Tuesday, December 28, 2010
And we thought the Welsh were bad when it comes to place names. Turns out the Maoris had a similar tendency, though not the same disdain for vowels.
Not a particularly good picture of the map on top of Te Mata but, to be frank, there was a different weather system at the end of the name than at the beginning.
The Maori name for Mt. Taumata would put Welsh railway station names to shame.
Anyway, Mt. Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu is the Māori name for a hill in Southern Hawke's Bay, New Zealand.
It is the longest place name in any English-speaking country in the world.
It is also a grandiosely pompous name for a mountain that's barely a thousand feet tall. The topographic equivalent of naming your baby Lawyer or Countess - or, worse, Contessa - pretension of the European sort.
If you want to know how it's pronounced, it's in the intro to this Quantum Leap song. They do a remarkable job, I think. But I also strongly recommend that you don't listen to the rest of the song. It's really, really 1970s pop. And, even before hindsight, there was never anything good about that.
The hill is referred to these days by the more drunk-friendly name Taumata. Tourists and other visitors are very grateful for that. By the time you'd be done asking for directions, you'd already be late for your appointment.
The mountain - more of a bump, really, by New Zealand standards, is named for Tamatea-pōkai-whenua (Tamatea the explorer of the land). He is said to have explored widely around Aotearoa. Should've had a bigger eponymous mountain, if you ask me. Just so that we couldn't afford to ignore this wonderful name.
Here it is again, just because:
A fairly random, but nice picture of Ewan; you can probably see Mt. Whatever from here. We were in the region.