NEW ZEALAND: Re-instatement of indigenous place names

More than 100 place names in northeastern New Zealand's Rotorua region will be changed to their original Maori titles over the coming four weeks. The decision was outlined for the Arawa on October 15 in the Arawa Deed of Settlement, which also grants the Arawa land titles to 13 lake beds. Dan Stafford, a Rotorua historian, told the New Zealand Herald that some of the non-Maori names had been "ridiculous" and that "the original Maori names are much better because they all relate to the old legends of those areas." No mission had taken place at Mission Bay, for example; the name will be changed to Waerenga. Two representatives of the New Zealand Geographic Board that supported the move met the Te Arawa Maori Trust Board in September and discussed proposed changes with a group of elders. Arawa elder Joe Malcom told the New Zealand Herald, "When you take the name away, you take the history away, so this is a restoration of our culture. It's a milestone."