Some highlights from the fun class on 'Meanings of Maori Placenames' last night.
Paraparaumu= dirty oven
Waitangi= crying waters (tears shed before and after going to war)
Usually there's a story of why this name here and it's one of those casual small classes where the teacher/storyteller (Pae Ngatai Davis) is easily distracted from the curriculum. We started talking about taniwha (spirit beings) and those that live around here. He told us about the taniwha at Taihururu which means roaring tide. Everytime the taniwha, who is actually a comet, came out of his coastal cave there was a great roaring sound and then some kind of disaster. Eventually the local people got sick of these disasters and decided to stop the taniwha getting out of his cave by stringing kumara (sweet potatoes) across the entrance, which worked, and apparently you can still see the fossilised kumara on the walls at the entrance to the cave.