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Indigenous and Minority Placenames Australian and International Perspectives

19. Please adjust your bearings…

Huia Pacey

1. Preface

Changes to the appellations (names) of some Māori land blocks are occurring due to the Māori Freehold Land Registrations Project being undertaken by the Māori Land Court as part of the requirements within section 123 and 124 of the 1993 Te Ture Whenua Māori Act.1 Many of the original titles of ownership for Māori land blocks in Te Waipounamu Māori Land Court district (South and Stewart Islands and Chathams group of islands of New Zealand) were not constituted from Māori Land Court Orders. They were derived as part of the Reserves set aside at time of sale in the mid 1800s, or from the provisions of the 1906 SILNA (South Island Landless Natives Act) legislation. Consequently, the legal appellation for most of these land blocks were as set down in Crown Grants.

Being derived from a Crown Grant means the appellations of these land blocks are based on notional survey district boundaries, e.g. Section x, Block x, ABC Survey District. This nomenclature was instituted in 1876, however the Native Land Court (subsequently named the Māori Land Court) did not always follow this structure within their records. The mixture of Māori and settler placenames within Land Court appellations appears to have been taken from the traditional or local placenames promulgated in original Gazette notices of inquiry into land ownership.

As the land registration project proceeds, changing the name of land blocks to that scripted on a Crown Grant could create confusion for some Māori land owners. For example: there are 118 Māori Freehold Land Titles in the Gore Survey District. The Court/local name for Big Bay Section 27 will be changed to the legal appellation of Section 27, Block VII, Gore Survey District. Okoha VIII, Section 4 is also within the Survey District and its traditional name will be submerged within the system when it changes to Section 4, Block VIII, Gore Survey District. For many owners, potentially the most confusing factor is that the Gore Survey District is in Marlborough, the upper South Island: whereas the town named “Gore” is in Southland, the lower part of the island. It is no stretch of the imagination to envisage a land owner, having known their land block as “Big Bay” or “Okoha”, being confused at what appears to be an apparent relocation of landshares from one end of the island to the other.

Additionally, the ‘old’ name for the land block will be assigned to the ‘alternative’ name field within the Court’s database, which will be problematic for those who search the online database, because they cannot search using the “alternative name” facility. Furthermore, as the database system only allows one alternative name to be recorded at this time, there may well be confusion if the appellation has been changed more than once during its history within the Court’s system.

Applying the legal appellation to a land block may simply be an administrative process driven by legislation: the land’s status will be recorded as Māori Freehold Land and safeguarded against inappropriate alienation; Māori Freehold Land ownership records will be accurate, up to date and correlated in two parallel registers; a State guaranteed title to land will be embedded within the Land Registry’s ensuing Computer Freehold Register title for Māori land (not implying that Māori Land Court title is any less legal), and all unsurveyed Māori Land will have approved surveys conducted prior to registration with the Land Registry Office.

While the learning curve for Māori land owners may be a short one, as owners come to grips with the ‘new’, legal name for their land, there is an interesting cultural implication to consider when assessing the outcomes of this project: whether changing the name of land to one superimposed by a settler government which usurped Māori control over their landscape is acceptable to a culture that relies on placenames as an integral part of their identity?

To provide context for this implication, it is perhaps appropriate to traverse how Māori view placenames and how Crown Grant definitions of land parcels were instituted before exploring what changes are occurring in the contemporary placename landscape.

2. Connections to place

In many indigenous cultures, transmission of cultural spatial elements occur during the oral transmission of stories and history, dance and other elements that inform and reinforce cultural heritage. Accordingly, the rich heritage of a people’s history, boundaries, landmarks, harvesting and nursery sites, resource rights and use, healing centres, etc. are preserved and handed down to successive generations devoid of paper placemarkers. These relationships are preserved through korero (stories/history) and are often identified through the expressions of whakatauki (relationships/proverbs).

