One of the interesting things about the history of New Zealand is the Maori language, and it’s integration with New Zealand’s culture today. Many of the towns and cities have traditional Maori names, though it seems more prevalent on the North Island than the South Island. It’s taken me a bit of getting used to being able to pronounce some of the names, because looks can sometimes be deceiving. One of the main ones that you come across is words using ‘Wh’. The Maori language doesn’t have the letter ‘F’, so ‘Wh’ is used to create an ‘F’ sound. Naturally, I had been getting this wrong for quite some time. So when I had been describing my skydiving experience in Whangarei, I had been saying ‘WaynGahRay’, and getting quizzical looks from time to times. Someone finally informed me that the proper pronunciation is more akin to ‘FaynGahRay’.
I’ve gotten used to it by now, so when passing through a place like ‘Whakatane’, I can properly say the name as ‘FakahTani’. Say it out loud and you might understand where this post title is coming from. 😉
I’ve now travelled from Tauranga, past Whakatane and am at my next host stay in Opotiki. The drive itself was fairly uninteresting: lots of flat land and beaches. Pleasant but nothing too noteworthy. The town of Opotiki is at the far east end of the Bay of Plenty, and the host I’m staying at has a small acreage just outside town. Looks like I’ll be doing some yard and outside cleaning for the next few days at least – not bad sounding, since the forecast is 16-18C and sunny for the foreseeable future!