Place names Gazetteer
The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) maintains an online list of official and unofficial place names.
New Zealand Gazetteer of place names
We have historical information on place names, including correspondence, original maps and charts, and books.
Most of our historic paper records are digitised but not available online. Please contact us if you would like digital copies or inter loans from our library collection.
- Correspondence volumes 1-72, 1915 – 1994 and unbound correspondence 1993-1996
- File 22/2605/3 volumes 1-21, 1945-1995,
- Minutes volumes 1-12, 1927-2012
- Card indexes
- Miscellaneous booklets
- The Provisional Gazetteer of the Ross Dependency (1958)
- Early Antarctic Place Names Committee minutes 1958-1967 (two volumes) and Supplements to the Provisional Gazetteer of the Ross Dependency (four supplements)
- Antarctic file series 17/357
- eight bound volumes (1952-1994)
- eight folios held at Archives New Zealand (1956-1968)
- unbound proposals and correspondence (1993-1997)
- Antarctic file series BRD-02-00-05/ZNO – seven volumes (1997-2004).
From 2006 our correspondence, proposals, submissions and minutes are mostly digital and available on request.
Recent minutes are available on NZGB hui and minutes
Part of our historic map collection is online at Alexander Turnbull Library
Board Map Collection – Alexander Turnbull Library – Tiaki
Maps, charts and data
Toitū Te Whenua has online maps and charts as well as other data from the LINZ Data Service.
You can search for current digital hydrographic charts using the spatial view of the New Zealand Chart Catalogue or the list view
Historic charts produced by Toitū Te Whenua and previous hydrographic authorities in New Zealand are digitised and available on request.
University of Auckland’s GeoDataHub has historic maps and plans freely accessible online of New Zealand and its offshore islands, and the Ross Dependency in Antarctica.
MapsPast has combined layers of New Zealand’s mapping series from 1899 to the present. These can be viewed online or used as layers in a Geographic Information System (GIS).
Some very early maps and surveys are available at New Zealand Heritage Maps.
New Zealand Gazette
We publish all decisions on official place names in the New Zealand Gazette, which is the Government’s official newspaper.
Search issues published since 1993
Search issues published 1845 to 1992
Archives New Zealand
You can search the Government’s historic records. Some records are available online, but most will need to be viewed in person at Archives New Zealand.
Archives New Zealand
Heritage New Zealand
Heritage New Zealand has information about the historic and cultural significance of heritage places including places of significance to Māori, historic sites and areas, and archaeological sites.
Heritage New Zealand
The New Zealand Sign Language Dictionary
You can find out how to sign place names in the New Zealand Sign Language Dictionary.
National Library of New Zealand
The National Library of New Zealand has extensive historical information including maps, journals and manuscripts, and copies of all books published in New Zealand.
National Library of New Zealand catalogue
We assisted the National Library to produce a social enquiry activity for teachers and students on the decision to rename Somes Island to Matiu / Somes Island.
Matiu/Somes Island social enquiry activity
The National Library also publishes:
- Papers Past, which has digitised copies of many New Zealand papers from 1839 to 1961.
- The Appendix to the Journal of the House of Representatives
- Magazines and Journals including Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand 1868-1961
- Letters and Diaries
National Library of Australia
The National Library of Australia and New South Wales State Library have some historical information about New Zealand.
Bibliothèque Nationale de France (National Library of France)
The National Library of France has digitised books, charts and manuscripts relating to New Zealand, such as material produced by the early French explorers.
Recreational and reserve areas can be viewed on the Department of Conservation’s Maps
Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
You can search place names, histories and biographies in Te Ara – The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Te Ara also published the online Dictionary of New Zealand Biography in English and Māori
Other useful New Zealand place name resources
- Auckland Council’s libraries have a New Zealand card index where you can search place names and Auckland Council’s historic map collection
- The New Zealand Alpine Journal has all issues from 1892 to 2014 online
- The New Zealand Electronic Text Collection has historical publications
- Early NZ Books has searchable and downloadable copies of early books and journals that are out of copyright in New Zealand
- The Marsden Archives have the writings of the early missionary Samuel Marsden online.
Māori place name resources
Kā Huru Manu
Ngāi Tahu’s cultural atlas Kā Huru Manu has over 1,000 original Māori place names, kā ara tawhito (traditional travel routes) and the original Māori land allocations in the Ngāi Tahu takiwā.
Kā Huru Manu
Māori dictionaries and writing conventions
Search Māori / English words and phrases, and some place names, in Te Aka Māori-English, English-Māori Dictionary
Te Puni Kōkiri
Te Puni Kōkiri has a directory of iwi authorities to contact when consulting about Māori place names.
Te Kāhui Māngai – Directory of Iwi and Māori Organisations
Ministry of Culture and Heritage
New Zealand History has a list of 1000 Māori place names.
1000 Māori place names
Māori Land Court Minute Books
An index to the Native Land Court Minute Books is online, but the records are on microfilm at Archives New Zealand and Auckland University Library. Other documents are held by the Māori Land Court.
Index to Native Land Court Minute Books
Archives New Zealand research guide
Te Kooti Whenua Māori: Māori Land Court Māori Land Online
Other useful Māori place name resources
- Waitangi Tribunal publications and resources
- Te Arawhiti- the Office for Māori Crown Relations Deeds of Settlement
- Henry Fletcher’s index in Waikato University library
- Te Tumu Paeroa
- The Journal of the Polynesian Society has digitised copies of its journals published from 1892 to 2012
- Ngā Ingoa o Aotearoa [sound recording] : an oral dictionary of Maori placenames / devised, gathered and edited by Hugh Young
- Māori maps
Undersea feature name resources
NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research)
Bathymetric charts can be purchased from NIWA.
GEBCO (General Bathymetric Charts of the Ocean)
You can search the names of undersea features beyond New Zealand’s waters in the GEBCO Undersea Feature Names Gazetteer
You can search Marine Regions Gazetteer for undersea and coastal place names.
Antarctic place name resources
Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research – Composite Gazetteer of Antarctica (SCAR-CGA)
The SCAR-CGA has most existing place names in Antarctica.
Composite Gazetteer of Antarctica
International Principles and Procedures for Antarctic Place Names
Australian Antarctic Division (AAD)
You can search the Australian Antarctic Data Centre’s Gazetteer for Australia’s Antarctic place names, including some that are less formal.
Australian Antarctic Data Centre Gazetteer
United States Geological Survey (USGS)
You can search the Antarctic Names Database of the United States Board on Geographic Names, which has place names on the Antarctic continent that the United States Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names has approved.
The USGS also publishes an online Antarctic Research Atlas.
Atlas of Antarctic Research
United States Antarctic Resource Center
University of Minnesota Polar Geospatial Centre has aerial and satellite imagery and elevation data and a comprehensive international map catalogue
International naming resources
- The Australia New Zealand Working Group on Place Names has links to searchable place names’ databases.
- The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names has links to searchable place names’ databases.
- Archive.org publishes out-of-copyright texts, including many relating to Antarctica.