Ko Putauaki te maunga (Putauaki is the mountain)

Ko Tarawera te awa (Tarawera is the river)

Ko Tuwharetoa te tangata (Tuwharetoa is the man)

Ko Tuwharetoa te iwi (Tuwharetoa is the tribe)

Thus the relationship of Putauaki the mountain, Tarawera the river and Tuwharetoa the iwi are linked through the mana (authority/power) of Tuwharetoa i te Aupouri, the eponymous ancestor of the Ngati Tuwharetoa tribe who lived within sight of his maunga Putauaki, next to his awa Tarawera, who died of old age near the foothills of Putauaki and was subsequently buried within a few miles of his maunga.

The whakatauki reaffirms the mana of Tuwharetoa i te Aupouri over the maunga and the awa and the rohe (tribal domain), providing pivotal Pou (placemarkers) for the identity of nga uri o Tuwharetoa (the descendants of Tuwharetoa) wherever they venture. Whakatauki such as these have linked people, places, events and history for generations.

Whakatauki are only one method of recollecting and reinforcing tribal korero. Cultural cartography in the forms of Waiata (song), Haka (dance form of challenge), Poi (dance form with string balls), Oriori (lullaby chant), Moteatea (lament) and Tauparapara (chant) to name a few, also commemorate places, people and events that have contributed to the rich tapestry of tahuhu korero o nga iwi (ancient history of the tribes). Visual representations of korero are manifested in many media. Whakaiiro (carvings), tukutuku (weaving panels), pou (carved pillar), moko (traditional tattoo) and raranga (weaving) have been used for those same generations as a means to celebrate, cement and visualise their link to their tupuna (ancestors) and their turangawaewae (place to stand, home).

This relationship is also embedded within placenames bestowed on the whenua (land) through a traditional practice called Taunaha whenua or naming the land.

3. Placenames

Metaphoric placenames that commemorate cosmology and ancestral exploits provide a vibrant and enduring connection to an ancient cultural landscape. The exploits of the tipua (demigod) Maui Tikitiki a Taranga, are widespread amongst Pacific cultures including Māori.

The name for the North Island (Te Ika a Maui or the fish of Maui) commemorates Maui’s mighty feat in fishing up the North Island whilst out fishing with his brothers. Te Upoko o Te Ika (Wellington, the head of the fish); Te Kauae o Te Ika (Southern Hawkes Bay, the jawbone of the fish) and Te Hiku o Te Ika (Northland, the tail of the fish) provide spatial description to the shape of the island.

The South Island is commonly known as Te Waipounamu.2 However various tribal korero also record it as being the canoe from which Maui fished up the island – Te Waka a Maui or the canoe of Maui. Other korero says the waka predates Maui and should be attributed to Aoraki, half brother of the early gods. Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka (Marlborough/Northern portion of the South Island, the prow of the canoe); Te Taumaunu o Te Waka a Maui (Kaikoura, the thwart of the canoe) and Te Punga o te Waka (Rakiura/Stewart Island, the anchor of the canoe) enclose the southern islands.3

Rekohu (Wharekauri/Chatham Islands), the islands lying some six days canoe travel to the east of Te Ika a Maui and Te Waipounamu, completes the main islands that Māori have occupied for centuries.

Throughout those centuries a multitude of descriptive placenames were bestowed on the landscape within the islands. Perhaps the most descriptive placename is the iconic “Taumata whaka tangi hanga koauau o Tamatea turi pukakapi ki maunga horo nuku poka i whenua ki tana tahu” which translates as the ‘place (hill) where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as land-eater, played his flute’ (for his recently deceased brother). The shortened form of “Taumata” is used in everyday conversation; however, formal occasions demand the full placename be used.

Placenames described and located occupation and resource use and phenomena of both biophysical and metaphysical origin. These location markers were also embedded within traditional korero that recorded phenomena which contemporary scientists have recently (by comparison) come to terms with. An example is the legend of Ngatoroirangi and the coming of geothermal activity to the North Island.

