Both of New Zealand's main islands have now been officially
named, with two options available, Land Information Minister
Maurice Williamson has announced.
The official names are North Island or Te Ika-a-Maui, and
South Island or Te Waipounamu.
The decision followed a recommendation from the New Zealand
Geographic Board, which undertook extensive consultation this
"While these names appear in official publications, including
maps and charts, they had been recorded names only and had no
formal standing," Mr Williamson said.
"As an integral part of New Zealand's cultural identity and
heritage, it is only right the names North Island and South
Island be made official under the New Zealand Geographic
Board Act 2008.
"I have also approved the Geographic Board recommendation to
assign official alternative Maori names for the two islands."
The Maori names had historic and cultural significance and
appeared on early maps and charts, including government maps,
until the 1950s, Mr Williamson said.
Alternative names could be used by those who wished to do so.
"My decision to assign alternative names means people can use
whichever they prefer and they will not be forced to use both
the English and Maori names together.
"Instead, everyone will have the choice to keep calling the
islands what they always have, or use the assigned
alternatives, or use both together if they wish," Mr