Why Featherston isn't really called Featherston

Why Featherston isn't really called Featherston
Photo credit: Facebook/ Featherston.Wairarapa

Residents of a small New Zealand town have been surprised to learn that its name has never been made official.

The town of Featherston, the southern gateway to the Wairarapa, got its name in 1857 - but the name was never formally recognised.

South Wairarapa Mayor Viv Napier told Newshub she has "no idea" why and it caught her off guard when it was revealed to her.

"People were quite surprised that it wasn't actually an official name, and how that happened in the dim dark ages I don't know."

Before it was named Featherston the town was called Burlings after Henry Burlings, who opened an accommodation house in the town in 1847.

In 1856 the provincial government named the town after its superintendent Isaac Featherston.

The Featherston Ratepayers and Residents Association recently discovered that the name Featherston was never officially recognised, and the group have put forward an application to the New Zealand Geographic Board to formalise it.

"They want to make sure that Featherston is actually Featherston," Ms Napier said.

There will now be a three month submission process where people can support or oppose the proposal, and the Mayor is "very confident" that the name will be made official.

"I'm sure there will be lots of support from Featherston because they're very proud of their town and proud of their name."

The the New Zealand Geographic Board makes its final decision in March or April next year.

"Who knows if there's a lot of other towns around the country in the same plight," Ms Napier said.