This (very) abbreviated korero describes the travels of the tohunga Ngatoroirangi (expert navigator and priest of Te Arawa, an early migrant canoe). On one journey he and his companion Aruhoe were ascending the mountain Tongariro. During their ascent they were overcome with cold and Ngatoroirangi called on the aid of his two sisters in Hawaiki (the ancestral home of Māori).

Kuiwai and Haungaroa heard his prayers and plunged into the sea bringing fire to his aid. They surfaced at Whakaari, then Okakaru, Te Rotorua nui a Kahumatamomoe, Tarawera, Orakei Korako, and finally Tongariro where their brother lay near death.

The heat revived Ngatoroirangi although by that time his companion Aruhoe had died. Aruhoe is commemorated within the name, Ngaruhoe, the nearest mountain to Tongariro.

This oral map describes the interconnection of the subsurface geothermal resource of the major geothermal belt that is found in the North Island.4 The korero illustrates a relationship between space, place and resource which was examined, analysed and embedded within a cultural landscape well before modern technology was developed. Undeniably, the korero proves an intimate knowledge of place, illuminating the sophisticated cerebral cartography to be found within Māori oral maps prior to european exploration and ‘discovery’.

4. ‘Discovery’

Similar to other indigenous experience, the colonial practice of supplanting indigenous placenames with ones commemorating European ‘discovery’ affected the cultural landscape of Māori. The 17th century explorer Abel Tasman first mistakenly named the country, “Staten Landt” when he sighted the west coast of the South Island in December 1642. His geographical error was quickly realised and by 1645 the landmass he had sighted was referred to variously as “Zealandia”, “Zealandia Nova” and “Nieuw Zeeland”.

Captain James Cook would add to this when he journeyed throughout Pacifica over 100 years later to record the transit of Venus. During his circumnavigation of New Zealand, he conferred various mountains, bays and points of land with names that commemorated expedition experiences and important political figures in England. For example, Te Kuri a Paoa was renamed Young Nicks Head to commemorate the first sighting of land by the expedition as well as the name of the young crewman who first sighted it. Taranaki – the ancestral mountain for eight hapu of the Taranaki region – was named Mount Egmont after the First Lord of the Admiralty (the Earl of Egmont), who promoted Cook’s first voyage. Similarly, Putauaki – ancestral mountain of Ngati Tuwharetoa – was named Mount Edgecumbe after John Edgecumbe, Cook’s Sergeant of Marines. Edgecumbe would also have his name inscribed at Edgecumbe Point in the Queen Charlotte Sounds (Morris 1900). Totaranui, or The Queen Charlotte Sounds, was named after the wife of King George the Third while Endeavour Inlet was named after the ship Cook commanded on his first visit – the Endeavour. Cook himself was later commemorated during the 1851 Archeron survey when Aoraki – ancestral mountain of the Ngati Mamoe, Waitaha and Kai Tahu was given the name Mount Cook.

Dutch and English names would not be the only names superimposed on the landscape of Aotearoa. During his 1827 exploration the French explorer, Dumont d’Urville, named Croisilles Bay after his mother and “Passe des Francais” or French Pass as it is known today. D’Urville himself was commemorated by his officers who named an island after their captain, supplanting the original name Te Rangitoto ki te Tonga.

As imperial exploration occurred throughout the 19th century, expeditions continued the custom of superimposing names. In 1834 Captain Lambert of the HMS Alligator named Port Gore after the Vice Admiral and Commander-in-Chief in the East Indies, Sir John Gore (Marshall 1836: 151; McNab 1913: Ch. 7);5 Port Hardy was named after Sir Thomas Hardy, Nelson’s flag captain at Trafalgar (Marshall 1836: 154; Allan 1965: 27), and in 1838, Pelorus Sound was named after the HMS Pelorus, which was conducting an exploration mission for the New Zealand Company (McNab 1913: 224–225).

