Kiwis suggest names for North and South Islands

Wellington (dpa) – New Zealanders are having some fun with proposals to formalise the names of the North and South Islands, suggesting a range of silly alternatives.

Twitter is awash with suggestions for new names under the trending topic, #nzislands, with one user suggesting “hokey” and “pokey” – a reference to one of the country’s favourite ice cream flavours, a vanilla ice cream dotted with small chunks of toffee.

Another user suggested tahi and rua from the Maori words for “one” and “two,” while others favoured “yeah” and “nah.”

The New Zealand Geographic Board is publicly consulting on proposals to formally assign official alternative names to the two main islands, meaning that either the English or Maori names, or both together, would be official.

When it began to consider adopting Maori names for the two islands in 2004, the board found that the English names had never been made official but were simply recorded names used on maps.

The North Island is expected to be given the Maori name Te Ika-a-Maui or the Fish of Maui, a reference to the legend that the demigod Maui and his brothers fished up the North Island from their canoe (the South Island).

The South Island is likely to be given the Maori name Te Waipounamu, meaning the place of greenstone.