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RE-NAMING NEW ZEALAND.

[ABRIDGED FROM 4. PAPER BY W. H. BLYTH, CONTHIBUTETJ TO THE AUCKLAND INSTITUTE BY W. D. CAMPBKLti.] While on the one hand the poet exclaims, "What's in a name? the rose by any other name would smell aa sweet," making but a trifla of the matter, on the other hand, an old saying, "Give a dog a bad name, and hang him," views the subject in a much more serious light, maintaining that the ill-gifting is fatal. Though the latter saying doubtless refers to a bad name in a moral sense, yet, without controversy, it is an advantage to have an euphonious name. Even genius is handicapped with a commonplace or ugly one. It is justly felt that worthy things need adequately worthy and appropriate names. Names, however, as a rule, are a matter of inheritance and accident, and so are the more easily acquiesced in, and in a case where the name, however commonplace originally, has been redeemed by a long series of illustrious deeds, one not only gets reconciled to it, but even proud to bear it. Nevertheless, in a literal sense, "A good name is as ointment poured forth." Many suggestions have been put forth at different times for the correction of the Dutch mhappellation, New Zealand, and now that the federation of the Australasian Colonies is becoming realisable, a good opportunity is offered of acquiring a more congenial name. None have more vigorously denounced the present one than the late Mr. Charles Hursthouse in his work, "New Zealand, the Britain of the South." Mr. Hurstnouse says:—"lt appears to me that the name which New Zealand bears is a very mean and sorry one. No man ever did less for any country he discovered than the Dutchman Tasman did for New Zealand. He came, saw, and left it; he never even set foot on its shores. It is doubtful whether he was even the first discoverer, Tue name, moreover, which Tasman gave is the name of a flat little province of Holland, no more resembling New Zealand than a jelly-fish resembles a whale. Unfortunate in her name as a country, New Zealand has been equally unfortunate in the matter of the naming of the divisions of the country. New Ulster, New Munster, and New Leinster. Happily, however, these Colonial-Office-born names are gradually becoming a thing of the past, although they, in common with 'Eahino Mawe,' ' Tavai Poenamu, , •Tβ lka-a-Maui,' and the like nomenolatural jargon, still disfigure some of our maps." Mr. Hursthouse goes on to say :—" Swan River has been changed to West Australia, Port Philip to Victoria, Van Dieman'e Land to Tasmania, Moreton Bay to Queensland. I think, then, there are substantial reasons why this re-chriatening process might be extended to New Zealand."

It may be interesting to enquire, Why it baa been so easy a matter re-naming the Australian Colonies and yet so diffcult to rename this country ? It is plain we havo precedents in plenty for euch change. The inappropriateness of the name is an urgent an argument in this case as in that of the sister colonies. What hinders, then, the desired consummation ? An answer is given, and it is hoped a satisfactory one, in this paper. It will conduce much to the elucidation of thia point to continue the comparative method shadowed out by Mr. Hurathouse, and enquire, What forces operated to bring about the change for the Australian Colonies ? Have such forces been active in this country ? If so, what counter current may be conjectured to have modified the impact of these influences, and secured the retention of the present name ? Is the triumph of this counter current final, or is it still possible to re-name New Zealand ? And, if it be yet possible, how is this end to be secured ? The only influence, other than patriotism, that secures the retention of a physicially inappropriate name is, no to , speak, the mechanical one, retention by authority, in a case where the mother country occupied the territories, or at least maintained her sovereignty over them. Were the rule to pass into other hands, that is, hands alien to the mother nationality, the names would be fated, being unable to bear up against their native inappropriateness, combined, as it would now be, with the inimical influences Betting in under the new regime.

As far as the Australian Colonies are concerned, it is undoubted that this influence was most potent in changing the old Dutch names, .New Holland gave place to Australia. Edel Land, Nuyts, De Witts, &0., gradually disappeared from the maps. Tae same influence has in the past clamoured for change of name for this country. On this head, then, the cases of these different colonies are identical, for the same all-powerful agency, still at work, seems undermining the name of the island.

In one respect, however, there seems to be less urgency here for such change than presented uself in the sister colonies. As an able article in the Auckland Weekly Nkws pointed out, the Australias felt the necessity for veiling their antecedents, and for toning down the notoriety that clung to the early English names of the Australian Colonies (there being no prejudice against these from an alien point of view). This is doubtless the true cause provoking the farther change of name. New Zealand is on this head sans reproche. She has nothing in her past to regret in the way of respectability, having at the bands of the mother country enjoyed the advantage of the most favoured nation. But it must be remembered that New South Wales, the oldest of the penal settlements, still retains her original name, and that even the notorious Botany Bay is not interdicted. However, it may be alleged that the view advanced is sufficiently correct, and that the Australias were glad to break from the names of sorrow, and hail the names of brighter import. But, while the Australias were thus desirous to forget, a wish to remember has conserved the name New Zealand beyond its demerits, and this result, conservation, has been mainly due to the interest that has ever attached to its aboriginal people. The Maori, by his native worth, has made the name so conspicuous in the past that its ezpungement would almost seem as the symbol of the effacement of this most intereating of so-called savage races. Nevertheless, even such sacrifice might advantageously be made if a really suitable and euphonious name could be substituted. This is the one desideratum, the hitherto aug gestod names, for the most part, being monstrosities.