The actions of replacing indigenous placenames with those transplanted from other landscapes did not always sit well with some early explorers. Marshall, the surgeon on board the HMS Alligator wrote,

20th. --Weighed, and made sail from PORT HARDY, so called for the first time out of respect to the gallant Sir Thomas Hardy, Nelson's flag captain at Trafalgar, whose services and public character well entitle him to the honour of giving an English name to one of the finest harbours in the Southern Hemisphere; although the propriety of giving arbitrary names at all to places not belonging to us, and names, too, having no manner of connection whatever with the character or circumstances of the places they are designed to represent, may be doubted…

…the native names of places are in some instances abandoned, and the names employed by their visitors preferred; though the former were in all, or almost all, instances, names descriptive of things; and the latter are, as frequently, mere sounds without any corresponding sense. (Marshall 1836: 154–155)

Marshall’s view is in all likelihood a minority one. His opinion is firmly contrasted with that of Dr Hinds, the Dean of Carlisle and contemporary of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, an avid supporter of colonisation and principal of the New Zealand Company (the venture company responsible for the first wave of colonial settlement in New Zealand). Wakefield concurred wholeheartedly with Hind’s view that, “Names of places, too, should be changed; they make part of the moral atmosphere of a country” (Wakefield 2001 [1849]: 39).

The practice of transplanting placenames continued as explorers charted the New Zealand landscape which was in the process of becoming a British colony. When the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840, Māori still asserted firm control over their landscape. The landscape reverberated with traditional Māori placenames with a light sprinkling of English, Dutch or French names – and even hybrid placenames like Cape Koamaru, originally Operuahua, in the Marlborough District.

After the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840, successive waves of colonial immigrants affected the landscape on a grander scale than early colonial explorers. However, as authors and manufacturers of paper documents that delineated and chronicled land space, surveyors would play a key role in actually redefining that landscape.

5. Surveying in the 19th century

Surveying expeditions for the first 40 years after the Treaty was signed were an ad hoc adventure for both skilled and poorly trained men (see for example Easdale 1988 and Byrnes 2001). Exploration for potential settlement sites was sporadic, mainly reconnaissance in nature, and were badly resourced as land speculators, settlers and provincial governments struggled to establish the new colony. Exploration treks through the dense rugged bush of early colonial New Zealand, inevitably required months of travel: often following Māori pathways and frequently reliant on Māori hospitality. An essential member of any scouting party was a Māori guide who eased the surveyors’ passage through the landscape by not only showing them the land but also showing them how to live off the land.

From the early 1850s onwards, official survey instructions were to ascertain and map Māori names of boundaries or natural features. The instructions were not always followed explicitly. During exploration treks, surveyors noted and mapped traditional placenames or conferred their own choices. They also had places named after them, such as the Lewis Pass, named by Henry Lewis and Christopher Maling and also Arthurs Pass which was named after Arthur Dobson, the first european surveyor to traverse it. Dobson himself was possibly ambivalent about the Pass being named after him as he took the view that he needed to “ascertain as accurately as possible the native names of all the natural features of the country” (Dobson 1930: 59). Dobson was not the only early surveyor who declined to give English names to points of interest they encountered on their travels. Heaphy and Brunner, two early explorers of New Zealand, were noted as having declined to give English names to landmarks on their first journey (Host 2006: 57). Possibly, this stance was only due to compliance with their instructions as Heaphy felt the Māori language was not particularly worthy of conserving. He wrote, “as regards the New Zealand language being lost by the introduction of another, it would be a benefit rather than an injury, as … the substitution of a copious and powerful language [English] for a meagre and inexpressive one [Māori] is to every nation a desideratum.” (Heaphy 1968 [1842]: 54–55).

Like Dobson, both men had places named after them. Te Kotuku Whakaoka (the diving Kotuku) was named Lake Brunner as Brunner had been the first european to visit the site. A major expedition pathway through dense bush navigated by Heaphy, Brunner and their guides Kehu and Etau (and now classified as one of New Zealand’s top ten walking tracks) was named the Heaphy Track.

Surveyors also used their own placenaming notions when completing their commissions. Edward Jollie’s 1850 plan of the new city of Christchurch (Otautahi) illustrates a colonist desire to transplant a feel of his ‘English homeland’ in an attempt to normalise their vastly different surroundings.

