14 Oct 2013

Ngai Tahu leader says Aotearoa for NZ is appropriate

7:36 am on 14 October 2013

South Island Maori leader Sir Tipene O'Regan says he embraces the name Aotearoa for New Zealand as long as people are aware that it was once limited to the North Island.

Last week, the Government agreed the original Maori names for the North and South islands, Te Ika ā Māui and Te Waipounamu, can now be officially used on maps as alternatives to the English equivalents.

Keith Darroch, a Pakeha man from Christchurch who made the original submission nearly 10 years ago, rejects that decision, saying Aotearoa is the correct term for the North Island.

But Sir Tipene O'Regan, who is a former member of the Geographic Board, says he has no qualms about the decision.

He says the term Aotearoa for New Zealand is perfectly adequate as long as people are aware of the history behind it.

The Ngai Tahu leader says all things evolve, including place names, and cites the example of Lake Manapouri which was originally called Moturau.

He says the transliteration Niu Tireni is used for New Zealand on the Treaty of Waitangi.