22 June 2009

Place names a charm for tourists on holiday in New Zealand

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Tourists on holiday in New Zealand sometimes find the place names just a bit different and it's not hard see why with place names like the town name pronounced "why poo".

Boing Boing and Humpty Doo in the Northern Territory delight travellers to Australia, but the Kiwis have examples that are funnier still thanks largely to the indigenous language, Maori.

The North Island town of Waipu, pronounced "Why Poo", although the Maori translation, murmuring water, is lovely.

On the highway just ouside the town is a popular place for tourists on holiday in New Zealand to stop, just for a snapshot of the sign.

Then there are the myrid of places which start with the phrase "waka"- Whakatane, Whakarewarewa, Whakamoa and so on.

It might not sound so bad, until you know "wha" is actually pronounced "fha".

To make matters worse, the most popular "Whaka" destination for tourists is in fact the North Island ski field, Whakapapa. Postcards bearing the name sell like hotcakes, although be warned many Kiwis find the joke disrespectful.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that a budget car hire company triggered what was dubbed "Whaka-gate" last year with a billboard carrying three "Whaka" place names and the catch line "Rent a car for only $25 a day and you can visit any Whaka".

It was deemed offensive and removed after three weeks.

You will not need a Tourist Visa to visit New Zealand if you are: an Australian citizen, or Australian resident who holds a current permanent Resident Return Visa (temporary or provisional Resident Return Visa holders will need a visa to enter New Zealand); a British citizen or a traveller holding a British passport who has the right to live in the United Kingdom (eligible for a Visitor's Permit for up to 6 months); or you are visiting New Zealand for no more than 3 months and you are a citizen of a country which has a visa waiver agreement with New Zealand.

If you do not qualify as one of the above, and you wish to travel to New Zealand, you will need to obtain a Visitor's Visa. This is a multiple-entry visa valid for a maximum of 9 months within an 18 month period.

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with New Zealand visas.

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