Place names of Te Tau ihu


On 1 August 2014, a number of new or altered geographic names took effect as a result of the following Treaty Claims settlements:

More information about, and exact location of, these places can be found on Land Information New Zealand's Gazeteer or the GIS maps produced by Nelson City, Tasman and Marlborough District Councils. History, origin and meaning information about the names has been taken from the LINZ Gazeteer. More complete information about the cultural associations iwi have with places and resources, throughout the top of the south, can be found in the Te Tau Ihu Statutory Acknowledgements, 2014 [PDF] (Nelson City Council, Tasman District Council, Marlborough District Council).  A statutory acknowledgement recognises the particular cultural, spiritual, historical and traditional association of an iwi with an identified site/area and is one form of redress [PDF] required by the Te Tau Ihu Settlement Act(s).

Nelson/ Tasman/ Marlborough Sounds/ Marlborough
Nelson (see also Tohu Whenua - Sites of Significance)
  • Pikimai/ Church Hill
    Church Hill, Nelson Cathedral. A Ngāti Kōata pa site. Was also locally known as Church Hill.
    pikimaiAC449.jpgMabel Annesley, after Barnicoat, John Wallis (1814-1905). Early State of Church Hill, 1842. Pencil drawing on paper, with watercolour wash. The Nelson Provincial Museum, Bett Collection: AC449.
    Click image to enlarge
  • Horoirangi / Drumduan
    The highest hill behind Glenduan, sitting east of the settlement at 657m, and approximately 14 km northeast of Nelson City. For Ngāti Kōata, which has cultural associations with the hill, the name refers to the ascending from the heavens.  Peart, in Old Tasman Bay (p. 125), follows Ngāti Kuia tradition and  translates Horoirangi as ‘Washing of the sky.” The name derives from the description of when the clouds envelope Horo-i-rangi, which is a sign of bad weather.
  • Rotokura / Cable Bay
    A bay adjacent to Pepin Island between Ataata Point and Fall Cove, approximately 16 km northeast of Nelson City. Te Ātiawa and Ngāti Tama note that there is an old pā site at the Pepin Island end of the causeway and Rotokura was so named because it provided ethereal reflections of the tall native trees, great solitude and peace of mind.
  • Tasman Bay / Te Tai-o-Aorere
    Ngāti Tama and Te Ātiawa state the following: this is the name the Bay was known by our tipuna; this name is recorded in historical evidence for the Tribunal; sometimes Te Tai-o-Aorere is called Te Tai Tapu, which is a mistake as Te Tai Tapu is Golden Bay; Te Tai-o-Aorere is the ancient name for Tasman Bay and Manawhenua iwi continue to use the name today. According to Ngāti Kuia history: Ko Maungatapu te maunga Ko Mahitahi te Awa Ko Te Tai-Aorere te Moana Ko Whakatū te Marae Ko Ngāti Kuia te Iwi Ngāti Kuia have lived on the shores of Te Tai-o-Aorere and it forms part of our pepeha and identity.
  • Te Punawai Pā
    South east of Haulashore Island. An old Ngāti Koata pā site on the hill side and down to the beach to the left of Richardson Street (i.e. towards the Port).
  • Golden Bay/ Mohua
  • Wharepapa / Arthur Range
    Ngāti Tama notes that Wharepapa is a sacred ancestor, providing a historical and spiritual link to the natural world. Wharepapa is the highest maunga in the takiwa and a vital link to the spirits. Ngāti Rarua history: the highest peak of these ranges is Tū Ao Wharepapa and is one of the two sacred maunga for the manawhenua of Motueka. Its significance is embodied in the pepeha “Ko Tū Ao Wharepapa te maunga, ko Ngāti Rarua te iwi….”. The range is an important source of the plant Nei Nei which was used to manufacture the wet weather capes worn by our tupuna. Also a number of sacred caves or tomo are situated within this maunga.
