North and South Islands officially nameless
4:00AM Wednesday Apr 22, 2009
By Isaac Davison

Cartoon / Rod Emmerson

The North and South Islands are about to be officially christened after the New Zealand Geographic Board discovered they had no formal names.

The board said it would consult the public and iwi on what each island should officially be called.

For several years the board had been investigating Maori names for the islands and exploring a process for formally recognising alternative Maori names for each island.

Board chairman Don Grant said "While researching this issue, we noted that 'North Island' and 'South Island' are actually not official names under our legislation, despite their common long-term usage.

"We therefore want to formalise alternative Maori names and, at the same time, make the naming of the North and South Islands official."

Alternative naming meant that either the established English names or the Maori names could be used individually or together.

This differed from dual naming where both names were used together in official documents, such as maps.

More here.