Honokawa and Whanokao Place Name Proposal Report

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This report is also available in PDF Honokawa Place Name Proposal Report (PDF 2.09MB).

27 March 2009 Place Name Proposal Report

  • Whanokao/Honokawa
  • corrigendum?
  • Mount Hikurangi, Gisborne.

General Background

A mountain north west of Mount Hikurangi in the Gisborne, East Cape region has been named with two official names. Honokawa was gazetted in 1941 (HON) p.10 and Whanokao was gazetted in 1941 (HON) p.42. Both are included as separate entries in the Gazetteer as official names for the same mountain but only the name Whanokau is used on current maps.

In earlier correspondence by the Board (VL XVII/67), Sir Apirana Ngata had said that Mount Honokawa should be Mount Whanokao and the Board agreed that both names could be used (also acknowledged that Whanokao is the older name).

On the current Infomap 260-Y15, only the name Whanokao is used. However on the previous NZMS 1, sheet N71, Honokawa is used. If both names are official, then both should possibly be shown on LINZ’s official publications, possibly as a dual name (despite both being Māori names).

The Board’s policy on dual and alternative names is:

16.17 Dual and Alternative Naming of Features/Places

  • Dual and alternative naming recognises the equal and special significance (historical, cultural, etc.) for the community of both the original Māori and non-Māori names.
  • Dual and alternative naming provides for two official written languages of New Zealand; however one name is not necessarily or even usually a translation of the other;
  • Dual and alternative naming can overcome some of the problems that wholesale replacement can cause, such as loss of identity and confusion, especially in emergency situations; and
  • Dual and alternative naming allows for either name to be used orally and for both names to be written together; perhaps with the passing of time, the original Māori name will gain every day acceptance and use.
  • Dual naming requires the use of both the Māori and the non-Māori name in official use, e.g. Aoraki/Mount Cook. The names must be separated by a forward slash.
  • Alternative naming means that either or any of the names that are Gazetted as official names, may be used as the official name. This will usually arise where the name for a single feature or place has been published in both Māori and non-Māori forms, both of which forms are in general use. The Board may recognise that either or both of them is official, i.e. in alternative naming, the use of one or other of the alternative names will comply with the requirement for the official name to be used, or both names may be used. If both names are used they must be separated by a forward slash. Refer to paper by Tony Bevin entitled ‘Indigenous Place Naming in New Zealand’.
  • There may be instances where an official place name takes both the alternative and dual form. That means that an official publication could use one or other of the alternative official names, or could use the official dual names, separated with a forward slash.
  • In terms of Section 18 of the New Zealand Geographic Board Act 1946, only the official place name (i.e. that name gazetted under the Act or recorded on an official map produced by the Surveyor-General) can be published or shown or depicted on certain publications (i.e. those maps, manuscripts, and publications covered by Section 18). This includes full dual names and may also include individual alternative names where the gazette states that either name may also be known officially; and
  • An international guideline from UNGEGN promotes the principle of univocity, i.e. one name for one place. The Board’s acceptance of dual names is considered as a single name consisting of two parts – each in a different language. Alternative names may not strictly conform to this principle, so their application is not applied lightly.
  • Historically, the Board has been cautious about the application of dual and alternative place names;
  • On the 29 May 1986 a variation was made with regard to alternative naming, when a decision was made by the Minister of Lands to name Mount Egmont, ‘Mount Taranaki or Mount Egmont’;
  • The Board has adopted a practice in dual naming of generally using the original Māori name as the preceding name (i.e. in recognition of rights of first discovery), followed by a forward slash meaning ‘or’) and, then the non-Māori name e.g. Matiu/Somes Island. However, each case is considered on its merits;
  • There may be some other unusual forms of dual and alternative place names, such as two Māori place names or two non-Māori place names and these are considered on a case by case basis by the Board;
  • Dual and alternative place names that result from Treaty of Waitangi settlements can also take various forms, and while the Board provides the Office of Treaty Settlements with its views, comments and recommendations in terms of its guidelines and criteria, the final decision rests with the Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations. This has lead to some unusual outcomes, e.g. non-Māori names preceding the Māori names for the majority of Ngāi Tahu place names, and very long dual names (both Māori) for three Te Arawa lakes, though with the ability to use the short form in common usage;
  • Historically, the recording of dual and alternative place names has generally been to show the ‘secondary’ name in brackets following the ‘primary’ name. However, this is often interpreted to mean that the name in brackets has a lesser status. Therefore, this format or convention is not applied now and will progressively be replaced by the <Māori name/non-Māori name> format; and
  • Geographically, both names in dual or alternative naming apply to the same feature or place and its extent.

16 September 2009 Place Name Proposal Report

  • Whanokao/Honokawa - Gazetteer anomaly
  • East Cape Region

General Background

Board Consideration at previous meeting:

At the Board’s previous meeting of 27 March 2009, the Board noted that the mountain northwest of Mount Hikurangi has two official names, Whanokao and Honokawa both of which were gazetted in 1941 as separate entries. The TPK observer acknowledged Whanokao as the name. The Board agreed to defer its decision in order to consult with relevant iwi to:

  • confirm that two official Māori names exist for the same feature – Whanokao and Honokawa;
  • provide views on how these two names may be depicted on official documents, i.e. Whanokao/Honokawa or Whanokao or Honokawa;
  • comment on whether macrons should be applied to both or either name, noting that in which case the names will need to go through the full public notification process; and
  • comment on whether the generic geographic descriptor ‘Mount’ should apply.

NZGB Archives

Sir Apirana Ngata advised (Board correspondence VL XV11/67) that Whanokao is the older name and that both names are in use for the Maunga. No information was available in the Board’s records elaborating how Whanokao or Honokawa came into use.

Iwi Consultation

Following the Board meeting of 27 March 2009 letters were written to Te Whanau a Apanui, Ngāti Porou and Tūranganui a Kiwa. Te Whanau a Apanui responded by email advising that Whanokao is located within the Te Whanau a Apanui tribal territory and is known only by the name Whanokao. Te Whanau a Apanui also advise that the descriptor “Mount” is not required. The use of macrons was not advised. Further correspondence with Ngāti Porou and Tūranganui a Kiwa was conveyed but no response as at mid-August 2009.


A printable version of this map is available in the Honokawa Place Name Proposal Report (PDF 2.09MB).

This map shows the location of Honokawa.

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