[The Place Names Gazetteer](https://gazetteer.linz.govt.nz/) contains **official** and **unofficial** place names under the jurisdiction of the New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa (NZGB). Official place names are those that have been assigned, altered, adopted, approved, and validated under the NZGB Act 2008 or through other statutes that assign official names, for example, Treaty settlement legislation. Unofficial place names are those that have not been processed under the NZGB Act 2008 or through other relevant statutes.
Data is extracted from Land Information New Zealand’s (LINZ) ‘New Zealand Gazetteer of Official Geographic Names’, which is maintained by the NZGB Secretariat.
Geographical coverage encompasses New Zealand, the Ross Dependency of Antarctica, and the Continental Shelf of New Zealand.
The NZGB has naming jurisdiction over:
- natural features such as mountains, peaks, valleys, glens, forests, lagoons, swamps, creeks, streams, rivers, fords, lakes, glaciers or ice features, bays, islands or harbours (including man-made features of the same type)
- railways or railway stations, but not railway features such as marshalling yards, transfer sites, or track point locations
- places, i.e. cities, towns, villages, sites, areas, or similar places, including suburbs and localities
- undersea features
- Crown protected areas
- Districts and regions (altering only if requested by the local authority)
Each name is provided with a location represented by a point. More complex geometry (e.g lines for rivers or areas for suburbs) is not currently available.
Each geographic feature has one or more place names associated with it. Place names usually comprise two components – ‘specific’, being for the proper noun, and ‘generic’, being a description of the geographic feature type.
Information provided for each place name may include: name; name status (whether official or unofficial); geographic feature type; authority by which an official name became official; district within which the name is located; geographic location; reference information; history/origin/meaning; and additional notes. Not all information is available for all names.
Positional accuracy is generally the same as 1:50K mapping. Information accuracy reflects information at the time of original capture.
The New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa is a statutory body appointed by Government and governed by the New Zealand Geographic Board (Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa) Act 2008. Land Information New Zealand is responsible for administering the Act.
One of the NZGB’s main purposes is to ensure the provision of, and public access to, an authoritative record of official geographic names. Under s.13 of the NZGB Act 2008, the NZGB must establish and maintain a publicly available record known as the ‘New Zealand Gazetteer of Official Geographic Names’.
At the time the NZGB Act 2008 was passed on 1 November 2008, the information needed for a Gazetteer was spread across Gazette notices dating back to the 1920s, and a number of other hard copy records. To enable the NZGB to comply with the NZGB Act 2008 and provide a Gazetteer, the essential information was collected and compiled into six Microsoft Excel spreadsheets that listed all of the official geographic names in New Zealand, but not the unofficial names.
Subsequent to the initial publication of the spreadsheet Gazetteer, the NZGB spent considerable effort correcting information captured from the Gazette notices, updating the positions of named features and adding historical information about the names. The spatial extents of many features were also defined.
The spreadsheet based provision of the Gazetteer barely achieved the minimum legal requirements as defined in the NZGB Act 2008. It also exhibited a number of critical limitations in terms of data maintenance and access to geographic name information.
In 2012/13 the Gazetteer was redesigned and moved to a relational database, and became the ‘New Zealand Gazetteer of Official Geographic Names’.
The Place Names Gazetteer dataset is extracted from the ‘New Zealand Gazetteer of Official Geographic Names’, and is maintained by the NZGB Secretariat.
The NZGB also has requirements to collect original Māori names for features, to record previous/historic names for features, and to process unofficial names that have been used on maps/charts for many years. Not all of this information is currently available in the ‘New Zealand Gazetteer of Official Geographic Names’.