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).
Māori place names with macrons can be searched in the Gazetteer.(New Zealand Gazetteer: Search for Place Names) For an analysis of place names with macrons, you will need to download the Gazetteer data as a CSV file.
Māori pa names
LINZ holds some Māori pa names in the Gazetteer. 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. See also NZMS 346/1 and NZMS 346/2.
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
- Protocol for Māori place names - as developed under the New Zealand Geographic Board (Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa) Act 2008.
Guidelines for dialogue with Tangata Whenua
- Guidelines for Dialogue by the New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa with Tangata Whenua - confirmed by the Board on 3 August 2010
Other useful websites
- Māori Dictionary
- Learning Media - Ngata Dictionary
- National Library of New Zealand
- The Community Archive (National Register of Archives and Manuscripts)
- Te Kāhui Māngai
- The Waitangi Tribunal
- Waikato University Māori Names
- Māori Language Commission Place Names Map
- Te Kooti Whenua Māori Land Court
- Office of Treaty Settlements