As soon as I completed the map I took it to Thomas, who, putting on his gold spectacles and opening his ‘Peerage’ would read out a bishop’s name to hear if it sound well and if I agreed with him that it did, I put the name to one of the streets requiring baptism. Lyttelton being the first-born town got the best names for its streets. Sumner being next had the next best and Christchurch being the youngest had to be content with chiefly Irish and Colonial Bishoprics. (Jollie, as quoted in Holm 2005: 37)

The mixed regard that surveyors had for original Māori placenames continued as they measured and inscribed the landscape. As instructed, many survey maps recorded both Māori and colonial placenames and also dual placenames (with the Māori name now bracketed denoting an ‘other’ status). The product of survey work, a paper document, would ultimately provide the means by which many Māori placenames were usurped and Māori land alienated.

6. A changing landscape

Throughout a period of change in power relations between Māori and Pakeha colonisers, ad hoc survey systems produced discrepancies in survey plans. Māori land had been surveyed by “a class of surveyors who are said to have been very imperfectly acquainted with their profession” who produced surveys that were found to be “fatal to accuracy and system”.6

A surveyors grid was established which helped codify and simplify the settlers new world. The new nomenclature defined landparcels as Section x, Block x, ABC Survey Districts. The notional grid standardised land appellations for the entire country with the intention that a parcel of land anywhere in New Zealand could be identified by its appellation. The grid confirmed the intrinsic epistemological difference in how Māori and europeans viewed land; one as a living landscape, the other as a commodity.

Separate land registries were established that recorded land ownership rights differently. The Native Land Court determined ownership of Māori land through the mechanism of land court hearings. Claimants to Māori land defined tribal/hapu boundaries using traditional placenames and defended them by referencing their longstanding association with the land. Appellations for lands in the North Island typically had Māori locational placenames as land block titles. Due to derivation of title being from Crown Grants, land appellations in the Southern Islands had three categories – the traditional, the settler and the Crown Grant. The first two were in general use and the third sequestered location and land identity to a surveyors grid. Both Māori and non-Māori placenames were eventually used for landblock names.

The decimation of Māori cultural and land rights continued throughout the latter part of the 19th century up to the 1970s when a cultural revitalisation period prompted significant social change. The Waitangi Tribunal was established; the Kohanga Reo movement commenced; Māori language became an official language and the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act was enacted. In many respects the legislation and social change that occurred through the 1970s and 1980s emphasised the Māori philosophy that both land and language are taonga tuku iho. The link between land and language is also reinforced through dual placenames.

Dual placenames are slowly re-embedding traditional placenames onto the landscape. More than 140 dual placenames are now recorded in the placenames database held by the New Zealand Geographic Board. Many of these have been put in place by post treaty settlements. The Ngai Tahu Act added a proactive function to the work of the New Zealand Geographic Board wherein the Board was required to encourage use of original Māori placenames on official maps. The reimplanting of traditional names through mechanisms such as dual placenames confirms relationship to place and identity is as important for Māori today as it was prior to colonisation.

There have been no apparent local community reactions to replacing or changing placenames that result from post-treaty settlement mechanisms, however, some reaction has been engendered by the replacement of locational placenames for some Māori landblocks. The Māori Freehold Land Registration project has been established to satisfy legislative requirement to register all Māori Land Court orders with the Land Transfer Office (LINZ). The legal appellations of the landblocks will mirror the description of the title that created the block, which in most cases for the North Island will be the Māori Land Court partition order. The appellations for the Southern Islands will be different as they were predominantly derived from Crown Grants.

The landblocks within the Gore Survey District, which represent just over 15 per cent of the landblocks within the Te Waipounamu Māori Land Court district, will lose traditional and historic locational placenames to one superimposed by a surveyors grid block.

Table 1: Gore Survey District appellations.


