This morning I read a funny article on Bored Panda called "24 Place names you've probably been mispronouncing your whole life." Oddly enough there wasn't a single New Zealand place name on the list! How could that be?
I've been in New Zealand for more than a year now, and I'm still fumbling through the Māori language and insecurely mumbling city names when I check into hotels. (Is it just me or do you sometimes feel like a jack ass when you really go for it and try to speak native words with an accent?) Still, just when I think I've got it, I find I'm putting the wrong emPHAsis on the wrong syLAble!
I've planned several road trips around New Zealand and talked about the places I'd visit, only to arrive at these places and find out I've been saying it allll wrong. So I listen carefully to locals saying a place name many times before I make an attempt at saying anything.
I won't even begin to claim to be a pronunciation expert here. Heck, there's even controversy amongst New Zealanders about how to pronounce place names as seen in this video from ONE News. I'm slightly scared to create this post for fear that there might be backlash! But bring on the feedback - I NEED to improve my pronunciation. I'm going to take a stab and a few New Zealand place names that I've definitely mispronounced. Hopefully this will help you along on your next New Zealand roadtrip.
'Wh' is pronounced 'F' in the Māori language.