So why the move to change the names? And why must the new names necessarily be…MAORI?
Well, it was revealed 'North Island' and 'South Island' were never official names. But does that matter? After all, it's how they're known, worldwide.
Well, it matters to the New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) which, to justify its existence, has proposed the islands be known by both their English and Maori names: 'North Island' or 'Te Ika-a-Maui'; and the 'South Island' or 'Te Waipounamu'.
Now, the NZGB will recommend to Maurice Williamson, Minister for Land Information, that NZers be given a choice about whether to use the English or Maori names. So after all the submissions, all the hoo-haa, all the devisive arguments… it's RECOMMENDED we're ALLOWED to call the islands whatever we're comfortable with!!! WTF…???!!!
87% of submissions supported officially calling it North Island; and 88% supported South Island. However NZGB chairman Dr Don Grant says the numbers in support "were not the main consideration"!! No, the board is guided more by the reasons provided by submitters for their support or objection. That's right: come up with a good reason and, even if you're a minority holding that view, you're likely to hold sway!!! In other words, if you can argue succinctly, intelligently, fluently that Stewart Island should be named 'Snagglepuss Mattress Fluff', your wish may well come true! Bizarre.
If that's truly the board's method of determination, then let's just change ALL place names to maori NOW. Then we can save the country millions in submission hearings, and dissolve a board that seems to ignore the majority view!
I can't WAIT to hear an overseas visitor tell me they've come to enjoy the scenery of Te Ika-a-Maui…