The only official Tauranga in New Zealand is a hill near Lake Taupo. Yes, you read that right.

Information released from Land Information New Zealand reveals there is no formal name for our city. Tauranga, the city, has never been officially named.

According to Land Information New Zealand, there are 27 different Taurangas dotted around the country. These include Tauranga Bay on the South Island's West Coast and Tauranga Stream on the North Island's East Coast.

A New Zealand Geographic Board spokesman said Tauranga's duplication matter was not alone.

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"In many cases, this is because these names preceded an official place-naming process, or else no proposal was ever made to make them official. It is up to individuals and communities to make a proposal before the board."

The official Tauranga in New Zealand was a hill in the Kaimanawa Mountains.

The spokesman said the proposal process included public consultation "which is the same for all geographic features, including towns and cities".

"Once made official, if a name is going to be used, then the official geographic name must be used in all official documents published in New Zealand such as maps, charts, signs and publications for tourists."

Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless said he was not about to lose sleep over the matter.

"Of all the different issues we are facing, whether our name is officially Tauranga has not got me particularly worried.

"I think everyone who lives here and calls Tauranga home will still do that. If there's a rivalry that comes from this, well, we'll deal with that then."

Tauranga historian Buddy Mikaere said shared a similar response about the other Tauranga place names around New Zealand.

"That's fine by them - at the end of the day who cares?"

However, place names were an important part of Maori heritage and many original names of places had been lost over time, he said.

"If you look at some of the old maps, there are hundreds of names that, in order to claim ownership rights, you have to be very exact in how you describe it.

"I think we've lost a bit of a richness of our history and what we know of our landscape. I'd like to see that restored."


Some of the 27 different Taurangas in New Zealand

Ruakikeno Point (Tauranga)
Tauranga, the city
Tauranga, a hill near Gisborne
Tauranga, a hill in the Kaimanawa Range
Tauranga Bay, a bay in Northland
Tauranga Bay, a point on the South Island's West Coast
Tauranga Bay, a bay in Marlborough
Tauranga Stream, a stream near the tip of the East Cape