How New Zealand’s Famous Places Get Their Maori Names

What’s in a name? Rotorua smells of sulfur under another name, and yet the story behind it tells us something about the people who lived there and consequently about the history of our nation.

In the tradition of the Ti-Arwa people, whose traditional lands revolve around the Rotorua lakes, the city was named by an early explorer named Henga, the grandson of the first Waka captain who traveled from Hawaii to Autorva.

On their way inland from Makito in the Gulf of Plenty, Hanga and his uncle Kahutamamo came across Lake Rototi, which they discovered before they discovered Lake Rotroa, called T Rototi-Patang-e-Hanga (the small lake that Hanga discovered). What’s the name? Kahumatamomo (Large lake of Kahumatamomo)

The fearless duo named many other landmarks in the area, choosing names that reflect their epic adventures and beliefs. Take the time to discover them – and the thousands of other stories behind the names of Aotearoa’s Maori place – and you’ll gain a deeper understanding of this land and the people who call it home.

Covering the exploits of early explorers, natural disasters and many personal dramas, they are bright yarns as well as fun. There is even a story of transcendental stars that can be called Maori. Romeo and Juliet.. Netflix can wait.

The Oraki / Mount Cook is said to be a physical manifestation of the highly respected ancestors of the Ngi Tahoe tribe.

Brooke Sabine / stuff.

The Oraki / Mount Cook is said to be a physical manifestation of the highly respected ancestors of the Ngi Tahoe tribe.

Oraki / Mount Cook.

The story of how Orki / Mount Cook got its name is the story of the creation of the South Valley – Ti Y Ponamo.

One of Rocky’s sons, Skyfather, is the most respected ancestor of Oraki (Clouds in the Sky) Ngāi Tahu. Its physical manifestation is in the form of New Zealand’s highest mountain, which provides a link between the heavens and the earth, the present and the past.

Read more:
* New Zealand’s five holiest Maori sites
* Stewart Island / Rakiura: The Wonders of the Third Island.
* The ‘revival’ of Maori culture begins at home – in everyone’s home.

In the Ngāi Tahu tradition, Oraki and his brother جو known as Sky Children آسمان go to heaven to meet their new stepmother, Papa-Toi-Noko, the earth mother, shortly after marrying their father. Traveled below

Orki and his brothers roamed around Hawaii, getting to know their stepmother, before deciding to go further. But no matter how far they pedal, they see no sign of the earth. Disappointed, he decided to return home, but the Qaraqiya (incantation) that should have lifted his Vaka back to heaven did not work (or Oraki misunderstood the words) and it fell back into the sea. Leaping towards it, Waka immediately turned to land and rock, which became the South Island (it was a huge boat). Hence, Te Wāi Pounamu’s former name: Te Waka O Aoraki (The Waka of Aoraki).

Standing on the overturned vessel, Oraki and his brothers also turned toward the rock, Oraki / Mount Kok and three neighboring peaks: Rakeiro (Mount Dampier), Rakirova (Mount Tachelman), and Rarkirova (Mount Tasman).

The mountains are strong deities and warriors in many Maori oral traditions, and while exploring the 700-square-kilometer Orkney / Mount Cook National Park, it’s not hard to see why. Frequent snow and ice-covered mountains inevitably evoke fear, reminding us of how small and weak we humans are. Peace may be found in the thought that we are connected to the landscape. In a big puzzle, small but not small pieces.

Cape Renga is New Zealand's holiest site.

Jackie Stokes / Things

Cape Renga is New Zealand’s holiest site.

Cape Renga | T. Reringa Verva.

The great Polynesian navigator Kope is said to have named T. Renga Verwa (a place for jumping spirits) before returning to his native Hawaii after decades of exploration around Outerwa.

The souls of those who choose to make their home in New Zealand are said to have found a way to return to Huaki so that the root of the Phutokawa tree on the mainland would slip into the tunnels (underworld). ۔ They swim across the water to Three Kings Island, where they say goodbye to their terrestrial Wanao before continuing their journey to their final resting place.

As the place where human souls leave this world for the next, Cape Renga is the holiest place of Aotearoa. But you don’t have to be religious or spiritual to understand that there is something special about it. Seeing two oceans colliding, it’s hard to feel like you’ve reached some kind of final border. When the fog is moving, like when I first went, it’s easy to imagine the spirits passing by, blurring the boundaries between Rangi (earth) and Papa (sky). There was a cool breeze when I arrived, but I felt one or two shivering under my spine.


High priest Ngātoroirangi is said to have climbed Mount Tongariro in terrible weather to claim for his followers.

Lorna Thornber / Things

High priest Ngātoroirangi is said to have climbed Mount Tongariro in terrible weather to claim for his followers.

The home of the volcanic peak, often referred to as New Zealand’s Best Day, is named after Jamaa South who almost wrote the death of a high priest who reached to climb and claim it. His claim could have defeated him before.

Ngāti Tūwharetoa Tradition has it that the pastor, Ngātoroirangi, arrived in the Gulf of Plenty from Hawaii and vowed to occupy lands in the interior of the northern island for his followers.