  • Pourangahau / Mount Robert
    A hill at 1421 m adjacent to Lake Rotoiti on Robert Ridge, approximately 4.5 km southwest of St Arnaud. Ngāti Apa Tribunal evidence says that Pourangahau translates as a standing place for the “posts of research”. From here, Ngāti Apa were able to look over the sacred lake of Rotoiti.
  • Mangatāwhai
    Intersection of Tophouse/ Korere Tophouse Road. Ngāti Kuia Tribunal evidence states that Mangatawhai translates as ‘place of many trails’. This area was where many of the trails connecting Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast and Canterbury met.
    Mountarthurtdc.jpgMount Arthur from Tapawera. Tasman District Council
    Click image to enlarge
  • Paratītahi Tarns
    Between Mt McRae and Peanter Peak, SE Lake Rotoiti. Ngāti Apa Tribunal evidence states that the proposed names mean ‘Purpose in life’. Ariki children were taken here in summer time to be washed, before presentation to the people in life.
  • Pikikirunga/ Canaan Downs
    Off Tākaka Hill. Te Ātiawa and Ngāti Tama state that Pikikirunga is named after a taniwha and the traditions of karanga. Wainui Caves say Ngararahuarau gave the first karanga and when he died he exploded and his scales were embedded in the hills. 
  • Pukekoikoi Hill                
    Nr Tapu Bay, SW of Kaiteriteri. Te Ātiawa and Ngāti Tama state that: this is a significant area for Te Ātiawa. The tipuna called the hill by this name (it is recorded in J.D. Peart, 1937, Old Tasman Bay, p. 128). Pukekoikoi was renowned for its use of koikoi (a long spear pointed at both ends) as more practical rākau (weapon) to use when learning the blocks, the attack and the defensive movements of mau rākau.
  • Te Araruahinewai
    Confluence of Maitland Creek/ Motueka River. In the headwaters of the Motueka (Te Ara Ruahinewai) the marriages between the hapu were consecrated to enable safe travel. The name e Ara Ruahinewai means "Lead us from the hinterland to Tasman Bay." 
  • Hinemoatū / Howard River
    A river flowing from the confluence of Hodgson Stream and Tier Stream into the Buller River, approximately 13 km west-northwest of Lake Rotoiti. Ngāti Apa Tribunal evidence describes Hinemoatū as a Ngāti Apa ancestress; mother of Tama, a great mokopuna of Tarakaipa.
  • Maniniaro / Angelus Peak
    A hill at 2075m at the western end of Angelus Ridge in the Travers Range approximately 7.5km southwest of Lake Rotoiti. Ngāti Apa Tribunal evidence states that this is the accompanying lake to Roto Maninitua – both are the footpaths of Ngāti Apa’s dead, as they fly back to touch the shores of Hawaikinui, Hawaiki.
  • Maungakura / Red Hill
    A hill at 1791 m on Red Hills Ridge near the upper reaches of the Motueka River Right Branch, approximately 26 km northeast of St Arnaud. Ngāti Apa Tribunal evidence states that Te Huarau was a taniwha, a kaitiaki, and he and she kept the Maungakura safe from harm.
  • Motuareronui / Adele Island
    An island north of Fisherman Island separated from Te Waipounamu by Astrolabe Roadstead, approximately 5 km northeast of Marahau. Ngāti Tama and Te Ātiawa state that whānau kōrero says that Motuareronui is the big island of the swift moving clouds. Ngāti Rarua describes this as a large tongue shaped island.
  • Poukirikiri / Travers Saddle
    A saddle approximately 1.5 km south of Mount Travers in St Arnaud Range, between East Branch Sabine River and the upper end of Travers River, approximately 19km southwest of Lake Rotoiti. Ngāti Apa Tribunal evidence states that this is the pathway to our sacred mountain of Kehu (Kehu Peak) – a guide to our elders and protector of the last swimming place of our spirits before they return to Hawaiki.
