Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahor- onukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu is the longest place name in the world. Named by the local Maori tribe, Ngati Kere, in honor of its ancestor Tamatea Pokai Whenua, Tamatea was a famous chief and warrior. While not for the tongue tied, Tamatea’s long name reflects the major milestones in this life. “Turipukaka-pikimaunga-tahu” was added to commemorate his many successful raids and wanderings, and to pay homage to his ample, muscular frame. To honor a particularly sad episode in his life – when his brother was killed in battle with a rival tribe – Tamatea is said to have mourned his loss by playing the koauau, or Maori flute. Hence the multi-syllabic name “Taumata-whaka-tangihanga-koauau-o-Tamatea-turi-pukaka-pikimaunga-pokai-whenua-kitana-tahu” literally translates as: “The hilltop, where Tamatea with big knees, conqueror of mountains, eater of land, traveler over land and sea, played his koauau to his beloved”.

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Old New Zealand and Other Writings (The Literature of Travel, Exploration and Empire)