Proposing to alter a district or region name

In rare circumstances the New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa (NZGB) can alter the local authority names for a district or region over which a territorial authority or regional council has jurisdiction.

Only the relevant local authority can make a proposal to the New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa (NZGB) to change the name of its district or region,.

Under the Local Government Act 2002, the Local Government Commission is responsible for new names for districts or regions.

See the list of districts on the Local Government New Zealand website

Check Schedule 2 of the Local Government Act 2002 for existing region and district names

What else can I name?

Find out other places and features you can name and how to make a proposal

Altering New Zealand city, town village, locality or suburb names

If you wish to suggest changes to the name of a New Zealand city, town village, locality or suburb, the NZGB requires the support of the relevant local authority before it will process a proposal for a populated place.

How to propose altering the name of a territorial district or region

The local authority:

  1. Needs to advise of the current official district or region name. (Note: the name of a district or region in the proposal may be different from the trading name of the Council proposing the change).
  2. Must ensure there is a formal Council resolution to alter the name of the district or region. The Council must include this resolution with the proposal form.
  3. Must meet the NZGB’s naming requirements. There are rules that the proposal must follow and requirements for additional information, including a completed Checklist of Required Information.
  4. Complete the proposal form, using the guidance notes to help.
  5. Must include a map showing clearly the boundary of the district or region.
  6. Needs to explain why the name of a district or region should be altered and provide as much information as possible to support the name change proposed, such as evidence of the history, origin and meaning of the name and its connection to the district or region. Research material, photos and references are also helpful.
  7. Should consult with people, groups and neighbouring local authorities who may have an interest in the proposal. The Council should supply written evidence of support or the views of the people who have been consulted with. Oral evidence or histories are important, especially for Māori place names.
    See these practical guidelines for consulting with Māori when investigating New Zealand place names
  8. Post or email its proposal to the NZGB. (Note: The NZGB doesn’t return the proposal or supporting information.)
    Contact details of the NZGB

Protecting your privacy

The Council’s name will appear if the NZGB publishes information about your proposal. Once the NZGB receives your proposal it becomes a public record so may be released under Official Information Act requests.

See the Official Information Act 1982

What happens to the Council’s district or region name proposal

If the NZGB accepts the proposal, it will undertake a full notification and public submission process. This includes publicly advertising the proposal for submissions. Submission periods are never less than one month and can be three months or longer.

What happens to submissions on your name proposal?

The NZGB considers all the submissions it receives.

  • If there are no submissions or only supporting submissions, then the NZGB makes the final decision to make the altered region or district name official, once the Governor-General has made an Order in Council (as requested by the Minister for Land Information).
  • If the NZGB doesn’t agree with submissions objecting to the name, then the Minister for Land Information makes the final decision.

If the Minister accepts the name change, the NZGB notifies the name change as official in the New Zealand Gazette and alters it in the New Zealand Gazetteer of Official Geographic Names, once the Governor-General has made an Order in Council (as requested by the Minister for Land Information).
Search the New Zealand Gazette
Access the New Zealand Gazetteer

Additional step for Council name changes

If a Council wants to change its name to match a name change for the district or region, a request needs to be made by the Governor-General to make an Order in Council to amend Schedule 2 of the Local Government Act 2002, the legislation that specifies the names of all local authorities.

Last Updated: 10 October 2018