10 Funny Place Names in New Zealand© Hawkes Bay Tourism
10 Funny Place Names in New Zealand

10 Funny Place Names in New Zealand

© Hawkes Bay Tourism
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
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Funniest Place Names in New Zealand

Maoris and Europeans alike have clearly had a whale of a time naming some of the towns, rivers and ski fields in New Zealand. While some place names are just hilariously long, others can be interpreted as pretty funny from an English-speaking perspective. Likewise, the meaning of some of the Maori names is interesting, to say the least. Don’t you wish you came from a place called “Burnt Penis”? Anyway, here are some of the funny place names in New Zealand!

For more pleasingly random stuff about NZ, visit: New Zealand in Numbers and 10 Things You Did Not Know About New Zealand.

A note before we begin: This article is meant to be taken in jest, it is not intended to insult any cultures or places, it is simply meant in the spirit of having a bit of fun with the little things. Please, do not take it too seriously, it’s just a little fun.

1. Whakapapa

Whakapapa is a village and ski field on the slopes of Mt Ruapehu. As ‘Wh’ is pronounced ‘f’ in Maori, when this word is pronounced to an English-speaker, the ski field seems to be implying sexual acts with one’s parent. Rest assured, in the Maori language, te reo Maori, Whakapapa means genealogy.

Tourism NZ© Penny Egleton - Tourism NZ

2. Whakahoro

On the subject of whaking, this is slightly more acceptable, as it goes with the job description. Whakahoro is on the edge of the stunning Whanganui National Park.

James Shook on Wikipedia© James Shook on Wikipedia

3. Taumatawhakatangihangakoa uauotamateaturipukakapikimanga horonukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu

At 85 letters long, this is the longest place name in the world! See the sign for yourself at Porangahau in Hawke’s Bay. What about using it as your new email password?

russellstreet© russellstreet

3. Hump Ridge Track

More sexual connotations… This time in plain old English.

© Tareen Ellis - Tourism NZ

4. Hooker Valley

No, this is not a valley of hookers. It is, however, an awesome walk to do in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park.

10 Funny Place Names in New Zealand© Fraser Gunn - Tourism NZ

5. Waipu

Why poo? We don’t know, but Waipu is actually a beautiful beach settlement in Northland not too far to some of the best free glowworm caves in New Zealand.

Bernard Spragg on Flickr© Bernard Spragg on Flickr

6. Tutaekuri River

This Maori word translated into English means ‘dog s**t’.

Pixabay© Pixabay

7. Mount Tarawera

While some translate “Tarawera” to “Burnt Spear”, others translate to “Burning Vagina” according to our tour guides…

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

8. Te Urewera

Te Urewera translates to ‘single genitals’ or ‘burnt penis’ after a Maori tale of a chief who rolled too close to a fire while he was sleeping.

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

9. Shag Point

You know where to go… It just makes for a silly picture opportunity.

https://photos.travelblog.org/Photos/20501/84430/f/529256-Shag-Point-0.jpg© travelblog.org

10. Cape Foulwind

We like to believe someone let rip as they were naming it. Locals like to believe it’s because this cape receives the winds from Australia. The real story is, the English explorer, Captain Cook, named the cape after experiencing strong winds off its shores.

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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