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POLL: North & South Island names being “reviewed”

New Zealand, Aotearoa – “Land of the long white cloud” – and now the Geographic Board is reviewing the official names of our North and South Islands.  See the article here.

Some people think “North Island” and “South Island” are pretty unimaginative names, especially on the international stage. 

We have an official Maori weather name for New Zealand, “Aotearoa”.  Also, Mt Cook’s Maori name is also related to the weather – “Aoraki” which means “Cloud Piercer”. 

Have your Say – should we stick with “North” and “South” or do you have any other suggestions?

To post your comment simply click here – there’s no need to register just click and type!


Reema Roy on 17/11/2009 12:25pm

frankly i dont care much about the name…i love the country…New Zealand is a beautiful place….i love coming there….

George on 11/05/2009 2:44am

Unimaginative may be, but I wonder if the members of the Geographic Board have names like Smith or Jones. I’m sure Maori could come up with much more “imaginative” names for them.
I looked at the proposed names for the islands, and not being Maori speaker I’d break my tongue.

minnie on 22/04/2009 6:11pm

i agree with moirai artist, the maori names for landmarks are beautiful with siqnificant meaning.
why not use both english and maori?
i’d be happy with that!

JohnGaul on 22/04/2009 7:01am

You could call them “Number 1 Island” and “Number Two Island” but there would be lots of arguements over which was number one or two ????


WW Forecast Team on 22/04/2009 7:16am

We had a similar chat at work today – some suggested New Zealand1 and New Zealand2…I can bet no one wants to be NZ2!


David on 22/04/2009 9:07am

Nuh, Now let’s be sensible about this….

Since Stewart Island is at the bottom of the country, it should logically be designated as Number Two Island. As for the North and South Island, they can simply draw straws, the short straw gets Number One Island and the other island gets Number Three Island…That should keep everybody reasonably happy, more so when the wind is from the west… Heaven help us when the wind blows from the southerly quarter!

Keep smiling


Elizabeth Collis on 22/04/2009 5:03am

North and South Island are pretty dull arn’t they. I love the idea of maori names for them. But it’s got to be something that can be quickly and easily pronounced. If it’s too hard to pronounce for the average person it will not be used.


Moirai artists on 22/04/2009 2:27am

We often use the traditional names ‘Te Wai pounamu’ and ‘Te Ika Maui’ for the South and North Islands repectively. They are very apt names and we find they are beautiful. There is no reason to ditch North and South, yet life is richer knowing the Maori names and their meanings… lets recognise them in the same way we can refer to both New Zealand/Aotearoa!

John Baker on 21/04/2009 11:53pm

both Islands should remain named as they are.

David on 21/04/2009 11:27pm

I am a Canadian who spent a wonderful 3 weeks in New Zealand in January and my personal preference would be to keep the names as they are. There is no mistaking which island is which given their nomenclature reference to their directional position with respect to each other.

However, if new names are being solicited for consideration, then my choices might be as follows:

“Hillary Island” (for North Island) after Sir Edmund who was born in Auckland and “Rutherford Island” (for South Island) after Ernest Lord Rutherford, who was born in Nelson. Both names are world renowned and forever are part of the history of your country and all of mankind.

Just a suggestion from a Canuk living far, far away.

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