Published date

The New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa is inviting submissions on proposals to change seven place names in Fiordland, including the highest point on Milford Track, Mackinnon Pass.

Under the proposals, the spelling of Mackinnon Pass and Lake Mackinnon will be changed to reflect the correct spelling of Quintin McPherson McKinnon, the surveyor, explorer and guide who the features are named after.

In line with the Board’s role in collecting and encouraging the use of original Māori place names, a dual name is proposed for the pass. The inclusion of Omanui, which may mean ‘the great running’ or ‘the great escape’, was suggested by Te Rūnunga o Ngāi Tahu and recognises first discovery by Māori. 

In addition, the positions of four mountain/peak names and one pass name in the Darran Mountains will be moved to their proper locations, and the spelling of two of them will be corrected. 

Consultation on the following place name proposals is now open:

Current place name

Feature type

Proposed place name

Lake Mackinnon


Lake McKinnon

Mackinnon Pass


Omanui / McKinnon Pass

Incorrect position


Mount Milne

Incorrect position


Mount Tarewai

Incorrect position and misspelled Mount Mahere


Mount Makere

Incorrect position and misspelled Waitiri



Parihaukea Pass [incorrectly positioned]


Pikipari Pass

“The Board invites submissions for or against the proposals from anyone who wants to have a say,” says Wendy Shaw, Board Secretary.

The Board will accept submissions on the proposed changes in the Darran Mountains until 30 September 2021 and on the Lake Mckinnon and Omanui / Mckinnon Pass proposals until 30 November 2021.

See information about each proposal and how to make a submission  

In addition, the Board recently made a number of final place name decisions:

  • 1 place name altered
  • 204 existing names made official
  • 76 amendments or corrections 
  • 5 military camp names discontinued.

Most of these place names are part of the Board’s fast track programme to approve existing place names as official. Once official, place names must be used in all official documents, road signs, maps, websites and databases.

“It’s important to ensure we preserve and protect place names so that they endure, and we have certainty about their location, extent, origin and authenticity,” added Ms Shaw.

The Board also confirmed that it does not have jurisdiction over the naming of military camps. The New Zealand Defence Force is responsible for naming these.

For New Zealand Geographic Board media enquiries, please contact or call 027 566 5251.

Background and additional information

More information about the proposals under consultation is available on our consultation page:


The New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa is New Zealand's national place naming authority, with jurisdiction over New Zealand, its offshore islands and continental shelf, and the Ross Dependency of Antarctica. The Board is an independent statutory decision-making body that is supported by Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand.

Place names are important signposts of modern, historical and cultural influences and values of the people who gave them. Knowing the correct names for places and their locations is also important for everyday communications and activities, such as when emergency services need to identify ’where’ quickly, clearly and accurately.

Official New Zealand place names can be found in the New Zealand Gazetteer.

Fast track process

A recorded place name is one that appears in at least two publicly available publications or databases that, in the Board’s opinion, are authoritative. A recorded place name can be approved as official without public consultation. This is known as the fast-track process and is set out under section 24 of the New Zealand Geographic Board Act 2008.

The Board is working its way through recorded place names under a region-by-region programme. If there might be public objection for a recorded place name, then it must follow the full statutory process which includes public consultation.

More information about the fast track programme


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