|What does a parrot have to do with Whangarei’s name?|
Read on for the wonderful and whacky world or Maori nomenclature.
“Where you going to in New Zealand?” queried Greg, a Kiwi ex-pat running Neiafu Tonga’s Tropicana Café.
After all that, names likeKawakawa and Urupukapuka get a little jumbled in my brain. Small alphabet names to result in the lingual equivalent of using a base 2 numbering system instead of a base 10 — with so fewer digits to work with it all seems more like code – 1s and zeros – instead of numbers and words.
- “motu” = island
- “whanga” = bay or harbor (though in the case of Whangarei, “whanga” = waiting and “rei” is short for Reipae — but who or what is Reipae?!? Click here for the New Zealand Maori legend and folk song)
- “ara” = path (of a canoe)
- “arohia” = reconnoitred
- “kawa” = bitter
- “kiekie” = a native plant
- “mumu” = baffling boisterous wind – or – valiant warrior
- “nui” = big
- “roa” = long
- “ruru” = morepork
|Tiki Maori/Polynesian symbol, image pilfered from Tuarangi.com.|
I contend its confused expression relates to trying to
get a grip on Maori-isms!
Wow! Now these names begin to provide a literal sense of place, though some inspire me to find out more, for example, why Kawakawa (bitter-bitter)?
- counts as a consonant and is pronounced like the ‘ng’ in ‘singer’.
- It is pronounced like the ‘ng’ in ‘finger’,
- i.e., Whāngārei is pronounced Far-n(g)ah-ray (not Fong-gah-ray); ….
You like tomato and I like tomahto
Potato, potahto, Tomato, tomahto.
Let’s call the whole thing off!
And if you’ve made it this far, and are a curious clicker of links, you might now smile when in coming across the name Whangarei, you’ll recall it’s named for the Maori legend of a directionally impaired parrot’s unintentional role as Cupid, whilst another prince settles sadly for only one of two sisters.
Cruising by the Numbers
In 2015 we sailed over 10,000 miles from Jacksonville Florida to Opua, New Zealand (and a whole lot of places in between). Since arriving in New Zealand November 21, 2015, we’ve scarcely put on more than 150 miles, and expect that will mostly be the case until we leave New Zealand once cyclone season ends.