Days 1,124-1,126: Taumata-whakatangihangakoauauo-tamateaturipukakapikimaunga-horonukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu

Sun 29.01.12 – Tue 31.01.12:

Sunday morning and The Sea Princess arrived in the rather lovely port of Tauranga (pronounced Toe-ronga). I had a bit of a mooch, watched some watersports that were going on down on the beach and thought about climbing up the volcano, then thought better of it.

The next day we ship pulled into Napier, allowing me to waste even more photons taking piccys of the rather awesome architecture. I also got to meet Bertie, Napier’s unofficial art deco ambassador and his awesome 1930s motor.

Bertie, The Art Deco Ambassador

That night we would be sailing past Mount Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, one of the longest place names in the world. I managed to get the Maori barmaid of the local Irish boozer to read it out for me, but I wouldn’t stand a chance. It means…

“The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his nose flute to his loved one.”

There’s actually a longer version of the name which is “Taumata-whakatangihanga-koauau-o-Tamatea-haumai-tawhiti-ure-haea-turi-pukaka-piki-maunga-horo-nuku-pokai-whenua-ki-tana-tahu”, which translates as “The hill of the flute playing by Tamatea — who was blown hither from afar, had a slit penis, grazed his knees climbing mountains, fell on the earth, and encircled the land — to his beloved.”

Don’t say I never teach ya nothin’.

Tuesday saw us return to Wellington, and I used the opportunity to meet up with Ian Barnes, an old friend of mine from back in my uni days in Manchester. It was great to catch up and find out what all our good chums and mortal enemies were up to there days. After talking politics for a few hours, I thought it might be a wheeze to visit the old Parliament Building here in Wellington, and I’m jolly glad I did, for the awful modern beehive thing is not the Parliament, it’s just for the Prime Minister and his crew. The actual Parliament building (behind the beehive) is as sexy as hell, bring it on baby.

As parliament was having a break I got to go into the actual debating chamber. It took a lot of mental will to not jump onto the speakers chair and scream ORDER ORDER!

That night we played a version of Jeopardy in the Vista Lounge. I teamed up with fellow cruiser Jane and her daughter Caitlin to storm the quiz by force. We amassed a stunning $18,500 worth of monopoly money and then, since we had got every question right so far, we gambled it all on the last question. We could have gambled nothing and still won, but for the sake of hilarity, we went all in. My fault, sorry. We lost the lot. The last question? What book holds the record for being the most stolen from public libraries?

The clue is in the question. The Guinness Book of Records. We put Lady Chatterly’s Lover.


Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

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