Rangitoto Island could be officially known as Te Rangi-i-Tongia-a-Tamatekapua as part of the Crown's deal to restore Maori ownership of volcanic cones and some Hauraki Gulf islands.

Mayor Len Brown's response yesterday to a requested listing of the original name for official occasions was enthusiastic.

"It may not easily transfer to common usage but this is a great recognition of our local history," he said on Twitter.

Motutapu's Island's original Maori name of Te Motu-tapu-a-Tinirau is also sought in the deed for presentation to a group of 12 Auckland iwi and hapu known as the Tamaki Collective. The deed is published on the Office of Treaty Settlements website.


When the deed is signed, the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi negotiations must write to the NZ Geographic Board requesting that the board list original Maori names for designated places.

Auckland historian and author Graeme Murdoch said Rangitoto's proposed official name meant "the day the blood of Tamatekapua was shed."

The name was traditionally linked with a fight between Tamatekapua and Hoturoa, the commanders of the Arawa and Tainui canoes respectively. Tamatekapua was injured, hence the name.

Mr Murdoch said it seemed strange to him that there was this tradition of Te Rangi-i-Tongia-a-Tamatekapua about the scrap between two men but Rangitoto also literally means "blood red sky" in relation to the eruptions.

Rangitoto's summit and peaks will be Nga Pona-toru-a-Peretu.

The Government agreed two years ago that 14 maunga - or volcanic cones - including Maungakiekie/One Tree Hill, Maungawhau/Mt Eden and Owairaka/Mt Albert, would be vested in the collective and the cones would be co-governed by a body made up of the collective, Auckland Council and Crown representatives.

The council would manage the cones.

On Maungauika/North Head Historic Reserve, the Department of Conservation will continue as manager.