Travel in Australia and New Zealand
Early colonists to New Zealand often experienced difficulty in mastering the local Maori place names. As a result of this, many names have passed into current usage in corrupt forms, such as Amuri (Haumuri), Petone (Pito-one), Mangahao (Mangahou), and 'The Nunneries' (Te Nganaire).
Trying to not get tongue-tied around Onehunga - an Auckland suburb, Mt Ngaruahoe - North Island Mountain or Whakatane - a gorgeous town in the Bay of Plenty, can be tough, but with such a strong Maori cultural history it is worth taking the time to learn the correct pronunciation, or you may get a giggle or two from a local Kiwi.
Onehunga, often thought to be one (as in the number) hunga, should be said 'o nee hunga'. Anything with a "Wh" at the start is an "f" sound, so Whakatane say 'faka tar nay'.
A real favorite local name is Aotearoa (Land of the Long White Cloud) and translates to New Zealand. Another word and place close to Kiwi hearts is Aoraki, New Zealand's great alpine park also known as Mt Cook.
Aoraki National Park, home to the highest mountains and the largest glaciers in the country, is a 70,696 hectare (174,693 acre) park located deep in the heart of the Southern Alps. The mountains are seen as ancestors by the Tangata Whenua - the Ngai Tahu people - and are sacred above all.
As a tradition Maori do not believe that it is appropriate to climb onto what is effectively the head of such an ancestor. For most of us it is enough to be dwarfed by the immensity of the landscape in the area.
In keeping with a tradition of hard to pronounce names, New Zealand lays claim to the longest place name in the world, but Thailand and Wales also claim this record, so the debate is open.
Taumatea, as it is locally known, is located in the small community of Porangahau, in the southeast of the North Island. For the long version try Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu which translates to mean...'The brow of a hill where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as land eater, played his flute to his lover'. Legend has it that Tamatea Pokaiwhenua (Land Eater) was a chief so famous for his long travels across the North Island that he ate up the land as he walked.
Intrepid's 'South Island Explorer' travels through the foothills of the Southern Alps and spectacular Aoraki National Park. This trip embraces the adventurous spirit of the South Island as you walk on glacier, experience the wild west coast and take a breathtaking rail journey over the Southern Alps mountain range.
Intrepid Travel is one of the worldâ€™s leading small group adventure tour operators, with 19 years experience. Adventures are focused on having real life experiences. Intrepid offers over 450 itineraries to more than 90 countries worldwide in a variety of travel styles. Intrepid is also known for its enivronmental program and its responsible travel efforts to preserve local cultures. For more information see: www.intrepidtravel.com/destinations/new+zealand/articledashboard