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THE LONGEST PLACE NAME IN THE WORLD

LONGEST-PLACE-NAME-WORLD


TAUMATAWHAKATANGIHANGAKOAUAUOTAMATEAPOKAIWHENUAKITANATAHU is the Māori name for a hill, 305 metres (1,001 ft) high, close to Porangahau, south of Waipukurau in southern Hawke's Bay, New Zealand.
The name is often shortened to Taumata by the locals for ease of conversation. The New Zealand Geographic Placenames Database, maintained by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), records the name as "Taumata­whakatangihanga­koauau­o­tamatea­pokai­whenua­ki­tana­tahu".

The name on the sign that marks the hill is "Taumata­whakatangihanga­koauau­o­tamatea­turi­pukakapiki­maunga­horo­nuku­pokai­whenua­kitanatahu", which translates roughly as "The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his nose flute to his loved one". At 85 letters, it has been listed in the Guinness World Records as one of the longest place names in the world.

Other 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."

Tamatea-pōkai-whenua (Tamatea the explorer of the land) was the father of Kahungunu, ancestor of the Ngāti Kahungunu iwi. 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.

At that time, while passing through Porangahau, Tamatea encountered the Ngati Hine people and had to fight them to get past. In an ensuing battle known as "Matanui," Tamatea's brother was killed. The famous warrior-explorer was so grieved at his loss that he stayed for some time at that place and each morning he would sit on the knoll to play a lament on his nose flute, known as "Koauau."

Hence the name indicating the hill on which Tamatea, the chieftain of great physical stature and renown, played a lament on his nose flute in the memory of his fallen brother.


 
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