  • Pukeone / Mount Campbell
    A hill at 1330 m east of Wharepapa / Arthur Range between Riuwaka River South Branch and Pokororo River, approximately 13 km west of Motueka. Te Ātiawa notes that Pukeone (meaning sandy hill) is where Te Ātiawa carried the sand to the top of the hill to signal to whanau. The brown area today marks where the fires used to be. Pukeone is highly significant to Te Ātiawa. Ngāti Rarua history: there is korero regarding the origins of the name Pukeone and one theory advances that it is a tupuna name from early times perhaps belonging to one of Rakaihautu’s party. The translation of Sand Hill however can be related to the practice of carrying sand to the summit of the maunga where signal fires were lit to tell of special occasions. The fires burning on top of Pukeone could be seen as far as away as Whakapuaka. A fire was lit on Pukeone following Wakefield’s acceptance of Nelson as a settlement site.
  • Rākauroa / Torrent Bay
    A bay approximately 10 km northeast of Kaiteriteri. The Anchorage is within the bay. Ngāti Tama notes that, as the name implies, the area was wealthy with trees and Ngāti Tama and Te Ātiawa established ship building operations there after their arrival in the rohe. This name was also recorded in Peart's Old Tasman Bay and other documents. Ngāti Apa Tribunal evidence translated this as a type of tree. Rakauroa was the name of the bay, with many Ngāti Apa occupation areas.
  • Riuwaka River (was Riwaka River – also note Riuwaka River North & South Branches)
    A river flowing generally east from the confluence of Riuwaka River North Branch and Riuwaka River South Branch east of Wharepapa / Arthur Range into Tasman Bay / Te Tai-o-Aorere, approximately 5 km north-northeast of Motueka.
    Te Ātiawa states that this is taonga wairua: Puketapu hapū have tribal accounts of relationships with the river; rivers are tapu; the mouth of the river is named after the tekoteko on top of Te Āwhina, which in turn were named after the tipuna who discovered Antarctica (Hui Te Rangiora). Riwaka is a spelling error and the “u” changes the meaning ; Riuwaka is the place that Hui Te Rangiora landed and was named by him because of its natural features.; Riuwaka is documented in Old Tasman Bay (Peart). 
    Ngāti Rarua history: traditionally named the Riuwaka River – Riu is the name for the bilge of a waka or basin where water would gather. In this instance it is a reference to the puna or pools where the river emerges from within Papatuanuku. There are a series of pools below the Riuwaka resurgence and each pool has specific cultural purpose for the manawhenua iwi.
  • Rotomairewhenua / Blue Lake
    A lake west of Franklin Ridge and north of Rotopōhueroa / Lake Constance in the Spenser Mountains, approximately 25km southwest of Lake Rotoiti. Ngāti Apa Tribunal evidence states that this name means ‘Lake of peaceful lands’. This lake was used for the cleansing of male bones.
  • Rotomaninitua / Lake Angelus
    A lake at 1650 m on Robert Ridge in the Travers Range adjacent to Bristol Pass and Hinapouri Tarn, approximately 6km west-southwest of Lake Rotoiti. Ngāti Apa Tribunal evidence states that: this is the resting place of our spirits. When we depart this life into the next, Roto Maninitua refers to directing our wairua through to be washed, to bathe and to swim inside and underneath the snow, or should it be summertime, inside and underneath the mountain.
  • Rotopōhueroa / Lake Constance
    A lake below Franklin Ridge in Spenser Mountains approximately 26km southwest of Lake Rotoiti. Ngāti Apa Tribunal evidence translates this name as the ‘long calabash’. This lake was used for the final cleansing of the bones of our female tipuna, before they were entrusted to be stored in and around Ngāti Apa’s sacred places in the Sabine Valley.
  • Separation Point / Te Matau
    A coastal point between Whariwharangi Bay and Mutton Cove, extending into Golden Bay / Mohua approximately 18 km northeast of Takaka. Te Matau is an ancestral name and important to Ngāti Tama and Te Ātiawa, as it is one of the boundary markers between Onetahua and Motueka. The name was changed by D’Urville, but iwi still refer to this name and old title deeds support the name Te Matau. Te Ātiawa Tribunal evidence also recorded this name (see A Riwaka Nga Hekenga p. 117, Tribunal casebook Northern South Island Inquiry). Ngāti Kuia and Ngāti Apa note that Peart in Old Tasman Bay translates the name as meaning the fish hook of Māui. It was the western most point of the tukuwhenua and an occupation area. An older name for this place is Te Matau-a-Māui.  Ngāti Rarua history: This translates as The Hook and represents the Eastern most point of Golden Bay and the Western tip of Tasman Bay. It was an area surrounded by a number of settlements of the local manawhenua iwi.
