The Meaning of the name Taumarunui

It has always been widely thought that the name Taumarunui was composed of two Maori words – ‘Taumaru’ meaning shade or shelter, and ‘nui’ meaning big; the name would therefore translate as Big Shelter.  The real story of Taumarunui’s meaning however is much more related to the warrior like nature of the Maori people and the inter-tribal warfare that raged throughout the area for hundreds of years.

The war party that succeeded in capturing the principal pa and taking prisoner the chief of the district was headed by Ki Maru. His warriors, to show their appreciation of his prowess and the honour of the victory, acclaimed him “Tau-maru-nui”, which means “Maru the Great”, or “Maru the Conqueror”, that name was taken for the district and has been used ever since.

So the name Taumarunui is actually composed of three words, Tau (thou, you), Maru (the name of the warrior Chief), and nui, (big, large, great).

The above information comes from our local publication Roll Back The Years which has several volumes and is written by local historian Ron Cooke.  Here’s a link: