Proposing an Antarctic feature name

Find out how to propose a name for features in the Ross Dependency of Antarctica, and in other areas where New Zealand has an operational interest, to the New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa (NZGB).

What area does the Ross Dependency of Antarctica cover?

The Ross Dependency is the area south of 60˚ south latitude, and between 160˚ east and 150˚ west longitudes. New Zealand’s area of interest is referred to as the Ross Sea Region, defined as being bound by, and including, the Siple Coast and Shirase Coast in the east, the Trans-Antarctic Mountains in the west, and extends as far south as the South Pole. The area was claimed by Great Britain in 1923, and New Zealand has assumed responsibility since then.

Find out more about the Ross Dependency from Antarctica New Zealand.

New Zealand’s areas of operational interest in Antarctica

The NZGB can also name features where New Zealand has an operational interest outside of the Ross Dependency. The NZGB must consult with the appropriate national and international naming authorities with an interest in the area. An agreement between the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and LINZ makes provision for liaison between the naming authorities of the two countries. The United States Board on Geographic Names (USBGN) (attachment below) sub-committee, the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names (US-ACAN) and the NZGB consult with each other when considering names in the Ross Dependency.

Find out more about the NZGB’s international liaison

What features can you name in Antarctica?

You can propose a name for a natural feature in Antarctica such as a mountain, peak, valley, river, stream, lake, glacier or ice feature (including man made features of the same type) as well as a site, area or similar place.

How to propose a feature name in Antarctica

  1. Check if the feature already has a name. The New Zealand Gazetteer lists all official and unofficial (in particular recorded) names in New Zealand and its offshore islands, including names in Antarctica. The Composite Gazetteer of Antarctica also holds names for features in Antarctica. Note that the NZGB does not publicly notify proposals to name features in Antarctica.
  2. Check the NZGB’s naming policies, principles and guidelines about what features can be named in Antarctica, and who or what they can be named after. You need to include the Checklist of Required Information with your proposal. 
  3. Complete the proposal form using the guidance notes to help.​
  4. Include a map and/or chart showing the exact location of the feature and its boundaries if it has any. Make sure you include the coordinates or grid reference of the feature. 
  5. Provide as much information as possible to explain and support your proposal. Include evidence like the history, origin and meaning of the name and the characteristics of the feature. Research material, photos and references are also helpful.
  6. Consult with others who may have an interest in your proposal. Be sure to include any written evidence of support or the views of the people you consult with. Oral evidence or histories are important, especially for Māori feature names.
  7. Post or email your proposal to the NZGB. (Note: The NZGB doesn’t return your proposal or supporting information.)
    Contact details of the NZGB

Protecting your privacy

Generally, your personal name will appear if the NZGB publishes information about your Antarctica feature name proposal. Once the NZGB receives your proposal it becomes a public record so may be released under Official Information Act requests. Your contact details will not be released without your consent.

See the Official Information Act 1982

Last Updated: 20 November 2017