Taumata­whakatangihanga­koauau­o­tamatea­turi­pukaka­piki­maunga­horo­nuku­pokai­whenua­ki­tana­tahu[1] is a hill near Pōrangahau, south of Waipukurau, in southern Hawke's Bay, New Zealand. The summit of the hill is 305 metres (1,001 ft) above sea level. The hill is notable primarily for its unusually long name, which is of Māori origin; it is often shortened to Taumata for brevity.[2] It has gained a measure of fame as it is the longest place name found in any English-speaking country, and possibly the longest place name in the world, according to World Atlas.[3] The name of the hill (with 85 characters) has been listed in the Guinness World Records as the longest place name. Other versions of the name, including longer ones, are also sometimes used.

Sign on Wimbledon Road displaying the 85-character name. The summit of the hill is at centre in the far distance.
Highest point
Elevation305 m (1,001 ft)
English translationThe summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the slider, climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his kōauau (flute) to his loved one.
Language of nameMāori
LocationNear Pōrangahau, Hawke's Bay
CountryNew Zealand


The name Taumata­whakatangihanga­koauau­o­tamatea­turi­pukaka­piki­maunga­horo­nuku­pokai­whenua­ki­tana­tahu translates roughly as "The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the slider, climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his kōauau (flute) to his loved one".[4]

When parsed into individual words, the name reads: Taumata whakatangihanga koauau o Tamatea turi pukaka piki maunga horo nuku pokai whenua ki tana tahu.

In the International Phonetic Alphabet, the name may be transcribed as [tɐʉmɐtɐ.​ɸɐkɐtɐŋihɐŋɐ.​koːɐʉɐʉ.​ɔ.​tɐmɐtɛɐ.​tʉɾi.​pʉkɐkɐ.​piki.​mɐʉŋɐ.​hɔɾɔ.​nʉkʉ.​pɔkɐi.​ɸɛnʉɐ.​ki.​tɐnɐ.​tɐhʉ]. In the Māori language, the digraph "wh" is pronounced as /ɸ/, a voiceless bilabial fricative, akin to an /f/ sound made with pursed lips.

Other versions

An older sign for the hill

Some 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 one".[5]

Maps from 1929 published by the Department of Lands and Survey use a 28-character name "Taumata­whakatangihanga­koauau".[6][7] In 1941, the Honorary Geographic Board of New Zealand renamed the hill to a 57-character name "Taumata­whakatangihanga­koauau­o­tamatea­pokai­whenua­ki­tana­tahu", which has been an official name since 1948, and first appeared in a 1955 map.[8] The New Zealand Geographic Placenames Database, maintained by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), shows the official name with macrons "Taumata­whakatangihanga­kōauau­o­tamatea­pōkai­whenua­ki­tāna­tahu".[9]

Tamatea, explorer of the land

Location of Taumata

Tamatea-pōkai-whenua (Tamatea the explorer of the land) was the father of Kahungunu, ancestor of the Ngāti Kahungunu iwi (tribe).[10] 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 Taupō-nui-a-Tia (Lake Taupō). 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.[11]

The name is the subject of a 1960 song by the New Zealand balladeer Peter Cape.[12] It appears in the 1976 (re-released in 1979) single "The Lone Ranger" by British band Quantum Jump, which featured in the title sequence of the second series of The Kenny Everett Video Show.[citation needed] It is featured in a Mountain Dew jingle and a SEEK Learning TV ad in Australia.[13] Tennis star Martina Navratilova learned to say the word when she was ten years old.[14]

See also


  1. ^ This spelling is based on signs near the hill, two of which are shown in photographs in this article.
  2. ^ Reed, A. W. (2010). Peter Dowling (ed.). Place Names of New Zealand. Rosedale, North Shore: Raupo. p. 392. ISBN 9780143204107.
  3. ^ "The world's longest place name". World Atlas. World Atlas. 9 January 2019. Archived from the original on 29 January 2019. Retrieved 9 January 2019. The world's longest place name belongs to a hill near Porangahau in the southern Hawke's Bay in New Zealand. It is a name given in the Māori language. This hill is 305 meters tall and is famously known for its long name. This name has since been shortened to Taumata for the ease of pronunciation. The meaning of the name has been translated to mean "the place where Tamatea, the man who had big knees, the climber of mountains, the slider, the land-swallower that traveled about, played the nose flute that he had to the loved ones." With 85 characters, it is the longest place name in the world according to the Guinness World Records.
  4. ^ "Town with the longest name in New Zealand". www.newzealand.com. Retrieved 27 November 2023.
  5. ^ George C. Denniston; Frederick Mansfield Hodges; Marilyn Fayre Milos (31 October 2001). Understanding Circumcision: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to a Multi-Dimensional Problem. Springer. p. 130. ISBN 978-0-306-46701-1. Archived from the original on 26 October 2023. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  6. ^ NZ Lands and Survey (1929). HB41: Porangahau Survey District (JPEG) (Map). 1:63360. NZMS13. Cartography by W. J. Harding. § HB41. Archived from the original on 25 February 2020. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  7. ^ "Place name detail: Taumata­whakatangihanga­koauau". New Zealand Gazetteer. New Zealand Geographic Board. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  8. ^ Lands and Survey Department (1955). Porangahau (JPEG) (Map) (1st ed.). 1:63360. NZMS1. § N151. Archived from the original on 25 February 2020. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  9. ^ "Place name detail: Taumata­whakatangihanga­kōauau­o­tamatea­pōkai­whenua­ki­tāna­tahu". New Zealand Gazetteer. New Zealand Geographic Board. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  10. ^ Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal (21 September 2007). "Papatūānuku – the land". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Archived from the original on 3 April 2009. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  11. ^ Taonui, Rāwiri (21 September 2007). "Ngā waewae tapu – Māori exploration". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Archived from the original on 15 June 2009. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  12. ^ New Zealand Folk Song: Peter Cape Archived 9 February 2021 at the Wayback Machine According to this source, Cape calls it "Taumata".
  13. ^ "Long Name, Bro – Learnings from SEEK Learning". YouTube. Archived from the original on 19 November 2013. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  14. ^ Louisa Wall (29 March 2011). "A real show from the titans of tennis". The New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on 24 June 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2011. And on a rainy day in Czechoslovakia, a bored 10-year-old Navratilova learned one of the longest place names in the world. Little did she know that one day she would be in New Zealand, saying Taumata­whakatangihanga­koauau­o­tamatea­pokai­whenua­ki­tana­tahu to compliment her thanks to the people of Tamaki Makaurau for their hospitality.

40°20′46″S 176°32′25″E / 40.346°S 176.5402°E / -40.346; 176.5402