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Taumata is located in New Zealand
Location of Taumata

Taumatawhakatangi­hangakoauauotamatea­turipukakapikimaunga­horonukupokaiwhen­uakitanatahu[1] is a hill near Porangahau, south of Waipukurau in southern Hawke's Bay, New Zealand. The height of the hill is 305 metres (1,001 ft). The hill is notable primarily for its unusually long name, which is of Māori origin; it is often shortened to Taumata for brevity.[2] It has gained a measure of fame as it is the longest place name found in any English-speaking country, and possibly the longest place name in the world; according to World Atlas.[3] The name of the hill (with 85 characters) has also been listed in the Guinness World Records as the longest place name. Other versions of the name, including longer ones, are also sometimes used.


External audio
Pronunciation of the (57-character) LINZ version of the name at Kōrero Māori, the Māori Language Commission website

Broken down by syllable, the full place name is pronounced: Toe-mah-tah-fah-kah-tah-ngi-hah-nga-kaw-oh-oh-aw-ta-ma-te-a-too-ri-poo-ka-ka-pee-kee-mow-nga-haw-raw-noo-koo-paw-kai-feh-noo-ah-kee-tah-nah-tah-hoo (40 syllables). In the International Phonetic Alphabet, it is (pronounced as [ˌtɐ͡ʉ.mɐ.tɐ.ɸɐ.kɐ.tɐ.ŋi.hɐ.ŋɐ.koː.ɐ͡ʉ.ɐ͡ʉ.ɔ.tɐ.mɐ.tɛɐ.tʉ.ɾi.pʉ.kɐɐ͡ʉ.ŋɐ.hɔ.ɾɔ.nʉ.kʉ.pɔ.kɐ͡i.ɸɛ.nʉ.ɐ.ki.tɐ.nɐ.tɐ.hʉ]). Note that in the Māori language the digraph "wh" is pronounced as /ɸ/, a kind of "f" made with pursed lips.

Meaning of the name

The name "Taumatawhakatangi­hangakoauauotamatea­turipukakapikimaunga­horonukupokaiwhen­uakitanatahu" translates roughly as "The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the slider, climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his kōauau (flute) to his loved one".

Other versions

Some forms of the name are longer still: "Taumatawhakatangi­hangakoauauotamatea­urehaeaturipukakapikimaunga­horonukupokaiwhen­uakitanatahu" has 92 letters. An even longer version, Taumata-whakatangihanga-koauau-o-Tamatea-haumai-tawhiti-ure-haea-turi-pukaka-piki-maunga-horo-nuku-pokai-whenua-ki-tana-tahu, has 105 letters and means "The hill of the flute playing by Tamatea – who was blown hither from afar, had a slit penis, grazed his knees climbing mountains, fell on the earth, and encircled the land – to his beloved one".[4]

The New Zealand Geographic Placenames Database, maintained by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), uses the somewhat shorter (57-character) name "Taumatawhakatangihangakōauauotamateapōkaiwhenuakitānatahu".[5]

Tamatea, explorer of the land

Sign on the hill showing its 85-character name

Tamatea-pōkai-whenua (Tamatea the explorer of the land) was the father of Kahungunu, ancestor of the Ngāti Kahungunu iwi (tribe).[6] Mention of Tamatea's explorations of the land occur not only in Ngāti Kahungunu legends, but also in the traditions of iwi from Northland, where he is said to have explored the Hokianga and Kaipara harbours.

In traditions from the Bay of Plenty region, he left a son, Ranginui, who is the ancestor of Ngāti Ranginui of Tauranga. Legends from the East Coast of the North Island tell of his explorations in Tūranga-nui (Gisborne), Māhia, Wairoa, Ahuriri (Napier), Heretaunga (near Hastings) and Pōrangahau. He travelled via the Mangakopikopiko River, over the Tītī-o-kura saddle via Pohokura to Lake Taupo. The Ōtamatea River and swamp is named after him. Tamatea is also the name of a place in Napier.

Early South Island legends say that Tamatea sailed down the east coast. His canoe was wrecked in the far south, and transformed into Tākitimu mountain range. Tamatea then returned to the North Island, and travelled via the Whanganui River.[7]

An older version of the sign

In popular culture

The name is featured in a Mountain Dew jingle and a SEEK Learning TV ad in Australia.[8] It also appears in the 1976 (re-released in 1979) single "The Lone Ranger" by British band Quantum Jump, which featured in the title sequence of the second series of The Kenny Everett Video Show.[citation needed] It is the subject of a 1960 song by the New Zealand balladeer Peter Cape.[9] Tennis star Martina Navratilova learned to say the word when she was ten years old.[10] In December 2018, The Bustermoon released their first EP Going to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu.[11]

See also


Coordinates: 40°20′46″S 176°32′25″E / 40.346°S 176.5402°E / -40.346; 176.5402

  1. ^ This spelling is based on the sign located on the hill itself, two versions of which are shown in photographs shown in this article.
  2. ^ Reed, A. W. (2010). Peter Dowling (ed.). Place Names of New Zealand. Rosedale, North Shore: Raupo. p. 392. ISBN 9780143204107.
  3. ^ "The world's longest place name". World Atlas. World Atlas. 9 January 2019. Retrieved 9 January 2019. The world's longest place name belongs to a hill near Porangahau in the southern Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand. It is a name given in the Maori language. This hill is 305 meters tall and is famously known for its long name. This name has since been shortened to Taumata for the ease of pronunciation. The meaning of the name has been translated to mean “the place where Tamatea, the man who had big knees, the climber of mountains, the slider, the land-swallower that traveled about, played the nose flute that he had to the loved ones.” With 85 characters, it is the longest place name in the world according to the Guinness World Records.
  4. ^ George C. Denniston; Frederick Mansfield Hodges; Marilyn Fayre Milos (31 October 2001). Understanding Circumcision: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to a Multi-Dimensional Problem. Springer. p. 130. ISBN 978-0-306-46701-1.
  5. ^ "Place name detail: Taumatawhakatangihangakōauauotamateapōkaiwhenuakitānatahu". New Zealand Gazetteer. Land Information New Zealand. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  6. ^ Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal (21 September 2007). "Papatūānuku – the land". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Archived from the original on 3 April 2009. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  7. ^ Taonui, Rāwiri (21 September 2007). "Ngā waewae tapu – Māori exploration". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Archived from the original on 15 June 2009. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  8. ^ "Long Name, Bro – Learnings from SEEK Learning". Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  9. ^ New Zealand Folk Song: Peter Cape According to this source, Cape calls it "Taumata".
  10. ^ Louisa Wall (29 March 2011). "A real show from the titans of tennis". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 28 March 2011. And on a rainy day in Czechoslovakia, a bored 10-year-old Navratilova learned one of the longest place names in the world. Little did she know that one day she would be in New Zealand, saying Taumatawhakatangi­hangakoauauotamatea­pokaiwhen­uakitanatahu to compliment her thanks to the people of Tamaki Makaurau for their hospitality.
  11. ^ Going to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, retrieved 22 December 2018