  • Te Horowai / Speargrass Creek
    A stream flowing from Robert Ridge, approximately 1 km northeast of Rotomaninitua / Lake Angelus into the Buller River approximately 8 km northwest of St Arnaud. Rangitāne and Ngāti Apa Tribunal evidence states that Ngāti Apa ancestor, Te Horowai, is buried here.
  • pupusprings.jpgPupu Springs - Karen Stade
    Click image to enlarge
    Te Kauparenui / Gowan River
    A river flowing north from Lake Rotoroa at Rotoroa (locality) into the Buller River, approximately 1 km east of Gowanbridge. Ngāti Apa tribunal evidence translates Te Kauparenui as “The Great Division”.Te Kauparanui refers to the great earth rending that closed and formed the lake we have today and that, in another lifetime, Te Kauparenui shook and shook so hard that it created a huge tidal force that created the river of the Gowan.
  • Te Mamaku / Ruby Bay
    Te Ātiawa and Ngāti Tama note that, as the name implies, the black tree fern was once plentiful and provided resources to the iwi. This was a pa site, an occupational reserve, a kai basket, and there was a waka landing site at McKee Domain. This was also a trading beach.
  • Te Waikoropupū River
    A stream flowing from the northern end of Walker Ridge, generally northeast into the Takaka River, approximately 1 km northwest of Takaka. There is a spelling alteration from Waikoropupu River (“Te” and macron added to a recorded name). The English meaning for Te Waikoropupū is the bubbling spring waters. Te Ātiawa and Ngāti Tama state that the river is in the sacred valley for Te Ātiawa, outlined in evidence in Te Ātiawa Tribunal hearing at Motueka. Ngāti Rarua translates this name as “Bubbling Waters” and notes that this is the home of the kaitiaki Huriawa, who was responsible for keeping the waterways of Mohua clear and pristine. The waters have been utilised for many sacred occasions, such as blessings, cleansing and revitalisation of the unwell. Manawhenua iwi always offer karakia before entering this sacred place.
  • Tokangawhā / Split Apple Rock
    A rock just off the coast of Towers Bay adjacent to Tokongawha Point, approximately 2 km north of Kaiteriteri. Ngāti Tama and Te Ātiawa note that the split is one of the boundary markers.
Marlborough Sounds
  • Te Aumiti / French Pass
    A strait between Rangitoto ki te Tonga / D’Urville Island and Te Waipounamu, northeast of Current Basin, approximately 1 km northeast of French Pass (Anaru). Ngāti Kōata states that Te Aumiti is of significance to Ngāti Koata, who have many cultural historical stories and korero associated with Te Aumiti. Ngāti Kuia translates Te Aumiti as “The current that is swallowed.” This was the place where the Shag guardian of Kupe drowned. The story of the naming sets up part of the oral map for navigating the waters and the customs behind it. The full name is “Te Aumiro o te Kawau a Toru”.
  • Whareātea Bay (Durville Island).
    Misspelled name of bay/area on the north east side of Rangitoto ki te Tonga / D’Urville Island. Was also locally known as Whareata Bay.  
  • Tory Channel / Kura Te Au
    A strait separating Arapaoa Island from Te Waipounamu, extending generally east-west from Dieffenbach Point in Queen Charlotte Sound / Tōtaranui to West Head and East Head in Cook Strait. Te Ātiawa and Ngāti Tama note that this: was an important mahinga kai and settlement site for Te Ātiawa; was the Te Ātiawa main highway; Te Ātiawa continually monitor and defend this waterway today in Environment courts; Kura Te Au separates Arapaoa Island from the mainland in the Marlborough Sounds. Kura Te Au is named because of the red colour of the sea imparted by a variety of plankton and the  multitude of the crustacean krill; Kura Te Au is place where Kupe killed the giant wheke and the blood ran through the channel. Kurahaupo and Rangitāne note that this means “the red current”. When Kupe killed Te Wheke o Muturangi, the octopus bled into the current there, turning it red. The name also denotes the red Krill found all around the outer Sounds which is eaten by octopus and whales (hence the whaling presence) and is part of the Kupe oral map.
