The New Zealand Geographic Board has announced it will consult the public before settling on new official names for the North and South Islands.
It’s about time. I’ve long thought we could do better than the current names.
The board is looking at changing the name South Island to Te Waipounamu and the North Island to Te Ika-a-Maui.
I would normally welcome the adoption of Maori names for the two islands, but I’m also mindful that to do so might upset racists and conservatives around the country, and the last thing we need is a bunch of angry racists turning up on talkback radio to complain about Maori people. Could you imagine that?
So I’m afraid Maori names won’t do, and they will have to be European.
Everyone will have an opinion on what the islands should be called, so I may as well give you mine. In this post I will discuss my preferred name for the South Island.
I have chosen Nigel.
Why Nigel? Well why not? Do you have a problem with my choice? A lot of perfectly respectable people are named Nigel, like the bass player for Duran Duran, and a moderately famous Formula One driver.
I suppose there will be people out there who don’t watch motor sports and don’t like Duran Duran, but I hope you’re not one of those haters.
Nigel is easy to spell, and it’s catchy. Imagine the things Tourism New Zealand could do if our main tourism destination was named Nigel. Imagine how powerful the advertising campaigns would be.
“Are you making plans for Nigel?”
“Experience the pleasure of Nigel”
“No man is an island: except for Nigel”
“I spent a fortnight in Nigel, and I loved every moment!”
This could be the very kick-start Christchurch’s tourism industry needs.
So make some noise, and join with me in urging the Geographic Board to do the right thing. We want our Nigel and we want it now!