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SocietySeptember 1, 2023

The Spinoff’s directory of dirty place names in Aotearoa


The New Zealand Geographic Board Gazetteer records every place name you can find on a map in this country, so we went through all 49,370 and wrote down every one that sounded kind of dirty.

Aotearoa New Zealand is a land of incredibly diverse natural landscapes. Soaring mountains and epic glaciers, gentle streams and powerful rivers. There are also lots of nondescript fields and boring rocks.

At some point, every single place received a name. Some things are named with deep honour and history, some are named by or for the person who found it, and other things were given names with apparently no thought at all.

The New Zealand Geographic Board Gazetteer records every listed place name you can find on a map in this country, from major cities to tiny knolls. Over time, some places names have become local legends because they sound kind of dirty. We set out to find every one of those names. 

We chose to do this not because it was easy, but because it might be mildly funny and maybe some very silly people might like to go tramping to these places. 

The process was simple: we sat down and read a big long list of all 49,370 names in the gazetteer and wrote down everything slightly dirty. Some are obvious, some are a bit more of a reach and need to be read with the right mix of creativity and immaturity. All of them are real locations in New Zealand. 

To be included in the The Spinoff’s directory of dirty place names in Aotearoa, the place name must be listed by the New Zealand Geographic Board Gazetteer

A few notes before we get started:

  • This list does not include te reo Māori names because some concepts of “rudeness” don’t necessarily translate across languages and cultures. This means the list is slightly biased towards the South Island, which has proportionately more English place names. 
  • We’ve also excluded some names which can only be read as dirty in an offensive or demeaning context.
  • The gazetteer does not use apostrophes even for names that are obviously intended as possessive proper nouns. We’ve added them back in where we felt it was appropriate because we were afraid our subeditor might murder us if we didn’t.
  • Knobs are abundant and low value. Not every knob made the cut, but there are still lots of knobs.

This work was not supported by the Public Interest Journalism Fund.

Upper North Island: 

Nutting Stream

Newdicks Beach

Grundy Stream

Woody Head

Cox Bay

Little Hump

Nutts Stream

Dickey’s Landing

Mount Edgecumbe

The Gut

Coxhead Creek


Shag Stream

Shag Harbour

Shag Point

Shag Rock [There are going to be a lot of shags, be prepared.]

Central North Island

Balls Clearing

The Tits

Dick’s Spur

Groin Pool

Roger’s Spur

Pinchgut Creek


Bob’s Knob

The Blowhard

Blowhard Bush

Blowhard Ridge

The Organs

Bald Knob

The Big D

Knob [So many knobs gets descriptors. Not this knob. It stands on its own reputation.]

Shag Pool

Shag Rock

Lower North Island: 

Dick Creek

Mount Hogg

Snake Gully

Mount Dick Lookout



Mayo Knob

Richard’s Knob

Round Knob

Angle Knob Point

Baxter’s Knob

Butcher Knob

Pyramid Knob

Conical Knob [How many knobs does Wellington need?]

Colonial Knob [That’s what Captain Cook called his penis.]

Moorcock Stream

Moorcock Saddle

The view from the top of Colonial Knob (Photo: Creative Commons)

Upper South Island:

Butt Creek

Mount Gooch

Pussy Stream

Skeet River

Skeet Creek

Skeet Saddle

Bare Knob

Blue Knob

Brown Knob

Devil’s Knob

Cockabulla Creek

Organs Spur

Organs Island

Goat Knob

Gooch Bay

Mount Sodom

Mount Gomorrah [How dirty these two are depends on your biblical interpretation.]

Laing’s Nut

The Gut

Dick Stream


Wantwood Creek

Sullivan’s Knob

Bone Creek

Old Man’s Head

Jamie’s Knob

Jeanie’s Knob

Scott’s Knob

Bald Knob Ridge

Goat Knob


Big Bush

Hicky Clearing

Hicky Creek

Shag Rock

Shag Point

Shag Tarn

Shag Cove

Shag Creek

Central South Island:

Amazon’s Breasts

Dick Stream

Ball Pass

The Wart

Nervous Knob

Power Knob

Mount Bonar

Creamy Creek

Blowing Point

Mount Cockayne

Cox Hills

Cockeye Creek

Crack Creek

Bush Gully

Mount Cox

Blowhard Stream

Cox Saddle

Cox River

Harper’s Knob

Mac’s Knob

Dan’s Knob

Cooper’s Knob

Malcolm’s Knob

Charlie’s Knob

Jim’s Knob

Jimmy’s Knob

Baldy Knob

Shag Rock

Shag Bay

Shag Stream

Shag Rock, central South Island edition (Photo: Sepia Times/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Lower South Island:

Moist Gully

Bowels of the Earth

Mount Dick

Bonar Knob

Bonar Glacier

Bonar Flats

Dark Hollow

The Hump

Mount Nob

Hump Burn

Wet Gully

Cosy Gully


Dick’s Hill

Misty Hollow

Friendship Head [bro-jobs?]

Climax Peak

The Knob

Behind Peak

Knob’s Flat

Cox Bush

The Hump

Pinch Gut

Master Head [kinky?]


Groper’s Bush

Nob Creek

Duncan’s Knob

Lee’s Knob

Round Knob

Dan’s Knob

Shag Islands

Shag River

Shag Point

Shag Rock

Antarctica (Ross Dependency)

Brown’s Butte

Mount Cox

Wood Point

Hump Passage

Black Knob

Mount Wood

Stoner Peak [Not dirty but still funny]


Ball Glacier

East Groin

Sperm Bluff

Backdoor Bay

Mount Cocks

Ball Peak

Dick Glacier

Crack Bluff

Cox Bluff

The Slot

Mount Dick

Ball Stream

Fokker Rocks

Cox Peak

Lastly: an honourable mention to Dirty Island, just offshore of Stewart Island. The Gazetteer lists this important information: “Facetiously named when it became the first landing place of the runholders coming from Halfmoon Bay (Oban) after consuming a hearty breakfast.” Yes, it was named Dirty Island because someone took a dump there once. 

Keep going!