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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 1 (May 1, 1930)

“Too Too Kah Kah!”

“Too Too Kah Kah!”

If we spelled our railway names on the system, or want of system, adopted by the old-time voyagers on the coast and the early travellers into the interior, the station signs and the time-tables would present some entertainment for train passengers. Rafferty's rules in spelling and in pronunciation prevailed in the good old times. Kauri station, in North Auckland, would be “Kowdy” if we spelled it as they did the tree name in Governor Fitzroy's days. Heaven only knows what they - would have done with the full name of the place, Kauri-kohore. Kaipara was once spelled “Kiperro.” Sundry quaint old versions are still to be found on the map. There is an islet at the northern side of the entrance to the Bay of Islands which the Maori named Harakeke, the name of the flax plant. But the navigators of a century ago or more got it down as “Galakek,” and as such it is on the New Zealand maps to-day.

There are some weirdly joyful specimens in a pioneer missionary's narrative lately printed, the journal of the Rev. John Butler. This reverend gentleman sailed down the coast from the Bay of Islands to Auckland in a whale-boat in 1820. With him in the boat were the famous Samuel Marsden and other stalwarts of the mission in cannibal land. Mr. Butler recorded that on their cruise they called in at Wangahmoomoo, Wangahdoodoo, Wanahnackee, Me Mee Wangahootoo, Mattah Podee, Too Too Kah Kah, and various other places. Some of them certainly are comics in phonetics, but when you come to pronounce them you will have little difficulty in recognising our whaling station bay Whangamumu, and our old friends Whangaruru, Whananaki, Mimiwhangata, Matapouri, and Tutukaka. The old-timers seem to have disliked the “r's,” they turned most of them into “d's.” We may faintly imagine how strenuously they would have wrestled with Paraparaumu and Paekakariki. How would they look on the station name-boards? Say Paddy-paddy-oomoo and Pye Kahkah-Deeky!

Eastertide in New Zealand. (Photo, W. W. Stewart.) A holiday scene at Auckland station, New Zealand.

Eastertide in New Zealand.
(Photo, W. W. Stewart.)
A holiday scene at Auckland station, New Zealand.