  • Whakakitenga Bay
    A bay adjacent to Wairangi Bay, at the northeast end of Squally Cove in Marlborough Sounds. Ngāti Koata state that the name Whakitenga bay was a misspelling; Whakakitenga Bay is the correct spelling.
  • Matapihi Bay 
    Bay Ikm NE  of Okiwi Bay at the foot of Matapehe.
  • Meretoto/ Ship Cove (Queen Charlotte Sound)
    cookwebberq.s.Sound.jpgWebber, John (1751-93). View in Queen Charlotte's Sound. London : Boydell, 1809 (oils from a sketch made on Cook's Third Voyage). Alexander Turnbull Library. B-098-015
    Click image to enlarge
    Te Ātiawa and Ngāti Tama note that this cove is of significance as it is: of historical importance to previous iwi and Te Ātiawa; Wahi Tapu; a burial site; tauranga waka. This is the original name, with reference to the bloody mere Rangitāne: Meretoto is the place where the first interaction between Cook's crew and Rangitāne Tupuna, such as Te Rangihouhia and Kahura first took place. It was also locally known as Ship Cove and was named Ship Cove (Meretoto) on NZ topographic maps.
  • Omhuri
    An isthmus separating Whakitenga Bay and Elaine Bay in Tennyson Inlet. Reported to be where Te Rauparaha and his taua entered into the Nelson region rather than travel around through Te Aumiti (French Pass)
  • Arapaoa Island
    An island adjacent to Tory Channel / Kura Te Au and Queen Charlotte Sound / Tōtaranui approximately 14 km northeast of Picton. Te Ātiawa and Ngāti Tama note that this island is the location of traditions of Kupe but highly significant to Te Ātiawa. Kupe finally dispatched whekenui with a massive Arapaoa (downwards blow) to its head. It is the spiritual home of Te Ātiawa, with many Kaimoana sites, many papakaianga, fortified Pa sites, whaling sites, cultivation sites and sites for waka landing, building and repairs. Arapawa is a spelling error. Ngāti Kuia Tribunal evidence notes that Ara means ‘to rise’ and ‘paoa’ is to strike with a weapon. The Island was named after Kupe’s rising stroke which killed the octopus Te Wheke o Muturangi. It features in waiata and stories of the iwi.
  • Greville Harbour / Wharariki
    A harbour on Rangitoto ki te Tonga / D’Urville Island extending generally northwest from Wharairiki Bay to between Ragged Point and Two Bay Point. A historical name of cultural association, Wharariki being the name of a particular type of red flax, with minimal fibre, which is an important taonga to Ngāti Koata people.
  • Matapara / Pickersgill Island
    An island in Queen Charlotte Sound / Tōtaranui adjacent to Arapaoa Island and Blumine Island (Oruawairua). Te Ātiawa’s close association with Matapara / Pickersgill Island is through ancestry, conquest and customary occupation. This motu, like many others in Totaranui, was a strategic point for warfare, occupation and contains wāhi tapu for the iwi. The foreshore surrounding Matapara / Pickersgill Island was utilised for both offshore fishing and for preparation. Matapara / Pickersgill Island was a roosting and nesting place for the little blue penguin and the shag. It was also known for its kohekohe and tawa forest. During the turn of the century the island was used for harvesting of wheat crops, speargrass and cocksfoot. Matapara is the traditional name for the island and has been used by whanau and hapu since the conquest of Totaranui by Te Ātiawa.
