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Fiordland Place-Names, by John Hall-Jones

21 April 2010

One of John Hall-Jones most impressive pieces of work, this is a complete gazetteer of Fiordland place names. The book, originally commissioned by the Fiordland National Park Board, was first published in 1979. The first edition contained 86 pages of names and explainations about their origins. As stated by the author, “if this gazetteer was to have an extended title it would be Fiordland Place-Names – the reasons why”.

Fiordland Place-Names, 1st Edition (left) and 2nd Edition (right)

In the introduction to the first edition, the author invited anyone who knew of the reason for an unexplained place-name to contact him. Thanks to the response by a number of readers, the origins of 70 previously unexplained place-names became known. Additionally, new geographical features were named by the New Zealand Geographic Board of Names in recent years. These additions warranted the publication of a revised second edition in 2003.

This is not a pretty book (it contains no illustrations), nor does it make forĀ pleasant reading – it is a mere list of names and their origins. But for anyone interested in Fiordland and its history, it’s a must-have and an invaluable source of information. “Good place names should make us look at the landscape more closely”. As experienced by Dr. Hall-Jones during his research, this book will “help one look at many features in Fiordland with a totally new appreciation”.


Hall-Jones, J. (2003) Fiordland Place-Names. 2nd edition. Published by Real Journeys, Te Anau, New Zealand. 88 pages

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