04 January 2006

And now for something completely different

Bulls - Rural New Zealand:

Just out of Bulls there's the Tutaenui Stream. If I'm not mistaken 'tutaenui' literally means 'big shit'. Big bullshit? That has to be yet another example of the famous Maori sense of humour (the first European documentation of which is a couple of classic examples in Cook's journals).

(Incidentally the Maori word for a local variety of magic mushrooms is 'tutae atua', which is literally 'god shit'.)


Lilly said...

Hehehe -- I think I would have gotten on really well with those Maorians[?] :-)

David said...

Just Maori for both adjective and noun (whether singular and plural). Properly I should refer to the Maori language as 'te reo' (the speech). Before the Pakeha showed up, Maori were autonomous iwi (tribes) and had no word to describe themselves as a group, so they used the word for 'normal' (maori) to distinguish themselves from the weird white people.

Lilly said...

LOL - 'weird white people'. These Maori sound totally cool! :-D

And you seem to know your stuff when it comes to them. Impressive!

paintergirl said...

big shit and god shit-weird white people-I really dig that too! The Maori have a great sense of humor. Used the word for normal to describe themselves-and why shouldn't they. Cook and his gang would have been a freaky thing to see.

David said...

There's a great description by Hōreta Te Taniwha, who related as an old man what it was like to see Cook and co roll up when he was a kid. He reckoned they were tupua (goblins) - not only cos of the weird colour of their skin but also because they seemed to have eyes in the back in their heads cos they rowed backwards.

visitors since 29 March 2004.