New Zealand finally names its islands after 200 years
WELLINGTON (AFP) - New Zealand's two main islands have never been formally named due to a clerical oversight lasting 200 years despite being universally known as the North and South Islands, officials said on Thursday.
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 recognised.
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 overwhelming majority of public submitters wanted the choice to use the English or Maori names," board chairman Don Grant said.