The following may serve as specimens :— Amongst the earliest and best, perhaps, is Zealaudia. But here we have no severance of the Dutch connection, and the jelly-fish objection is here as valid as in the case of New Zealand. Mr. Hursthouse, who commended this substitute, also advocated the merits of South Britain or the Britain of the v outh. In the form of Austral Britain it might do. Another proposed Sea Land, but this is simply the Dutch name in an English dress, and the hissing sibilant of the substitute is hardly an improvement on the softer Zealand of the foreigner. Someone else, with an ear attuned, one would suppose, to appreciate a cat concert, thought of Maoria, but Maoria and Maorians are names hardly to be desired. The late Richard Taylor favoured Australbion, but there would be the difficulty of designating the people •• Australbions" or " Australbonions" or what? Dr. Haast suggested Cooksland, but there is a certain flavour about this noneuphonious name that very naturally modifies the honour sought to be conferred on our country's true Captain Cook. Two forms of names, it will faave been seen, have particularly been favoured in the earning of these Southern regions; The

classical one already indicated as Australia, Tasmania, and the combinations with land, as Queensland, Southland, and Westland. The latter were peculiarly favoured by the Dutch in these seas, who, imagining that their discoveries embraced part of the Terra Australia Incognita, the fabled Southern land, gave the names Van Dieman'a Land, Dβ Witt's Land, Endraght Land, Edel Land, Nuyt's Land, &0., to the supposed portions. Iα choosing a name for New Zealand, it would be better perhaps to exclude the forms in land, reserving such for divisions of the country, as the principle has already been adopted to some extent, and consider only the classical candidates, some name with the termination "ia" beside those already examined. It is thought probable that New Zealand was visited earlier than the time of Tasman by the Spaniards, as there exists a remarkably correct Spanish chart of Dusky Bay of very early date, and Dusky Bay was not a place which Tasman appears to have visited. Would that the Spaniards had had the naming of this land, for they were very princes in the art 1 We should probably have had little cause for change or regret. It is impossible to say exactly what associations wonld have guided these people to a choice. Most of their nameb have a religious bearing, but it might be that the name their own country had once borne would have commended itself— Hespefia, the Land of the Evening, or the Setting San. The Greeks first gave the name to the lands they discovered to the west of them, that is, Italy. The Latins sent the name on to the land to their west, Spain; Spain is turn rendered the name untenable by her discoveries of yet remoter regions to her west. Then, if it be true that from these remoter western lands she yet pushed her discoveriea to that debateable region, " Where the west is east, and the east ia west," and found the true land of the evening, what better name could she have given than Hesperia? What hinders the choice now ? Is it impossible to revive the old name Hesperia? In its configuration, in the axis of its mountains, its Alpine, its volcanic feature, its general trend in inverted form, there is much in our country to recall the original Hesperia, Italy. In the event of federation becoming un fait accompli, Australia, Tasmania, and Heaperia would go well together. Despite the fact that New Zealand lies to the eastward of Australia and one and a-half degrees, or about 30 miles, on the eastward side of the Greenwich meridian, the name would hold good, as New Zealand belongs to the Western Hemisphere, as recognised by the civilisation of Europe, and is sufficiently distant from Australia to retain her individuality in the new relationship. And, then, Hesperia would be no more a misnomer in her federal connection with Australia than Australia (that is, the Great South Land) would be in her connection with Hesperia (that is, the West Land), seeing ' the former lies somewhat to the north of the latter, otherwiie New Zealand that now is. The apparent anomalies presented by the names would be rather an advantage than otherwise, symbolising independence with union, and pointing to the mother country (Great Britain) as the grand local point of sympathy. The Australian Colonies would be sisters, as it were, through their relationship to the mother country, Australia and Tasmania the farthest south, Hesperia (New Zealand) the farthest of her daughters west. The beauty of the name Hesperia few will dispute. The continued shiftings, as already indicated, mark the horizons of the old world discoveries. The vaster discoveries' of Spain left the name in abeyance, till the possibilities of farther discoveries in the undiscovered west should haply reach the borders of the east, and it would seem, from waiting so long in abeyance, the name passed from among the possessions of the earth and lived only as a memory in the world. That land of the west, emphatically the land of the setting, or evening, sun, haa been found, and wondrously satisfies the ideal of the old poets. If names should symbolise thoughts, the dream of such a land, as realised in this our country, should, one would think, from the fitness of things find exprestion in the revival of the old name.

Does it follow, however, that Hesperia, or, in fact, any name, will succeed in supplanting the old historic New Zealand ? Who shall say ? It may be that, after all ie said, "The gods themselves cannot recall their gifts."

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NZH18850207.2.50

Bibliographic details

RE-NAMING NEW ZEALAND., New Zealand Herald, Volume XXII, Issue 7246, 7 February 1885, Supplement

Word Count
2,055

RE-NAMING NEW ZEALAND. New Zealand Herald, Volume XXII, Issue 7246, 7 February 1885, Supplement

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