Friday, 18 January 2008

Whykickamoocow and Waipu?

I know, it should be 'Mille' but, hey, who cares, it is a wonderful link with Scotland and Gaeldom.

Whykickamoocow (pronounced Waikikamukau) is an absolutely splendid book by Nicola McCloy about curious New Zealand place names.

I'm sure that I shall be using it in the future to enlighten you about some of the more interesting place names here. Today, however, I am concentrating on the link between New Zealand and Scotland (there are a lot) and the settlement of Waipu just south of Whangerai in Northland at the North of North Island (where else would Northland be?).

The links with my Scottish home are many. Waipu has about 10 roads including The Braigh (very close to home), Argyle Street, Braemar and Nova Scotia Road.

Of course I've not just chosen it because of its pronunciation.

Waipu's founder was Rev Norman McLeod who arrived with his followers from Scotland via Nova Scotia and Australia in 1854. It was his hope to establish a Gaelic-speaking settlement that would be allowed to practise its own brand of Presbyterianism. They soon realised that the land at Waipu was good for farming, that the waters were good for fishing and that the New Zealand government would leave them to worship in peace.

Quite what Waipu means is not absolutely clear. 'Wai' means water but 'pu' has several meanings but the most likely in this contest would seem to be murmuring (the sound of the Waipu River). Whatever the meaning, however, the answer will always be 'Why not?'

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