It’s official – Middle Island is now allowed to be called Te Wai Pounamu!

Middle Island (Te Wai-Pounamu) New Zealand : showing principal waterfalls for electric power, and catchment areas of the principal New Zealand rivers.

Middle Island (Te Wai-Pounamu) New Zealand : showing principal waterfalls for electric power, and catchment areas of the principal New Zealand rivers. 1904

See also our post Middle Island or New Munster?

Middle Island or New Munster?

Map
New Ulster, New Munster, and New Leinster, 1844.

What is in a name? With the news that the North Island and the South Island may not be the names of two of our islands, people are all stirred up. Twitter got into the action, bestowing new names on our is-lands The North Island – Te Ika-a-Maui – and the South Island – Te Waipounamu.

Then I remembered some delicious old maps that reveal names of old. This 1838 map shows a transliterated version – South Island as Tavaipoenammo and the North Island as Eaheinomauwe.

Once we showed Irish roots with the names New Ulster (North Island) and New Munster (South Island) (Stewart Island as New Leinster), 1844.

Middle Island, 1850 map.

Te Waipounamu (the South Island) was once dubbed Middle Island.

See at left the Sketch of Middle Island (New Zealand) shewing the East Coast as laid down by Captn. Stokes 1850.

See also 1880 and 1904 examples of the South Island as Middle Island.

For more map goodness, check out our digitised collection of maps.