Resources to help you research place names when making a proposal.

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

NZGB archives

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.

New Zealand

  • 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. 

Contact Toitū Te Whenua

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 Heritage Maps

General resources

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:

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

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

Undersea feature name resources

NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research)

Bathymetric charts can be purchased from NIWA.

NIWA charts

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

Marine Regions

You can search Marine Regions Gazetteer for undersea and coastal place names.

Marine Regions

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.

USGS Antarctic Names Database

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

Contact Kōrero whakapā