New Zealand To Discuss Changing Names Of Places Named 'N****r'

23/10/2015 4:12 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:50 PM AEST
For reference in locating Wellington at the southern tip of the North Island, as well as all of the South Island.

Senator Eric Abetz is in trouble for using the term "negro" on radio, but New Zealand seems keen to avoid any similar dramas in future by changing the title of three places named "Nigger".

Nigger Hill, Nigger Stream and Niggerhead,in the middle of New Zealand's south island, are all on the chopping block for their offensive names.

Wendy Shaw, Secretary to the New Zealand Geographic Board for Land Information New Zealand, told The Huffington Post Australia there will be public consultations to change the names for the three areas -- "a hill, a group of connected hills and a stream" -- to less controversial titles.

"Decisions on whether the names will be changed will be made following the three month public consultation, and consideration of the submissions by the New Zealand Geographic Board, possibly in April 2016... We are not able to say when a decision is likely to be made," Shaw said.

When asked why it has taken until 2015 to change the names, when the term in question has been considered offensive for so long, Shaw said the changes had been prompted by a public complaint.

"The New Zealand Geographic Board is generally reactive to name proposals from members of the public. 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," she said.

"Public consultation will run for three months, from 29 October 2015 to 29 January 2016 and this is the opportunity for interested people to have their say. Anyone can make a submission in support of, or objecting to, these proposals."

Shaw said that, if the proposal the change the names was successful, Niggerhead would be renamed Tawhai Hill and Nigger Hill would become Kānuka Hills -- both named for local tree species -- while Nigger Stream would become Steelhead Stream after a local trout species. For more information on the consultation, click here.

She also said the NZGB had other "place names around the country that may be deemed to be offensive" in its sights, including Niger Peak, Niger Stream, Niger Creek, Darkie Creek and three other places named "Darkie" in Westland.

The term 'niggerhead' has been used in the past to refer to a protruding clump of plant matter in a stream, or an isolated part of a coral reef. There is still a reef off north Queensland named Nigger Head, while Queensland also has places named Mount Nigger and Nigger Creek.

American presidential candidate and Governor of Texas Rick Perry attracted huge controversy during his 2012 presidential run, after it was revealed his family had leased a hunting ranch named 'Niggerhead.'

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