NZ Geography Bingo for International Students – Part 2

Thursday, June 11, 2020

One interesting thing about every one of the next ten of the twenty major New Zealand towns/cities with over 35,000 people. 

11. New Plymouth (55,000)

It is the only city in the Taranaki region and was named after Plymouth in Devon, England. It is known as Ngāmotu (the islands) by Māori, with more than 60 pā and kāinga (village) sites recorded in the urban area. The first English settlers established themselves at Ngamotu beach, which is next to old oil wells and one that is still active to this day. Paritutu and the Sugar Loaf islands (also known as Ngā Motu) are a collection of seven islands, which are the eroded stumps of an ancient volcanic crater, just off the coast of New Plymouth.

12. Rotorua (54,000)

The name ‘Rotorua’ means ‘second lake’, derived from the original name ‘Te Rotorua-nui-a-Kahumatamomoe’, ‘The second great lake of Kahumatamomoe’. In Māori traditions Kahumatamomoe is an explorer and the uncle of chief Īhenga. The Rotorua region has 17 lakes, collectively known as the Lakes of Rotorua. It is also known for its geothermal geysers, mudpools and distinctive sulphur smell.

13. Whangarei (52,000)

It is the Northenmost city in New Zealand and its urban population is around the 50,000 mark, though estimates have the greater population of the region as up to 90,000 people. The small city’s town basin is known as Te Ahi Pupurangi-a-ihenga. Īhenga, from the Te Arawa tribe, came to Whangarei and cooked (ahi) the kauri snail (Pupurangi) in the area.

14. Hibiscus Coast (52,000)

This is the Northernmost part of the Auckland metropolitan area, with its main centre the town of Whangaparaoa. It is the only place in New Zealand where you can go skiing or snowboarding indoors!

15. Nelson (50,000)

The region holds the nationwide record for most sunshine in a month and a single year. In 2019 Nelson had 2,589 hours of recorded sunshine hours. It is named after Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, the British leader who defeated the French at Trafalgar in 1805. Nelson became a city in 1858. Its Māori name is Whakatū.

16. Invercargill (49,000)

Known by the Māori as Waihōpai, Invercargill is NZ’s Southernmost city and the regional capital and commercial hub of NZ’s Southland region. Its English name comes from a combination of Inbhir, which is Scottish Gaelic for ‘the river’s mouth’ and William Cargill, who was the founder of the Otago settlement for the British in NZ, a member of parliament and Otago's first Superintendent.

17. Hastings (45,000)

The area has a collection of Māori carvings that sit permanently in the civic square. The collection is known as Ngā Pou o Heretaunga and is made-up of traditionally carved wooden carvings that represent the region’s cultural heritage. They took 10 months to carve and were made by a team of 20 carvers from ancient totara trees. Each pou (carving) has a story behind it.

18. Upper Hutt (41,000)

The area was proclaimed a city in 1961 and its Māori name is Orongomai, which the Marae is also named for. The Marae is located right next to the train station and has been open since 1976.

19. Whanganui (39,000)

Spelled as Whanganui or Wanganui, the city is known for its river, which is New Zealand’s longest navigable waterway. Whanganui is the ancestral home of Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi, and other Whanganui Māori tribes, who have lived on the river’s edge for 40 generations. English settlers from The New Zealand Company established a settlement in Whanganui in 1840. The Whanganui museum has the largest permanent collection of Moa bones in the world, with over 2,000 bones.

20. Gisborne (35,000)

In Māori Gisborne is known as Tūranga-nui-a-Kiwa – ‘Great standing place of Kiwa’, and it was renamed as Gisborne by English settlers in 1870, in honour of New Zealand Colonial Secretary William Gisborne. Gisborne's Kaiti Beach is the place where British navigator Captain James Cook made his first landing in New Zealand upon his ship the Endeavour in 1769.

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