Pronunciation of local (North Canterbury) Māori place names & their meaning

Below is a list of some local place names. In addition a list of internet resources and reference books are provided to assist you in knowing more about the Māori language and its pronunciation. The reference books cited give Māori names and their meaning to many land and water features in the Waimakariri District.

Local place names

Rangiora – Ra/ngi/o/ra: It recalls the agreement between Te Hautapu-nui-o-tu (Ngāi Tahu) and Rakiihia (Ngāti Mamoe). ‘Collins Book of Māori place names’ refers to Rangiora meaning “calm after a storm” or a “place of peace after a time of trouble.”

Kaiapoi – Kai/a/poi: Swung food – ref Herries Beattie.

Waikuku – Wai/ku/ku: Possibly a reference to freshwater mussels previously found in the area
– Kuku = mussels.

Ohoka – O/ho/ka: Place of Hoka, a stake to which a decoy parrot was tied.
– Reed “The Concise Māori Handbook.”

Kairaki – Kai/ra/ki: “To lop off” - ref Herries Beattie.

Tuahiwi – Tua/hi/wi: “On the other side of the ridge”
– Reed “The Concise Māori Handbook.”

Okuku – O/ku/ku: Place of the shining cuckoo
– Reed “The Concise Māori Handbook.”

Rakahuri – Ra/ka/hu/ri: Ashley River “the sky turned round.”

For more information on place names and their meaning please refer to the following references:

  1. “Māori Place Names of Canterbury” – Herries Beattie.
  2. “Lore and History of the South Island Māori” –
        North Canterbury (refer on-line New Zealand
        Electronic Text. Victoria University).
    Note: Most local Council libraries will have copies of
    these books.
  3. “Ngāi Tūāhuriri Tuahiwi and Takiwā” – Education
        resource booklet. Please contact Tuahiwi marae if
        you require a copy.

Reference sources to Māori pronunciation and language learning: www.nzhistory.net.nz/culture/māori-language-week

  1. Introduction
  2. History of the Māori Language
  3. 100 Māori words every New Zealander should know
  4. A Māori word a day
  5. 1000 Māori place names
  6. Waitangi Tribunal
  7. Further information

www.koreromāori.co.nz - Māori Language Commission website - provides information on the pronunciation of the Māori Language.

www.māorilanguage.net - Provides study for learning the basics of the Māori Language.

www.tewhanake.māori.nz - Contains interactive cartoons for language development.

Toku Reo - A Māori Language programme featured week days on Māori Television or the complete series to date can be accessed on Māori TV On Demand.

www.Māoridictionary.com - Te Aka Māori-English, English-Māori Dictionary.

Note: The above reference is one of several on-line dictionaries, most of which originate from Te Ika o Maui (North Island).