Current historic appellations

Crown Grant legal appellation


“Big Bay”

Section x, Block VII, Gore Survey District

Anakoha, Okoha


Section x, Block VIII, Gore Survey District

Te Kurakura


Section x, Block X, Gore Survey District


“Endeavour Inlet”

Section x, Block XI, Gore Survey District


“Endeavour Inlet Queen Charlotte Sound”

Section x, Block VI, Gore Survey District

Kakahau, Anamahanga

“Port Gore (Okoha Bay)”

Section x, Block XII, Gore Survey District



Section x, Block XXII, Gore Survey District

Source: Compiled by the author.

This wholesale replacement of locational references to that of a Survey District will more than likely prompt reactions from landowners. As mentioned in the preface, Port Gore (probable derivation of the Survey District name) was named after an Imperial Commander in Chief, Colonel John Gore. It is also located in the Marlborough region (the northern district in the South Island). The town of Gore is located in Southland, was originally known as Longford, and was named after Sir Thomas Gore-Browne in 1882.7 Aside from the loss of locational reference to their land, what might prove more disturbing for landowners, is that the Survey District name not only commemorates a figurehead of imperialism who never stepped foot on the land, but chillingly resonates to the name of the man whose actions precipitated the outbreak of the devastating war in 1860 which led to massive Māori land confiscations and debilitating loss of Māori sovereignty.

7. Adjusting your bearings

The theme of this discussion has been placenames: their importance to Māori identity and how the cultural landscape of Māori was reoriented over decades of colonisation. The revitalisation of Māori culture has since shifted that orientation towards positive social and cultural development.

Cultural identity is being strengthened through initiatives such as dual placenames that re-embed traditional placenames which reconnect fundamental relationships with tipuna and turangawaewae; through legislative changes which have provided positive platforms of engagement (the Foreshore Seabed legislation a profound exception); through focussed educational programmes that have steadily increased the numbers of Māori participating at higher levels of academic and cultural learning; through post settlement development mechanisms; through unprecedented levels of participation in local, regional and national affairs, and through innovative language and culture programmes disseminated through all manner of communication media.

Given the significant signposts that these initiatives reveal – that Māori continue to regard land and language as intrinsic components of Māori cultural identity – the replacement of locational placenames for Māori landblocks does raise some questions.

Questions such as: does the submerging of language as an incidental consequence of a project with beneficial intent, diminish in any way the gains of the last 40 years to restore the relationship between place, identity and culture? Or, could the replacement of land appellations to one that represents a colonial tool motivated entirely for the commodification of land (and all the associated connotations of usurping Māori sovereignty), actually be a backwards step?

Perhaps not. Perhaps it is just an incidental consequence of a beneficial project; just a low-key, administrative process that achieves a mutually acceptable alignment of records.

A potential pathway to shift the orientation of place [land] names back to one which reinforces Māori aspirations does exist, although it has not been tested at this time. Section 125A of the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act enables landowners to apply to the Court to change the appellation of their landblock, however, no applications have been made, yet. The regulatory requirements to be satisfied before the application is submitted to the Court are also quite complex. In view of the fact that the project is handling a big workload as the two original institutions interlock their records, it is unknown whether communication strategies have even been considered necessary as yet. Perhaps the Project will simply wait to get reactions, and if they do, decide what response measures, if any, they will implement.

In the preface, I asked the question whether changing the name of land to one superimposed by a settler government which usurped Māori control over their landscape is acceptable to a culture that relies on placenames as an integral part of their identity?

It is unclear how many owners in the 26,000 odd blocks of Māori land are concerned about the name changes. Perhaps there will only be a few owners who will take note of the change. The majority may well be content with it. Perhaps as long as owners know what name the land has been given; and they can find the landblock in the records; and they recognise their landblock in the Court notices, they will accept it. However, for a culture that relies on placenames as an integral part of identity and has fought hard to reimplant them into the New Zealand landscape while revitalising their culture: it will be ironic if response is muted to the superimposing of a colonial surveyors grid name on remnants of ancestral land.

