Kate Monk's Onomastikon

(Dictionary of Names)

New Zealand (Aotearoa)

Capital : Wellington (on North Island near Cook Strait which separates it from South Island)

These Austronesian voyagers were certainly settled in New Zealand by the C14th and possibly several thousand years ago. They introduced their own plants and domestic animals as did those who landed on other Polynesian islands. The various Polynesian communities have very strong cultural and linguistic similarities and the Maori share these.

The first European to reach New Zealand was Abel Tasman in 1642 but the Maori prevented him from landing. The coasts were explored by the English Captain James Cook in his expeditions of 1769, 1773 and 1777 and British missionaries began to arrive in 1815. The Maori surrendered their lands to British sovereignty in the Waitangi Treaty of 1840 which it guaranteed them their own territory and gave them British citizenship. European colonization began and the colony obtaining self-government in 1853.. Sheep farming was developed on a large scale but the Maori revolted against the loss of their land in 1845-7 and 1860-72, forcing concessions which included parliamentary representation largely due to the efforts of George Grey, Governor 1845-53 and Radical Prime Minister 1877-84.

The Conservative Party held power from 1879-90 and were succeeded by the Liberals who had trade union backing and introduced women's suffrage in 1893, old-age pensions in 1898 and pioneered labour laws. New Zealand became a dominion of the British Empire in 1907.

In 1912, the Conservatives, now called the Reform Party, regained power and the trade unions separated from the Liberals to form the Labour Party. In 1931, the country achieved full independence and the Reform and Liberals merged as the National Party. New Zealand's troops served Britain in the Boer War, WWI and WWII and independence was formally recognised by the New Zealand legislature in 1947.

The National Party established a successful social security system and a strong economy but in 1972, the Labour Party was elected under Norman Kirk. Growing inflation and the 1973-4 energy crisis led to a balance-of-payments deficit. When Britain, with whom much of New Zealand's export trade was conducted, decided to join the European Economic Community it also affected foreign policy. New Zealand began to withdraw from its military commitments in SE Asia and established relations with China. Kirk died in 1974 and was succeeded by Wallace Rowling but the economy grew worse and the National Party, re-elected under Robert Muldoon, was unable improve it despite introducing controversial labour legislation in 1984. The Labour Party returned to power, and was re-elected in 1987 fighting the election on on its non-nuclear policy which was put into effect under Prime Minister David Lange. No ships with nuclear power or carrying nuclear weapons could land and this strained relations with the USA.

Although the Labour party regained power in 1984, it continued the policy. In 1985, the sinking of the Greenpeace flagship, Rainbow Warrior, in Auckland harbour was eventually admitted to by the French who were conducting nuclear tests in French Polynesia and New Zealand demanded compensation. In 1987, the National Party under James Bolger supported the government's bipartisan non-nuclear policy. Lange was re-elected in 1989 with a majority of only 17 but resigned due to ill-health and was replaced by Geoffrey Palmer who also resigned in 1990, with foreign affairs minister Mike Moore taking over. He lost the 1990 election to the National Party under Jim Bolger who was criticised by former leader Muldoon who announced his retirement. The two-party system was challenged in 1991 by the Alliance Party of the Democratic, Green and the mostly Maori New Zealand Self-Government Parties. In 1992, the ban on visiting war-ships was lifted and the voting system was changed to a semi-proportional one to come into use in 1996.

The Maori demand a review of the Waitangi Treaty. They claim 70% of the country's land and have managed to obtain a ruling that fishing rights in the far north are their sole property. There are about 300 000 in New Zealand, 10% of the population. They have begun be involved in New Zealand's sporting achievement, particularly within rugby football.

Maori Names

There has been quite a lot of inter-marriage with white settlers and many Maori have adopted, or been given, European names but still consider themselves to be Maori. Forms of European and Biblical names which popular due to missionary influence. Maori names are often taken from common words from daily life or nature with a second name which might refer to an event or tribe name. They were not usually gender specific but I have listed names according to the gender of the person that bore them. Iwi Names

Nga Kahungunu, Te Atiawa, Kai Tahu, Ngapuhi, Ngati Porou, Ngati Whatua Maniapoto Ancestor Names

Te Arawa, Tainui, Mataatua, Aotea, Horoutu


Ahu Akuhata Alana Amohia Api Arapeta
Caine Eru Haimona Himi Hohepa Hokianga
Hone Hori Hotu Huirangi Joeli Kahu
Kahumanu Kahutea Kamira Kereama Kerehi Kohuru
Kupe Lafele Mahu Mahutia Mana Manoa
Manu Meto Mihi Mutu Ngakaukawa Ngati
Nihe Olo Paikea Paora Paulaui Pi
Piri Pitama Puhi Rangi Remia Rewa
Rongo Taiaho Taine Taki Tame Tane
Taua Taunui Te Te Kori Tekukuni Temuera
Tere Tiaki Tiakinga Tika Timote Timoti
Tipi Toa Tuaivi Tuu Waihoroi Waimiria
Waisale Whatahui Wherehiko      


Aka Akenehi Aroha Awhina Hana Hema
Heni Hinauri Hine Hinemoa Hira Irihapeti
Kuni Kupe Mahina Mairangi Marama Masawa
Mere Mira Moe Nane Ngaio Ngawai
Niree Nyra Nyree Nyrie Pare Poko
Putiputi Ra Rangi Rata Rewa Rewi
Roimata Rupe Taiaroa Tamati Tawhaki Tiwho
Toi Toto Tui Tungia Turi Waitohi
Whetu Yootha        


Ahipene Aranui Elisara Eru Falamoe Feaunati
Guwabe Haare Heke Henare Hotu Iro
Kahukiwa Kanuta Karauria Karetu Kingi Kirikiri
Kopunui Mahuika Makuba Makura Manihera Maninga
Mikaere Mira Moana Muru Naivalurua Neho
Otimi Paraha Pere Pirini Pita Pomgia
Pongia Pore Potaka Potiki Poutini Reihana
Rupuma Tabua Taine Tainui Tana Taupeaffe
Te Huia Teua Timu Topeora Tuiahi Tunui
Tuuta Umaga Vidiri Waaka Waikerepuru Wharerau
Whiu Wiki        


Unlike European gods they very rarely interfere in human affairs. The spirits of trees, birds and animals are called 'Tamaiti-i-Tane', the children of Tane. Ancestors were also very important as were Rehua or ghosts of the unborn. The Tiki or Heitiki (The Cheated of Life) were the spirits of still-born children which have strong powers of good or evil.

Tane Mahuta forests and life in general - very important
Hine-te-Po Lady of the night - goddess from whom death came into the world
Maui the last born Polynesian folk hero
Io beginnings - vague attributes and may be later invention
Papa earth mother
Rangi sky father
Tawhiri-Matea/Tauwhiri air, winds and storms
Tangaroa sea and its creatures
Tamaiti i Tangaroa the children of Tangaroa
Rongo-ma-Taue Kumara god, food
Haumia-Tiketike fern root, food
Tu-Matauenga Man and war
Taniwha crocodile monster

This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.

Copies may be made for personal use only.

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