The North and South islands had been officially nameless with public consultation having been undertaken so that this could be rectified and the islands officially named.

The islands will now be known as the North Island and South Island, and in Maori they will be known as Te Ika-a-Maui – which means ‘the fish of Maui’ – a Maori god – and Te Waipounamu – which means rivers of green.

“The overwhelming majority of public submitters wanted the choice to use the English or Maori names,” said New Zealand Geographic Board chairman Don Grant. 

The board considered 2608 submissions from 1329 submitters on the naming of the islands which took into account not just the votes cast but the reasons given as to why people favoured certain names.