Tauranga has been identified as New Zealand's most mispronounced place name on Google Maps.

To coincide with Maori Language Week, which ends on September 17, Vodafone and Google has launched an initiative allowing Kiwis to 'pin' place names on Google Maps which are incorrectly pronounced at a new website, www.sayittika.co.nz.

The Say it Tika (Say it right) website lets Kiwis play an important role to enhance the local pronunciation of places on Google Maps.

Vodafone, Google and the Māori Language Commission will then work through mispronounced place names and update them on Google Maps.

Since the website launched on Friday, more than 18,600 pins have highlighted the incorrectly pronounced place names - and Tauranga has the two most common.

According to the website, Tauranga is the number one place in the country that Kiwis say is mispronounced on Google Maps. The second is Totara St at Mount Maunganui.


Vodafone New Zealand consumer director Matt Williams said supporting Google to improve pronunciation in Aotearoa was an important way they could play a part in preserving the taonga (treasure) of te reo Māori.

"It's up to all of us now to put the mahi [work] in," Mr Williams said.

By getting involved and pinning mispronounced Māori place names, Kiwis will create a priority list for Vodafone, developed with Google, to update first.

These will be worked through in consultation with Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission), with te reo tika (correct) place names set to be heard on millions of phones from late this year.

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (Māori Language Commission) chief executive Ngahiwi Apanui their vision was to have te reo Māori resonate throughout the entire country.

"We want to see and hear te reo Māori everywhere - on the streets, in shops, in schools, on radio, on TV and online," Mr Apanui said.

"We are proud to partner with Vodafone and Google Maps to further progress towards this aim in the Say it Tika campaign."