"Where the Name Comes from" Somes Island Favorite Tip by Kakapo2
Somes Island General: 10 reviews and 14 photos
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Of course, it all started with the Maori name Matiu. This is, like so many names, a name given by the great Polynesian explorer Kupe. He named Matiu and nearby Makaro islands after his two daughters.
In 1839 Matiu Island was taken by the New Zealand Company and renamed Somes Island after Joseph Somes who was the company’s deputy-governor and financier at the time.
In 1997 the New Zealand Geographic Board introduced the official bilingual name Matiu/Somes Island, honouring the island’s Maori and European history.
However, this double name has not really made it into the brains of most Wellingtonians. Whenever I politely said Matiu/Somes Island everybody said: “Ah, Somes Island…”
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