This week marks the annual Māori Language Week (10-16th September 2018), so to get people interested in Te Reo I thought I’d revisit the maps I’ve made of the Māori place names of New Zealand/Aotearoa!

I first became interested in mapping Māori names last year, when I did some quick fire maps for the 7 Day Cartography Challenge. These first draft versions were done in 48 hours and left a lot of detail to be added and corrections made. There was plenty of interest around it though, so it was something I always intended to revisit and improve at a later date.

Earlier this year I spent some time doing some extensive research into correct spellings an macron usage, and turning it into a more useful map resource for learning more about our country’s Te Reo place names. It was a fascinating process that taught me a lot about the meanings and stories behind these names, as they often had a close connection to the geography of the place.

You can learn all about that in this blog post here, and get a wall poster here!

While the print map is a really useful resource, there was a lot of detail that couldn’t be shown at the national scale. The names of natural features such as mountain peaks, rivers and lakes couldn’t be seen, yet these are very important features in the landscape to Māori.

As a follow up project, I created an interactive version by collating an even more detailed database of place names at the local level; it also included many natural features, as well as feature like marae and the names of other countries. Check it out below or read more about it here (please don’t embed this elsewhere without permission, thanks):

These maps have previously made the rounds online, and were also on display during the recent Map Exhibition at the NZ Cartographic Society’s GeoCart Cartography Conference in Wellington last week. It’s been awesome to get the feedback on these, so keep it coming!

In the meantime, I hope that these maps can contribute to this year’s Māori Language Week and the support of Te Reo in general, so feel free to share!