From next year, the North and South Islands could be renamed in Maori. A discovery by officials that the existing names had never been adopted in law has increased pressure from Maori nationalists for the names to be dropped. However, some opposed to the idea criticised the suggestion as “political correctness of the worst kind”. The New Zealand Geographic Board, the statutory body charged with gazetting placenames, said it stumbled on the anomaly after a member of the public proposed changing the name of South Island to Te Wai Pounamu, the Maori alternative. New Zealand Geographic chairman Don Grant said the board would consult Maori tribes in the next few weeks, then put up suggestions to the wider public in 21. The names North and South Islands are thought to have been first used by European whalers and other seafarers, who placed geographical simplicity above aesthetic or historical considerations.