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Why Do New Zealand Towns Have Such Strange Names?

New Zealand

I have relatives that emigrated to New Zealand a few years ago. They love it there and have settled well. My mother who is no longer with us, made the 12,000 mile trek from the UK when she was 80!

My relatives, particularly in their early days there often changed address. We would receive a note in the mail informing us of their new address. Honestly, some of the names were like, Borabunga or Ruamongaba. Ok, I made those up, but never the less, there are some strange names.

The Second Longest Name In The World!

Here’s a name of a town and I kid you not, it’s a genuine place in New Zealand:
“Taumata whakatangi hangakoauau o tamatea turi pukakapiki maunga horo nuku pokai whenua kitanatahu”. It’s the town with the longest name in New Zealand and the second longest in the world! What the heck is the longest? I bet when anyone receives mail there, the envelope has more writing on it than the letter it contains. I wonder if they have a football team? Can you imagine dragging the scarf about with the clubs name on it? It would take 3 of you!

I know it’s all based on the Maori language, but why so long? So many questions. The country is made up of two islands, called, North and South. Well they kept that easy enough. When I first received an address of where my relatives had moved to it read as Why Poo!. Yes, Waipu! No matter how you say it, it still sounds like a rude question.

Ooh Waka Do Waka Day

When you think of the amazing number of places that begin with ‘Whaka’…. Whakatane, Whakarewarewa, Whakamoa yet the Kiwi way of pronouncing Wha is Fha you end up with some pretty bad sounding language. I hope I haven’t offended anyone, it’s just that some of these town names are huge. Longer than the ones in Wales.

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8 Responses
  • Plantsandbeyond
    October 30, 2017

    So interesting. Thanks you for posting. Wonder how a foreigner can pronounce such lenghty words…

    • Trev Jones
      October 30, 2017

      It makes the mind boggle, thank you for commenting. 🙂

  • Leland Olson Hoel
    October 31, 2017

    I must say you made my day for me I got a couple of hardy Chuckles out of that.

    • Trev Jones
      October 31, 2017

      Thank you, Leland. Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

  • christineplouvier
    November 1, 2017

    The names of towns and cities often make one wonder. What is the crime rate in Niceville, Florida? What is it about Hoosiers that makes them decide to name their Indiana domiciles after places in Central and South America (Mexico and Peru)? Why is Des Moines, Iowa pronounced (correctly, as any Francophone will tell you) with silent ‘s’, but Des Plaines, Illinois, is pronounced with audible ‘s’, even though ‘Illinois’ is pronounced with a silent ‘s’? I could go on, but then it could begin to get crowded in my padded cell.

    • Trev Jones
      November 1, 2017

      You raise some excellent points, Christine. Thank you for taking the time to raise them. 🙂

  • rugby843
    November 3, 2017

    Firs, thanks for reading my blog. Second….cowabunga that’s a long name!😂

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