Find Māori place names, dual names and alternative 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.

You can search for Māori place names in the New Zealand Gazetteer of Place Names. The New Zealand Gazetteer lists all official and unofficial Māori place names, including dual and alternative names.

You may also find it useful to search the Waikato University Index of Māori Names.

What’s the difference between official and unofficial names?

Search the New Zealand Gazetteer

Search the Waikato University Index of Māori Names

The NZGB’s role in promoting the use of Maori place names

The NZGB’s acknowledgement of the historical context of Māori place names is reflected in its Frameworks document as well as recorded in its maps and publications. The NZGB’s Protocol for Māori Place Names guides how the Board collects and encourages the use of Māori place names.

Frameworks of the New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa (PDF 1.64 MB)

NZGB place name maps and publications

Protocol for Māori place names (PDF 90.78 KB)

The NZGB has basic and practical Guidelines for Dialogue with Tangata Whenua to help Board members and the Secretariat to engage directly with Māori on place naming.

Guidelines for dialogue by the New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa with Tangata Whenua (PDF 212.7 KB)

Searching for Māori names in the New Zealand Gazetteer

 

Macrons

You can search Māori place names that have macrons in the New Zealand Gazetteer by downloading the data as a simple .csv file. Not all Māori place names in the New Zealand Gazetteer have had their spelling checked for macrons.

Download the New Zealand Gazetteer data as a.csv file

Māori Pā names

You can search Māori Pā names in the New Zealand Gazetteer. The Māori Land Court also has records dating from 1862. For issues concerning Māori land and naming you can also contact Te Puni Kōkiri and Te Temu Paeroa (the Māori Trustee). See also NZMS 346/1 and NZMS 346/2.

Treaty of Waitangi settlement names

Some Māori place names can be negotiated through the Treaty of Waitangi claims process to become official place names as part of the settlement.

Find out more about Treaty of Waitangi settlement names

Dual naming

Dual naming recognises the equal and special significance of both the original Māori and non-Māori names. You must use both names on official documents. The NZGB format is for dual names to be separated by a forward slash with a space either side, eg, Aoraki / Mount Cook. Generally, the Māori name comes first, recognising rights of first discovery.

See the Frameworks of the New Zealand Geographic Board (PDF 1.64 MB) for more about dual naming

Alternative names

Alternative names also recognise the special historical and cultural significance of both original Māori and non-Māori names. However, you can use either one or the other on official documents.

Useful websites for researching Māori place names

 
Last Updated: 4 May 2015