Building an altar on the top of Mount Tohara, northeast of Lake Taupa, to persuade the gods to provide a safe passage, he spied on rival explorer Tia by the lake. Before he could lay his spear into the lake and claim it, he decided to follow it, erecting altars along the way and marking the land he had claimed.

Arriving at the base of Mount Tongariro, to find out if a claim had already been made on a mountain, he used magic to summon a blizzard that killed its leader and his followers. Done. Error in his plan: Now he had to fight the storm to reach the top.

Anyone who has climbed firmly south of Tongariro will be able to appreciate how much pain he must have felt when he forced himself forward and upwards. It really was a death knell: If he didn’t have sisters with magical powers, he probably wouldn’t have returned it.

Finally reaching the top and introducing Mount Tapu to Taya, he asked his sisters in Hawaii to send him some warmth. They went up a bit, warming the ground in the area to create boiling mud ponds, geysers and molten rock, which was torn from the red crater. However, their emotions worked. Tongariro and its environs are the ancestral home of Ngoti Toharitova.


Rangitoto is named after an ancient captain's bloody nose.


Rangitoto is named after an ancient captain’s bloody nose.

The full name of the famous Auckland Island – Te Rangi-i-tōtōngia-ai-te-ihu-o-Tamatekapua – translates to “the day Tamatekapua had a bloody nose”.

So who was this Tamatikapua boy? And why was his bloody nose so important that Tamaki Makurao’s largest and smallest volcanic cone was named after him?

Tamatikapova was the captain of T. Irva Kino who arrived in New Zealand from Hawaii around 1350, so this is a big deal for the country’s early Maori explorers. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. Basically, it infuriated the Tenoi tribe living in Islington Bay, Rangitoto, a fierce battle ensued, and he was left with a bloody nose. It doesn’t cost much to name one of Auckland’s most famous landmarks.


Kaikōura means 'eating crayfish'.

Let’s go to Ranford / LDR.

Kaikōura means ‘eating crayfish’.

It is best known for its whales these days, but the legendary explorer Tamatia Pokai-Jabwa appears to have visited Kaikoura, about a crocodile fish.

Kaikoura literally means “crawfish food” that Tamatia did while visiting the peninsula. When he cooked it over an open fire پورا the city’s full name, thi ahi kai kora-a-tametia-pukai-jabwa, means “the fire that Tamatia-pukai-jabwa made to cook crayfish.”

Catching and eating crows is still a popular activity among locals and visitors. For good reason Kaikōura crayfish ranks higher than Neapolitan pizza and Hong Kong. Lonely planet The 2018 at-list ranks seventh on the list of 500 global food experiments.

You can catch yourself on a fishing trip, or take the easy option and buy from the old-fashioned family food truck Nintendo Bin. On the beach, the crayfish cooked in garlic and butter is the best Kaikoura experience you can get. Alternatively, grab a crayfish meal – or a white bait pakoda or a pooja patty – from the Kekura seafood barbecue on the way to Point Kian Cell Colony, or on the Pier, which has been the killer camouflage since 1885. Highly recommended.

Wakatipo is a short and bad version of Wakatipo y Maori.


Wakatipo is a short and bad version of Wakatipo y Maori.

Lake Wakatipo.

There are several versions of how New Zealand’s longest lake got its name, a short and bad version of “Vakatipo y Maori”.

Former Ngāi Tahu Chairman. Sir Tipene O’Regan said. Equipment In 2017 Noting that the lake’s name had been misspelled and mispronounced for decades, noting that the correct short version should be Vakatipo.

Kamatua Darren Revi, based in Wakatipo, said. Many people have mistakenly assumed that the name is derived from “Waka” (canoe) and Tipuwa (giant), according to a legend that tells the story of the burning of a sleeping giant.

Legend has it that the giant, Mitao, kidnapped the beautiful daughter of a local chief and tied her up in his mountain cave. The daughter, Manata, fell in love with a man named Matakori, whom her father had forbidden to marry because of her low social status. So when the troubled chief said that the man who saved his daughter could have a hand in her marriage, Matakori took advantage of the opportunity.

Reaching the giant’s den while he was asleep, Matakori tried to break his beloved’s bond, but he proved too strong. The frightened giant will wake up and kill her, Manati pleads with Matakori to let the tears of her love magically melt her bond and surprise them both.

The couple ran away and got married, but from there it didn’t happen happily. The troubled giant would return, Matakori returned to his lair and set fire to his bed. The fire grew so large that it burned a hole more than 400 meters deep in the ground, and in the winter the melting of the ice filled it with water and turned it into a mountainous lake that we know today. Glenorchi is located at what is said to be the head of the fallen giant, while Tahuna / Queen Town is on its knees and Kingston is at its feet.

According to legend, the sach (vertical wave) that causes Lake Wakatpo to rise and fall at a distance of 10 cm every 25 minutes. He’s not dead, he says – just inactive.

While this is a provocative story, Ravi said that Vakatipo is actually derived from the words whaka (a prefix to do) and tipu (to grow). Thus, the name reflects the Maori nomads in the area. It may be, but I’m in favor of keeping the Star Cross lover legend alive. With its universal themes of love, class, heroics and romance, it will resonate for ages. Ancient Maori, it seems, did not need Netflix.

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