The Māori Freehold Land Registration Project is a work in progress. As such, there is no definitive answer to any of the issues raised or questions posed within this document. It is difficult to draw conclusions at this time since there has been no research or statistics reported on how many blocks will be affected by name changes or what range of responses have been engendered by the changes. Whether there is passive acceptance to this change or a rash of applications to change appellations is speculative at this stage. However, with tongue firmly held in cheek, an appropriate (and final) comment is that we watch this ‘place’ with interest.

8. Postscript, September 2013

Since writing this paper in 2007 the main tranche of Māori Freehold Land registration work for the Māori Land Court has been completed; the legal appellations now appear in the Māori Land Court records and their formal Court proceedings as well as the general land registry held by Land Information New Zealand: and the response to change in traditional/historic and now legal appellations for landblocks appears to be a pragmatic one by both owners and the Māori Land Court. Searches for land block information can be based on both historic and legal appellations. Anecdotal information suggests a uniform response from Māori Land Court staff to helpfully locate the appropriate land parcel and the appropriate appellations for future reference. The complexities of legal and technical changes to traditional land names appear to have been accepted with (at the most) slight agitation when first confronted with the change. Given that land appellations have undergone change for nearly 150 years, and Māori have proven how resilient they are in face of those changes, perhaps their connection to place haven’t been affected by the change in placenames; or perhaps it is just too early to tell.


Allan, R.M. 1965, Nelson, a History of Early Settlement, A.H. & A.W. Reed, Wellington.

Byrnes, G. 2001, Boundary Markers, Land Surveying and the Colonisation of New Zealand, Bridget Williams Books, Wellington.

Dobson, A. 1930, Reminiscences of Arthur Dudley Dobson engineer (2nd ed), Whitcombe and Tombs Limited, Wellington.

Easdale, N. 1988, Kairuri the Measurer of Land, the Life of the 19th Century Surveyor Pictured in his Art and Writings, Highgate/Price Milburn Limited, Petone.

Heaphy, C. 1968 [1842], Narrative of a Residence in Various Parts of New Zealand. Together with a Description of the Present State of the Company’s Settlements, Hocken Library Facsimile No 7, Hocken Library, University of Otago, Dunedin [Smith, Elder and Co, London].

Holm, J. 2005, Caught Mapping, the Life and Times of New Zealand’s Early Surveyors, Hazard Press Limited, Christchurch.

Host, E. 2006, Thomas Brunner, his Life and Great Journeys, Vivienne Nelson (ed.), Nikau Press, Nelson.

McNab, R. 1913, The Old Whaling days: a history of Southern New Zealand from 1830 to 1840, Whitcombe and Tombs, Wellington. Accessed from

Marshall, W.B. 1836, A personal narrative of two visits to New Zealand in His Majestry’s Ship Alligator A.D. 1834, James Nisbet and Co., London. Accessed from

Morris, E.E. 1900, ‘On the Tracks of Captain Cook’, Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand 33. Accessed from

‘The state of the surveys in New Zealand’, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives (AJHR), 1875, H-1, pp. 6, 18.

Wakefield, E.G. (ed.) 2001 [1849], A view of the art of colonization, with present reference to the British Empire; in letters between a Statesman and a Colonist, Batoche Books, Kitchener [John W Parker, London]. Accessed from

1 Section 123 of the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 requires every Order of the Māori Land Court to be registered in the Land Titles Office and section 124 provides for registration of unsurveyed blocks of Māori land.

2 Both “Aehino Mouwe” and “Tovy poinammu” (Te Ika a Maui and Te Waipounamu respectively) were placenames given to Cook during his visit in 1770.

3 The name “Aotearoa” designating the country as a whole, is itself considered to be a late 19th century invention. However, it is now the accepted ‘Māori’ placename for the islands.

4 There are several versions of this korero as well as a number of other places that Kuiwai and Haungaroa are attributed as having surfaced at – however in this paper I have recounted the korero that I am familiar with.

5 See also place names.

6 ‘The state of surveys in New Zealand’, AJHR, 1875, H-1, pp. 6, 18.


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