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Maurice Williamson

6 December, 2012

Amendments provide clarity on place names

Two amendments to the Geographic Board (Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa) Act 2008 will provide better clarity and consistency around official place names, Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson says.

The amendments were included in the Statutes Amendment Bill (No3), which was passed in Parliament today.

“The first amendment fixes an anomaly where the Act could have been interpreted as requiring all alternative place names to be used in official documentation and publications,” Mr Williamson says.

“This is inconsistent with the Act’s intent to provide flexibility where a feature or locality is known by more than one name, and to reflect the diverse perspectives that exist when it comes to place names.  As such, this amendment makes it clear that either name, or both, can be used.”

“An example of this is Wanganui and Whanganui – either of which can be used in official documentation following the passing of this legislation.  The Geographic Board will gazette these names in the coming weeks.”

The second amendment requires the Conservation Minister to notify the New Zealand Geographic Board if the name of a Crown protected area is discontinued, and empowers the Board to remove the name from the Gazetteer of Official Geographic Names.

This allows the Board to meet its obligations regarding Crown protected area names, and ensures the record of these names can be kept up to date.

“These amendments will enhance the clarity and certainty of the Geographic Board Act,” Mr Williamson says.