Our most mis­pro­nounced place names

Sunday Star-Times - - FOCUS -

Whether it’s ‘‘Taw-po’’ or ‘‘Kye-cora’’, so many of us man­gle New Zealand’s Ma¯ori place names.

Why should we make the ef­fort to get it cor­rect? Te Whainoa Te Wi­ata, a Ma¯ori-lan­guage teacher at the Uni­ver­sity of Auck­land, puts it best.

‘‘Peo­ple don’t re­alise how im­por­tant pro­nun­ci­a­tion is to mean­ing,’’ he says. ‘‘Ev­ery place name has a story, ev­ery place name.

‘‘If you’re not us­ing that com­mu­ni­ca­tion cor­rectly, then what’s the point of open­ing your mouth?’’

Here’s just a hand­ful of the most fre­quently mis­pro­nounced places – and how they should be said (em­pha­sis in bold): TAUPO – TOE-PAW RO­TORUA – Roh-toh-roo-ah WHANGAREI – Far-ngar-ray WHANGANUI – Far-ngar-noo-ee TIMARU – Tee-mah-ru TAU­RANGA - Toe-rung-a REMUERA – Reh-moo-air-uh MATAMATA – Mut­ter-mut­ter OAMARU – Aw-ah-mah-roo

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