New Zealand Geographic Board

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New Zealand Geographic Board
Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa
Agency overview
Jurisdiction New Zealand
Headquarters Radio New Zealand House, 155 The Terrace, Wellington
41°16′53″S 174°46′33″E / 41.281299°S 174.775862°E / -41.281299; 174.775862
Minister responsible
Agency executive
  • Mark Dyer, Chair
Parent agency Land Information New Zealand

The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) (Māori: Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa) is constituted under the New Zealand Geographic Board (Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa) Act 2008,[1] and was previously constituted under the New Zealand Geographic Board Act 1946. Although an independent institution, it is responsible to the Minister for Land Information.

It has responsibility for geographical and hydrographic names within New Zealand and its territorial waters.[2] This includes naming small urban settlements, localities, mountains, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, harbours and natural features and may include researching local Māori names. In the Ross Sea region of Antarctica it has named many geographical features. It has no authority to alter street names, a local body responsibility, or the name of any country. The Board has authority over official placenames only, and most placenames, including most towns and cities, ports and bodies of water have not been mentioned in legislation or validated by treaties, and so are not official.

The New Zealand Geographic Board secretariat is part of Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) and provides the Board with administrative and research assistance and advice.[3]

Membership[edit]

Under the New Zealand Geographic Board (Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa) Act 2008, the Board comprises the Surveyor-General of New Zealand (appointed by LINZ) as Chair, the National Hydrographer (appointed by LINZ) and eight other members nominated by the Minister for Land Information. The ministerial appointees include two persons recommended by the Minister of Māori Development and representatives of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, the New Zealand Geographical Society, the Federated Mountain Clubs of NZ, and Local Government New Zealand.[1]

As of March 2018, the board members are:[4]

  • Mark Dyer (Surveyor-General, Chairperson)
  • David Barnes (nominated by the New Zealand Federated Mountain Clubs Inc)
  • Jenni Vernon (nominated by the Minister for Land Information
  • Rikirangi Gage (nominated by the Minister of Māori Development)
  • Professor Michael Roche (nominated by the New Zealand Geographic Society)
  • Matanuku Mahuika (nominated by the Minister of Māori Development)
  • Adam Greenland (LINZ National Hydrographer)
  • Associate Professor Merata Kawharu (nominated by the Minister for Land Information)
  • Adrienne Staples (nominated by Local Government New Zealand)
  • Paulette Tamati-Elliffe (nominated by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu)

Notable actions[edit]

2016 renaming of landmarks[edit]

In 2015, a member of the New Zealand public wrote to the New Zealand Geographic Board complaining about three place names in Canterbury on the South Island that use the word "nigger": Nigger Hill, Niggerhead, and Nigger Stream.[5][6] A public consultation was set up with 223-61 responses in favour of changing the name.[7] Following consultations with the Ngāi Tahu tribe who reside in the area, the names Kānuka Hills and Tawhai Hill were suggested as replacements. This was in reference to the Kānuka and Tawhai tree.[5][8] The stream was somewhat more complicated; it was originally proposed to be renamed to "Steelhead Stream", but eventually the Māori name for the Carex secta (a tussock grass that grows in the area), Pūkio Stream, was favored instead.[9] The proposed change of name was accepted with the Land Information New Zealand Minister Louise Upston stating "These names reflect a time when attitudes towards this word were markedly different to what they are now. It is a word that is clearly offensive to most people today, so I am pleased to make this decision."[10] The name change was made official on 15 December 2016 after being published in the New Zealand Gazette.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "New Zealand Geographic Board (Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa) Act 2008 No 30 (as at 01 July 2014), Public Act Contents – New Zealand Legislation". Legislation.govt.nz. 2014-07-01. Retrieved 2015-08-26. 
  2. ^ "About the New Zealand Geographic Board". Land Information New Zealand. Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  3. ^ "NZGB members". Land Information New Zealand. 21 May 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  4. ^ "NZGB members". Land Information New Zealand. 20 December 2016. Archived from the original on 3 February 2018. Retrieved 15 March 2018. 
  5. ^ a b "Proposals to alter place names from 'Nigger Hill' to 'Kānuka Hills' (with an altered extent) and 'Niggerhead' to 'Tawhai Hill'" (PDF). LINZ. Retrieved 4 October 2017. 
  6. ^ "New Zealand could replace 'racist' place names". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-10-04. 
  7. ^ "Objection to changing offensive names". The New Zealand Herald. 21 April 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2017. 
  8. ^ "Proposals to alter place names from 'Nigger Hill' to 'Kānuka Hills' (with an altered extent) and 'Niggerhead' to 'Tawhai Hill'" (PDF). LINZ. Retrieved 2017-10-04. 
  9. ^ "New Zealand Drops Racially Offensive 'Nigger' Place Names". New Delhi: NDTV. 8 December 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2017. 
  10. ^ "'Nigger' place names will be no more". Māori Television. Retrieved 4 October 2017. 
  11. ^ "Notice of Final Determinations of the Minister for Land Information on Official Geographic Names" (PDF). New Zealand Gazette. 15 December 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2017.