|Taranaki, New Zealand
A satellite photo from top
Mount Taranaki is the ancient name of the peak that is sometimes today known as Mt. Egmont. The Maori have called the peak by the name Taranaki for many centuries. To the Maori, Taranaki was sacred, as are the streams flowing from it. Taranaki was the centre of the Maori culture in this part of New Zealand.
The Sanskrit connection is obvious. Tara (तारा) has many meanings in Sanskrit. The most common ones are – star, asterism, shining, or excellent. The derivatives of this word are in common use in most Indian languages, including Hindi. Naku (नाकु) is Sanskrit for mountain. Taranaki translates as “Star Mountain” from Sanskrit.
In the Maori language, it is belived that ‘Tara’ (and not Naki) means Mountain, and ‘Nagi’ means “Star or Shining”. Taranaki still means the same, but a translation from Maori into English would be ‘Mount Star’!
The words ‘Naku’ and ‘Naki’ are also a valid words in some ancient South American languages and as in Sanskrit they both mean “Mountain”. For example, there is a peak by the name “Tiva-naku” at the ancient megalithic site in Bolivia.
As an aside, the word “Nak” (नाक), means Heaven in Sanskrit. If ‘Taranaki’ is a distortion of ‘Taranak’, it would translate as ‘Star Heaven’.