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Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori: Place names

Tuesday 28th July 2015

A large number of places in New Zealand are, contrary to popular belief, Māori words. Here are a few commonly mispronounced place names you should master.

Remuera - re-moo-ear-a

Timaru - tee-mah-roo

Taupo - toe-paw

Tauranga - toe-rung-a

Akaroa - ah-car-oh-a

Motueka - more-two-aye-car

Matamata - mutter-mutter

Manukau - mar-nook-oh

Kaikoura - kai-co-rah

Oamaru - oh-ar-ma-roo



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“I just loathe the way Oamaru is pronounced by radio announcers - it is not in the least how a Maori speaker would pronounce it. It's an ugly way to say it. In Maori double vowels are generally run together and it would be more like Awww- ma-roo. Just as Kaikoura is not said in five syllables not should Oamaru be four. And really the first 'o' should be more of an 'aw' than an 'oh'. (Though I and most locals pronounce my home town as Oh - wack- a rather than the Aw - waak- a it should be.) ” — Caro D


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Caro Dabout 2 years ago

I just loathe the way Oamaru is pronounced by radio announcers - it is not in the least how a Maori speaker would pronounce it. It's an ugly way to say it. In Maori double vowels are generally run together and it would be more like Awww- ma-roo. Just as Kaikoura is not said in five syllables not should Oamaru be four. And really the first 'o' should be more of an 'aw' than an 'oh'. (Though I and most locals pronounce my home town as Oh - wack- a rather than the Aw - waak- a it should be.)