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Commemorating WWI through place names

News: 28 May 2015

Sixteen recorded place names linked to WWI are set to become official as part of the New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa (NZGB) contribution to the Government’s ‘New Zealand WW100’ programme.



Hubert Earle Girdlestone was a surveyor

Hubert Earle Girdlestone
(R22755343, Wellington Office, Archives NZ)



Hubert Earle Girdlestone was a surveyor for the Department of Lands and Survey. During WWI he left New Zealand with the 33rd Reinforcements and was placed on special work with the Intelligence Department.

WW100 leads and supports activities and initiatives to mark the centenary of WWI. The NZGB is contributing to this by approving existing WWI-linked names that have not been made official, and publishing the stories behind them.

“There are 30 of these WWI place names throughout New Zealand, which the NZGB considered when it met on 29 April 2015,” says NZGB Secretary Wendy Shaw.

At that meeting, the NZGB approved 16 recorded names as official: Anzac Bay (Katikati); Anzac Bay (Waiheke Island); Anzac Peaks (near Aoraki/Mount Cook); Ataturk Memorial (Wellington); Birdwood Range (Canterbury Foothills); Cradock Channel (Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana); Jellicoe Cave (Northland); Jellicoe Channel (Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana); Jellicoe Point (Lake Taupo); Jellicoe Ridge (Canterbury); Mount French; Mount Joffre (South Main Divide); Pyramus Peak (Canterbury); Girdlestone Peak (Mount Ruapehu); Girdlestone (Tararua Range); and Girdlestone Saddle (Tararua Range).

“The NZGB is also seeking to alter an existing recorded name – correcting the spelling of Paschendale to ‘Passchendaele’ Ridge in Westland National Park/Tai Poutini National Park.

“The NZGB agreed to notify this name for a month of public consultation, to run from 28 May-3 July 2015. The NZGB will research and consider other existing WWI place names identified by the public through the WW100 programme.”

Information about all 30 WWI place names can be searched in the NZGB’s Gazetteer.

Anyone can make a submission either supporting or objecting to the proposal for Passchendaele Ridge.

Submissions can be made in writing to the Secretary for the New Zealand Geographic Board via the online forms, to the NZGB email address (link sends e-mail), or to: Level 7, Radio New Zealand House, 155 The Terrace, PO Box 5501, Wellington 6145.

Visit the LINZ website for information about Passchendaele Ridge, the WWI Names Project, general place naming and the New Zealand Geographic Board.

Updated on 23rd July 2015