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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 12 (March 1, 1937)


In previous numbers of the “Railways Magazine,” many Maori place names throughout New Zealand have been explained on this page and stories of the origins of the names have been given. It was not always easy to ascertain the circumstances under which names well-known to-day, were given to localities, for not every Maori knows the origins of the place nomenclature in his district. The knowledge, as I have found from experience, is often preserved only by one or two old men or women in a community and it is now liable to be lost so far as the younger generation is concerned, except for the data that a few of us have placed on record.

The collecting of place names and their sources and meanings yielded me many little stories, many songs, and many sidelights on the customs and beliefs of the olden Maori. The shores of Rotorua and other lakes, were rich in anecdotes and nature lore, and it was unusually interesting to search out the original names of places now made familiar to tourists under modern English names.