  • Pelorus Sound / Te Hoiere
    Ko Matua Hautere te Tangata, Ko Kaikai-a-waro te taniwha, Ko Te Hoiere te Waka, Ko Ngāti Kuia te Iwi. Ngāti Kuia notes that Insull, in Place Names of Marlborough (p. 55) translates this name as a type of tree, and it was the name of the waka, captained by Matua Hautere, which brought Ngāti Kuia to the area. It was guided here by their two kaitiaki, Kaikaiawaro and Ruamano. It forms a substantial part of Ngāti Kuia identity, history and place of occupation. Ngāti Toa history: Te Hoire is the traditional name given to Pelorus Sound by Ngāti Toa; the sound was renamed by Lieutenant P. Chetwode after the ship he commanded: the HMS Pelorus. Pelorus Sound was an area of concentrated Ngāti Toa occupation and control; the iwi were considered to be the ‘direct owners’ of the Sound, as well as the connected valley and river, in the 1830s and 1840s. Ngāti Toa first came into possession of the region following their conquest during 1829 and 1830. According to historian W.J. Elvy, at the time of Te Rauparaha’s raids, Ngāti Kuia held the Pelorus Sounds and the valley. The invaders, however, “cleaned up the districts pretty thoroughly, reducing the survivors to slaves, or forcing them to hide in the mountainous fastness of the hinterland.” Hopai Pa located in Crail Bay, is one famous battle site at which Ngāti Toa were victorious . Two Ngāti Toa pa, the Canon point pa, and Te Akaroa pa, are located at Port Ligar. Another site of significance was the stream mouth at Clova Bay, which was given the name Totaranui. This was a landing site for waka that crossed from Omere on the Wellington South Coast, and was used extensively during the invasion and conquest of Te Tau Ihu.
  • Queen Charlotte Sound / Tōtaranui
    Te Ātiawa and Ngāti Tama state that: Totaranui waterways are the veins of Te Ātiawa, each and every bay is highly significant to Te Ātiawa; Totaranui is the original Te Reo name; Totaranui was bountiful in Totara. Following a series of taua 1827–1830, Ngāti Toa established themselves at a number of locations in the Marlborough Sounds, including Queen Charlotte Sound. There were a number of Ngāti Toa pa sites in Totaranui, including Te Rei o Karaka pa at Karaka Point, and Ngakuta Point Pa. Ana-o-koha, located in the Dieffenbach point area, is the site of an historic battle, at which Ngāti Toa successfully repelled and defeated an attempted ambush. Another site of significance is Ship Cove, an important tapu area where the daughter of Te Pehi Kupe is buried. Colonel Wakefield, while collecting signatures for the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, encountered a large Ngāti Toa group.
  • Waikārapi Lagoon
    Was Vernon Lagoon near Blenheim. Waikārapi refers to the series of channels and weirs (Pa-tuna) built around the wider lagoons area to trap the various species of fish and birds that frequented the wetlands. This was specifically identified in the map of the Wairau drawn by Ihaia Kaikoura and copied by Ligar in 1847. 
  • Hikurangi/ Goulter Hill
    4km Southwest of Renwick
  • Vernonlagoon1.JPGWaikārapi Lagoon. Colin Davis, Department of Conservation, South Marlborough Area Office
    Click image to enlarge
    Kahuroa Hill
    11km NE of Havelock, near Pelorus Sound: Ko Kahuroa te Maunga, Ko Te Hoiere te Awa, Ko Ruapaka te Kāinga, Ko Ngāti Kuia te Iwi. The name means the long cloak and comes from the mist which shrouds it. Ngāti Kuia Tribunal evidence states that this maunga has an urupa on it and forms part of waiata and stories. It is above the Ngāti Kuia land at Ruapaka, and forms part of the pepeha for the whanau of that place. The name means the long cloak and comes from the mist which used to shroud it. It is part of the Ngāti Kuia pepeha for the Ruapaka Kāinga. [Notes for Polynesian Society, Smith; and Ngāti Kuia evidence, Moses.]
  • Otauira Pā               
    On the shore of Robin Hood Bay, South of Port Underwood. Rangitāne Tribunal evidence records that this site translates as ‘Water rushes.’ This was an occupation and fishing area. Otauira is the Rangitāne Pa site at the mouth of the Waikutakuta stream where Ihaia Kaikoura drew the map of the Wairau for Ligar in 1847.
