T+T’s Map Kiwi puts Te Reo on the map

T+T’s Map Kiwi puts Te Reo on the map

Andrew Douglas-Clifford – known far and wide as the Map Kiwi - has produced an Aotearoa New Zealand first, an intricately detailed Te Reo Māori wall map and interactive Google-maps style map – a labour of love involving months of work.  His efforts have attracted plenty of interest, especially from advocates of Te Reo, who are keen to see the language flourish.

Before Tonkin + Taylor snapped him up for our Data and Digital team, Andrew had already built himself quite a reputation, producing a London Underground-style map of our highways and “Nobody Lives Here”, a map detailing our vast uninhabited land areas.

He created his London Underground-style map of Aotearoa New Zealand's state highways after spending five weeks in Europe. The eye-catching topological maps are not to geographic scale, as they illustrate connections rather than distances. A huge hit, they can now be found adorning walls all over New Zealand and internationally.

Andrew set his sights on producing the Te Reo Māori map after someone mentioned that there wasn’t a detailed one out there. While Andrew can’t claim a proud Māori heritage, he learned a lot about Te Reo while detailing the highways and byways of Aotearoa.

“It is descriptive and once I’d learned some of it, I found that the names are not only names – they’re informative. For example, names with Maunga are going to be related to a mountain, Kaikōura was quite the food basket, and so on.”

As part of his sourcing, corroborating and checking process, Andrew found several place names that appeared to have been anglicised at some stage. The most notable example is Tekapo - he used the incredible resource that is Ngāi Tahu's Atlas, http://www.kahurumanu.co.nz/atlas to help map the South Island and was fascinated to find Tekapo is not a Māori name and it's Te Reo name is Takapō.

Andrew produced his original wall map for a cartography challenge in 2017 and then earlier this year (about the time he started at T+T) he decided to “do it properly”. The process took a lot longer than he expected because there is such a huge number of Māori place names.

There may be even more, so Andrew is keen to hear from anyone who knows of any he may have missed. You can check out his interactive Te Reo Māori map and contact Andrew at: https://www.andrewdc.co.nz/2018/03/13/te-reo-maori-map-of-aotearoa-new-zealand/ 

Andrew was interviewed about his Te Reo map by Wallace Chapman on RNZ National's Sunday Morning Programme during Māori Language Week - you can hear the full interview at this link, https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/sunday/audio/2018662736/andrew-douglas-clifford-maps-te-reo-place-names

Andrew joined T+T in April 2018 as a geospatial analyst and is currently seconded to EQC part-time, helping the Commission to build its geospatial capability.