Saturday, July 9, 2016

The meaning of Kaitangata, from A.W. Reed’s classic Māori Place Names

The South Otago town of Kaitangata has been in the news of late after a massive global response to its efforts to attract new residents with an offer of cheap housing, plentiful jobs and a friendly community. 

What about its name? In a literal translation 'kai' means food and 'tangata' means people, so an origin that has to do with cannibalism is likely. One version is that after a battle fought over eeling rights in the vicinity, the chief Mokomoko was killed an eaten by the victors. A more savoury (if that's the right word) explanation is that it was named after an ancestor who travelled on the Arai-te-uru canoe. 

Discover the Māori names and their meaning in the fully revised edition of A.W. Reed’s classic Māori Place Names.

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