The functions and jurisdiction of the New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa (NZGB) are defined in sections 10-12 of the New Zealand Geographic Board (Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa) Act 2008.

The New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa (NZGB) is the national authority for naming geographic features and places in New Zealand, its offshore islands and continental shelf, and the Ross Dependency of Antarctica. Its purpose and processes, and the areas under its authority are defined in legislation.

The New Zealand Geographic Board (Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa) Act 2008

The NZGB’s functions


  • assigns official names to features and places
  • approves recorded names (unofficial names shown in at least two publicly available authoritative publications or databases)
  • alters official or recorded names by correcting the spelling or substituting a new name
  • discontinues the use of official or recorded names
  • investigates and decides on the position and extent of named features
  • reviews and concurs with proposals for Crown protected area names from the Department of Conservation.

The NZGB can also:

  • put in place policies, rules and standards to help it to carry out its responsibilities
  • decide on the official spelling that should be shown on maps and charts
  • investigate and decide on who first discovered a feature
  • collect original Māori names for recording on maps and charts
  • encourage the use of original Māori names on maps and charts
  • get advice from Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori (Māori Language Commission) on the correct spelling of Māori names
  • research proposals to name or alter the name of features
  • anything else necessary to help meet its responsibilities.


The NZGB is required to:

  • administer the official listing of New Zealand place names, the New Zealand Gazetteer
  • develop standards for naming Crown protected areas (working with the Minister for Conservation)
  • make enquiries and recommendations on matters referred by the Minister for Land Information
  • take on any other tasks that enables it to do its job effectively under the NZGB Act 2008 or any other Act.

The area covered by the NZGB

The NZGB can name features and places:

  • within New Zealand’s territorial boundaries (up to 12 nautical miles from the coastline)
  • on New Zealand’s offshore islands, including Kermadec Islands, Chatham Islands, Auckland Islands, Antipodes Island Group, Campbell Island/Motu Ihupuku, Snares Islands/Tini Heke and Bounty Islands
  • on the continental shelf of New Zealand
  • within the Ross Dependency of Antarctica, including its continental shelf
  • district and region name changes proposed by local Councils

What area does the New Zealand continental shelf cover?

What area does the Ross Dependency of Antarctica cover?

Other authorities can propose names to the NZGB or have their own power to name features and places:

Once these CPA and Treaty names are gazetted, they become official and are included in the NZGB’s Gazetteer.