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New Zealand to rename 'racist place names' on South Island

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 8/12/2016 Jamie Bullen
South Island of New Zealand. © AAP Image South Island of New Zealand.

New Zealand has declared it will rename three places in the South Island containing the racist term “n****r”.

A stream, a hill and a series of hills in North Canterbury will officially receive new names next Thursday, the government has announced.

The new names have been chosen based on a native species of grass and trees that is found or grows in the area.

Land information minister Louise Upton said the original names reflected “a time when attitudes towards this word were markedly different”.

She said: “It is a word that is clearly offensive to most people today, so I am pleased to make this decision.

“This isn’t about rewriting history – it is and will remain a matter of public record that these three places used to carry different names.

“However, in a society like ours that is multicultural and where most New Zealanders do not go out of their way to be offensive or exclude others, I do not believe this word has a place in our official names.”

N****r Stream, near Arthur’s Pass, will be renamed Pūkio Stream while N****rhead, which is above Lake Sumner will now be known as Tawhai Hill. N****r Hill will become Kānuka Hills.

The new names will be listed in the Gazetteer, the official record of New Zealand place names, next Thursday.

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