Sunday, July 24, 2011

Godzilla Lived in Hawera!

For 110 years, there's been a Matangara Road in Hawera, South Taranaki...
but local man Henare Ngaia knew the spelling was wrong. This week, after a lot of research and the support of residents, he’s finally convinced the South Taranaki District Council to add two letters to the name...which will become Matangarara Road.
The spelling error arose when a surveyor accidentally misspelt the name in a roading reshuffle, and this was perpetuated throughout the 1900s.
"He must've been
one UGLY bastard!"
Although the two missing letters were accepted or overlooked by most others, Henare wanted it fixed: "Because of the wrong spelling, the word meant nothing. But with ‘ra’ added to the end of it, a piece of our history can be remembered."
Hey baby, let's go back to
my pad an' lay some eggs!
That missing piece of history concerns an arranged marriage... two people were betrothed to marry each other, perhaps to unite two marae. But when the young lady saw the young gentleman she was meant to marry, she was less than complimentary about his looks: she called him "mata ngarara!", mata meaning face, and ngarara meaning lizard.
So the marriage didn’t take place...but now that the sign is to be amended, the streetmap of Hawera will forever mark the tale of lucked-out-in-love Lizardface!

PS 20 July 2011 - ...but how far do you go, before signage correction becomes way too PC? Read about Kapiti being re-named "Cabbage"!!

1 comment:

Timespanner said...

The Kapiti thing sounds a bit tricky. If folk there say it as CAP-iti -- well, that version of the "a" vowel sound isn't truly as vowels are used in Maori. Even though officially they're saying it means "gorge", amongst other things. At least not as I understand the vowel sounds (but I'm just a pakeha). If folk say CAR-piti -- well, the macron is only adding a visual aid to something already said, and therefore Kapiti has been a bit leafy and good in coleslaw for a while. I'd be interested to see how it pans out.