Consulting with Māori when making a place name proposal

Find out about how you can consult with Māori when investigating place names

This guide will help you consult with Māori when investigating place names to make a proposal. Consulting with them respects their kawa and tikanga (customs and protocols).

What do you need to do?

You must contact the relevant iwi, hapu, marae or any group with an ancestral interest in the place to ask their views on the name you are proposing. You must let the New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa (NZGB) know the results of your consultation, even if you don’t get a reply.

Which iwi should you consult?

See Te Puni Kōkiri (Ministry for Māori Development) or Māori Maps for information on who to consult. You may need to consult more than one group.

Te Puni Kōkiri

Māori Maps

If the NZGB goes ahead with your proposal, it may also consult with Māori. This is to complement, not substitute, your consultation.

How do you make contact with Māori?

You could write a letter, send an email or phone the relevant iwi, hapū, marae or group with ancestral interests in the place. Explain what you are doing and ask if they have an original Māori name and traditional story/kōrero for the place that they would like to see recognised in the proposal.

When should you do this?

You should make contact as early as possible to give Māori community organisations plenty of time to reply. Māori organisations can be very busy with public requests and other business and may need time to consider your request, especially if they have to undertake their own community consultation, research or other processes.

Why does the NZGB need this?

To give effect to the Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti o Waitangi), the NZGB is required to collect and encourage the use of original Maori place names where they exist. It is also good practice to record the history of a place, and place naming is a key way of doing that.