasting Ltd
IMAGE: The Ngai Tahu legend of Aoraki / Mount Cook is the story of Aoraki and his three brothers, the sons of Ranginui. They were on a voyage around Papatuanuku when disaster struck and they became stranded upon a reef. The voyagers climbed on to the top side of the canoe and after a time the south wind froze them and turned them into stone. Their canoe became the South Island (Te Waka o Aoraki is the oldest name for the South Island) and Aoraki who stood tallest of the brothers is now seen as the majestic Aoraki / Mount Cook on the Southern Alps.