New Zealand mulling changing ‘racist’ place names

Wellington, Oct 23 (IANS) Three racially offensive and controversial place names in New Zealand could be replaced under proposals put to the New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB), a media report said on Friday.

Three place names using the ‘n-word’ – Nigger Hill, Niggerhead and Nigger Stream, which are all in the foothills of the Southern Alps – are likely to be changed, Radio New Zealand reported.

NZGB said a member of the public suggested changing the “discriminatory and derogatory” names of the town, all of which feature a racist term.

The proposed replacement names are Kanuka Hill, Tawhai Hill and Steelhead Stream, which have been suggested by the member who submitted the proposal because they represent native trees in the area and also a type of trout, the steelhead.

“These proposals were made by a member of the public who was concerned that these particular names did not show New Zealand in a good light, being in poor taste and causing offence,” NZGB Secretary Wendy Shaw said.

NZGB said that while they had not been able to pin down exactly how or when the places got their names, two have appeared on maps since the 1860s, and the third from the 1910s.

It is not the only place in New Zealand, to have a seemingly offensive name. There are several places with “Darkies” in their title on the west coast of South Island.

They are seemingly references to a 19th century African American gold prospector known as ‘Darkie’ Addison.

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