16 Sep 2018

Andrew Douglas Clifford maps te reo place names

From Sunday Morning, 7:22 am on 16 September 2018

A new map offering te reo Māori names for places around Aotearoa has been created by a young cartography enthusiast.

Andrew Douglas Clifford with his wall poster te reo map.

Andrew Douglas-Clifford has created a new online map showing te reo Māori names for places around Aotearoa. Photo: Supplied

Andrew Douglas-Clifford, who is in his early twenties, used a range of resources to put together an online map and poster giving New Zealand places and natural features the names bestowed by the indigenous people.

"Someone mentioned they had never seen a proper Māori map, which seems rather odd because it is New Zealand after all and it's one of our main languages," Mr Douglas-Clifford said.

"So I thought 'how many names could there be out there' and that turned into a rabbit hole of research and learning what was out there and putting it all together on my map."

He spent months creating the detailed, interactive online map that offers Māori names for towns, cities, lakes, notable mountain peaks, rivers, bays and international cities and countries.

The map on his Map Kiwi website also shows marae locations around the country.

"It has been quite popular with schools as an educational resource which is something I did not anticipate... and in general it's raising the profile of Māori names, which has been really cool," he said.

A geospatial analyst by day, Mr Douglas-Clifford indulges his fascination with maps in his spare time.

He won cartography awards in 2016 for his New Zealand State Highway Metro Map, which was made in the style of maps of the London Underground.

He creates maps to order, including maps of places that are close to people's hearts.

Mr Douglas-Clifford's love of cartography began as a child, when he pored over atlases and maps.

Since then, he has gained a bachelor's degree in geography and a master's in geographic information science.

"All the detail and the places... it's really fascinating and that wonder never went away," he said.

Mr Douglas-Clifford's map adds to Māori place name resources.

Late last year, Ngāi Tahu released an online Māori atlas of the South Island or Te Waipounamu.

The Ngāi Tahu Archives team spent more than five years creating the online atlas Kā Huru Manu - which has the more than 1000 place names, iwi history and traditional travel routes.


  • Ngāi Tahu creates Māori atlas for travellers