New Zealand’s two main island have been known unofficially as North & South island for 200 years and never been officially named due to a clerical oversight. The New Zealand Geographic Board said the names had appeared on maps since European settlement began in the early 1800s but had never been formally recognized. After public consultations, the board is now proposing two names each for the islands, one in English and one in the indigenous Maori language.
The English version will be the widely used North and South Islands. The Maori names put forward by the board are Te Waipounamu — meaning rivers of green stone — for the South Island and Te Ika-a-Maui — the fish of Maui (a Maori god) — for the North. The board said both the English and Maori names will be able to be used on official documents and maps. The change is expected to be formally adopted later this year.
I’m thinking that the Kiwis could actually do much better than plain & dull old “North island” & “South island”. You have the perfect beautiful names in Maori and you could use their English translation to give the island new names. Call them Maui’s Fish Island & Green Stone Island for North & South respectively. They sound so much more elegant than just North & South. Come on New Zealand!