Find Māori Names

Read about the use of Māori place names today, tips for researchers and how to find out more about the origins of Māori place names.

Official & unofficial Māori names

For official Māori names and dual names, see the New Zealand Gazetteer of Official Geographic Names (the Gazetter). Otherwise, the New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa (NZGB) recommends using the Waikato University Index of Māori Names to find unofficial Māori names. To learn more about the differences between official and unofficial names, see help finding names.

Dual naming of features

Dual naming recognises the equal and special significance of both the original Māori and non-Māori names, within the community. The policy and guidelines for dual naming is outlined in the Frameworks of the New Zealand Geographic Board document (available in the NZGB's naming rules, criteria, standards, guidelines and policies).

Macrons

The NZGB has compiled lists of official names with macrons to assist in mapping, charting, signage, reporting, legislation, or other official documents.

Māori pa names

LINZ holds some Māori pa names in the New Zealand Place Names Database . In addition to this you may wish to contact the Māori Land Court, which holds records dating from 1862. You can also contact Te Puni Kōkiri and the Māori Trustee in regard to Māori land issues and naming.

Treaty of Waitangi

Some Māori place names of special significance can be processed through Treaty of Waitangi claims to become official. Learn more about Treaty of Waitangi settlement names. Details about claims are available at the Office of Treaty Settlements.

Origins of Māori names

Learn more about Māori place names in a historical context from the time of Pacific settlement to the role of the NZGB in the consultation on Māori place names today in the Frameworks of the New Zealand Geographic Board document (available in the NZGB's naming rules, criteria, standards, guidelines and policies).

The NZGB's maps and publications also contain useful information, in particular:

  • Ngā Tohu Pūmahara, The Survey Pegs of the Past, Understanding Māori Place Names, and
  • He Korero Pūrākau Mo Ngā Taunahanahatanga a Ngā Tūpuna, Place Names of the Ancestors, A Māori Oral History Atlas (out of print).

Protocol for Māori Place Names - DRAFT December 2010

Guidelines for dialogue with Tangata Whenua

Other useful websites