Story: Tapa whenua – naming places

The longest place name in the world

The longest place name in the world

This place name is reputed to be the longest in the world. It means ‘the place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as landeater, played his flute to his loved one’. It refers to the renowned explorer Tamatea, who played music to his beloved on the hill in the background. Many Māori place names relate events and are in the form of a sentence.

Using this item

Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Photograph by Emily Tutaki

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Rāwiri Taonui, 'Tapa whenua – naming places - Traditions and place names from Polynesia', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 20 April 2024)

Story by Rāwiri Taonui, published 24 Nov 2008