July 22, 2020
New names reveal old stories
The New Zealand Geographic Board has fast tracked more than 600 place names as part of a programme to approve existing place names as official.
They include almost 400 significant official Māori place names around the North Island and the top of the South Island.
Board chair Anselm Haanen says while names like Barrett Reef in Wellington Harbour and Waikanae in Kāpiti have been used for a long time, they were not official.
The board also applied macrons to some of the Māori place names like Tākaka, Eketāhuna and Māhia Peninsula.
Mr Haanen says ensuring the correct spelling will help keep the stories behind the names alive.
For example, many of the river names in the south-west of Te-Ika-a-Māui relate to the overland journey of the ancestor, Haunui-a-Nanaia.
Turakina River is the river he ‘felled a tree to cross’, Rangitīkei River he ‘strode across’ and Waimeha Stream is where ‘the waters disappeared into sands’.
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