Wikipedia:Naming conventions (New Zealand)

This page sets out Wikipedia:WikiProject New Zealand's consensus for naming conventions in New Zealand. It describes those cases where New Zealand practice differs from universal Wikipedia conventions for article titles, or where cases specific to New Zealand are not covered in the global policy. For cases not covered here, the global policy applies.

Place names in New Zealand[edit]

New Zealand place names are written simply as the place name, unless confusion is likely to occur with duplicated names within the country or outside it. It should be noted that in almost all cases the New Zealand Geographic Board includes the type of geographic feature (e.g. Lake, Stream, Island) as part of the name, a proper noun.

This guideline applies to named populated places (cities, towns, suburbs, settlements, farms), natural landscape features (including but not limited to lakes, rivers, streams, glaciers, wetlands, headlands, mountains, hills, ranges, plains) and man-made features (dams, roads, railways, parks, mines).

  1. No disambiguation required – If a New Zealand place name is unique (or likely to be unique) in the world, then it alone is used as the article's title – (for example, Otorohanga). This form is also used if the New Zealand place is not likely to be confused with places with the same name overseas, by virtue of its relative prominence (for example, Dunedin). Confusion has to be likely, not merely possible: for example, Wellington, the capital, is known all over the world, whereas the other 30 or so places with the same name have fairly local significance only.
  2. Disambiguation required for populated place – For populated places, if confusion is likely with places outside New Zealand, then the format "Placename, New Zealand" is used (for example, Amberley, New Zealand). Suburbs are treated in the same way as towns with regard to their naming.
  3. Disambiguation required for non-populated place – For geographic features, if confusion is likely with places outside New Zealand, then the format "Placename (New Zealand)" is used, irrespective of the type of location (for example, Mount Hopkins (New Zealand)).
  4. Disambiguation required for features within populated places – If the places are features of specific cities or towns, such as parks, buildings, schools, or streets, the name of the town or city is used (for example, Stuart Street, Dunedin).
    • As mentioned above, this does not apply to suburbs (unless there is more than one place in New Zealand of the same name, in which case the city name is used).
    • If the feature is named for the city or town itself and disambiguation is required with overseas features, then "Feature, New Zealand" is used (e.g. Stratford High School, New Zealand).
  5. Disambiguation required for more than one NZ place name – Since most places in New Zealand have unique names, the standard convention (where it is necessary to distinguish a place in New Zealand from one elsewhere) is simply to use the form "Placename, New Zealand" or "Placename (New Zealand) (depending on type). In those rare instances where two places in New Zealand have the same name then the following rules are used:

Māori words[edit]

Māori words, when they appear as the title of articles, are usually given with macrons where appropriate, and with a redirect from the unmacronned form. Thus, for example, the article Māori people has a redirect at Maori people, not the other way round. Except in rare instances – usually explained in the articles – the standard Māori language pluralisation is used (in general, Māori uses the same form for the singular and plural of words). Thus, for example, the article Kiwi (bird) uses the same spelling to refer to singular and plural, whereas the article on Kiwi (people) uses "Kiwis" as the plural and explains this plural usage within the article.

Place names[edit]

Rules of Māori place names are still under discussion, but at present, where the usual name of a place is Māori, macrons are not used in the name. Where the usual name is English but there is also a Māori name, macrons are used in the Māori name. Thus Whakatane is simply Whakatane, but Christchurch is also listed within the article as Ōtautahi.

In the infobox of a geographical article, the usual name is given first, followed by the Māori name as follows:

English Name
Māori Name (Māori)

When adding a Māori language name to an infobox, use the Māori Language Commission spellings of Māori names where possible.[1]

An extensive discussion about this is at the Wikipedians notice board(with older discussion here).

Dual and alternative place names[edit]

Since the 1980s, the New Zealand Geographic Board has changed the names of a number of New Zealand places to include the original Māori name of the place as well as the European name used for the last 100–200 years. Many of these renamings have been the result of Treaty of Waitangi claim settlements. The revised names take two forms:[2]

  1. Dual names consist of an English name and a Māori name separated by a spaced slash, e.g. Mayor Island / Tuhua. The dual form must be used in official documents, but otherwise people are free to use English name, Māori name or the dual form. Dual names are seldom, if ever, used in speech, but their use in written communication is gaining acceptance. Note that some early dual names used an English (Māori) River format. Many, but not all, of these have since been renamed to the slash format. Articles should be listed at Wikipedia:Articles with slashes in title#Dual place names in New Zealand to help distinguish them from subpages.
  2. Alternative names have two forms with equal weight, e.g. Wanganui and Whanganui. People are expected to use one or the other but not both together. (In the case of Whanganui and Wanganui, the decision included a directive that Government bodies would use Whanganui, but this is not usually the case.)

Convention for dual and alternative names[edit]

  1. Dual names. If there are sources which indicate that a dual name has usage beyond mandatory official usage, put the article at the dual name, with redirects from each of the component names. The redirects may require disambiguation, but it is highly unlikely that the dual name will be ambiguous. The date of renaming should be noted and sourced in the article. Links to the article need not use the dual name unless it is appropriate, and the dual name should not be used where historically inaccurate (e.g. a historical reference before the renaming). If sources do not support use of the dual name, the English name will almost certainly be the one in common usage.
  2. Alternative names: The article should be placed at the name which reliable sources indicate has more common usage. Considerable weight should be given to recent sources, since it often takes a good ten years after a renaming for a usage pattern to be established. Disregard sources which use names erroneously (e.g. "Taranaki/Mt Egmont"). A redirect should be created for the name which is not used as the article title. If one name would require disambiguation while the other would not, the non-ambiguous name may be preferred. The date of renaming should be noted and sourced in the article. Links to the article may use whichever name is appropriate in the context.

Changed place names[edit]

In a few instances the Geographic Board has changed the name of a place, generally from an English name to a Māori one, without creating a dual or alternative name, e.g. Whale Island (New Zealand) became Moutohora Island.

The article should be placed at the name which recent reliable sources indicate has more common usage. Thus an article may be moved some years after a name is changed, reflecting a change in usage. The fact of the change should be prominently mentioned and referenced in the article.

Moving a page[edit]

For information on the procedure for renaming an article, see Help:Moving a page and Wikipedia:Requested moves.


  1. ^ See the Māori Language Commission site for a list of placenames and a map; one of their subsidiary sites has a clearer map.
  2. ^ [1] (Question What is the difference between alternative naming and dual naming?)