  • Te Ana-o-Rongomaipapa Bay
    Between Rarangi and Whites Bay. Rongomai Papa was the Rangitāne Tupuna who established Pukatea Pa and ambushed and killed the giant flying Taniwha Ngarara Huarau. The cave that he hid in is still visible to the present day - Te Ana o Rongiomai Papa. [Tuiti Macdonald MP wrote this story for S.Percy Smith in 1906.]
  • Te Ope-a-Kupe Rock
    A rock near Port Gore. Te-Ope-a-Kupe was named by Kupe and means the group of kupe. It is a tauranga waka what was used by him for his waka Matahourua and succeeding generations of his descendants. Ngāti Kuia korero states that: this was one of the landing places of Matua Hautere and his waka Te Hoiere, Te Whakamana and his waka Te Ara-a-Tawhaki and Tukauae and his waka Tahatu. There is is a rock at the site which our people says has his foot print which shows where he and his crew got of his waka. This place is still used today as a safe anchorage by Ngāti Kuia.
  • Te Pokohiwi / Boulder Bank
    Between Wairau River and White Bluffs. According to Insull, Te Pokohiwi translates as the “shoulder” and this name refers to the shape and position of the Bank. Was also locally known as Boulder Bank.
  • Ōhinemahuta River
    A stream flowing from Richmond Range near Mount Sunday into Wairau River, approximately 4 km northwest of Renwick. It is the old Rangitāne/Ngāti Mamoe name of place where Tupuna Hine Mahuta lived hence – Ōhinemahuta.
  • Ōpaoa River
    A river flowing from the confluence of the Omaka River and Ruakanakana Creek, approximately 2 km northeast of Renwick, generally east into the Wairau River at Wairau Bar. Ngāti Rarua translates this as Smoking River, which can be described as the mist or fog rising off this particular river giving the appearance of smoke hanging over the water. This awa, along with the Wairau, was an important food resource and integral part of day-to-day life for Ngāti Rarua. Rangitāne notes that Insull, in Place Names of Marlborough (p. 54), translates ‘Paoa’ as smoke – ‘smoky river’. There are several different explanations for the name. This place was very swampy and the river became murky with the appearance of smoke. It is also known as the place of the grey teal. The tupuna Paoa had a pa there and the place was named after him.
  • Ōraumoa / Fighting Bay
    A bay east of Te Whanganui / Port Underwood, approximately 17km east south-east of Picton. Ngāti Toa history: Fighting Bay, located on the Eastern Coast of Te Tau Ihu was a very important Ngāti Toa tauranga waka. It was located in close proximity to the concentrated Ngāti Toa settlement at Port Underwood, and provided a site from which Ngāti Toa could travel directly across Te Moana o Raukawa to the South Coast of Wellington. It was the site of a battle with Ngai Tahu and hence its name. Rangitāne history: Raumoa was the name of a Rangitāne ancestor who lived in the Wairau and travelled to this place for special seafood hence the name O-Raumoa, - the place of Raumoa.
  • Pukatea / Whites Bay
    A bay approximately 1 km northeast of Rarangi, where Pukatea Stream flows into Te Koko-o-Kupe / Cloudy Bay. Ngāti Rarua records that this was the first landing place of the Ngāti Rarua taua in the fight for Wairau. It was also a former fishing reserve of Rarua, Toa and Rangitāne, and a campsite and mahinga kai site. Rangitāne history: Puketea translates as a type of tree. This was where a Kurahaupo tupuna killed a taniwha. It was an occupation and fishing area.  Pukatea was a traditional tauranga waka and was used by Te Rauparaha and his allies during the invasion of Te Tau Ihu in 1827 (Insull). This site was taken as a reserve in the 1950s.
    whitesbay1.jpgSouthern end of Cook Strait's telegraph cable - Whites Bay 1871, Marlborough Museum, 0000.900.0735
    Click image to enlarge
  • Ruakanakana Creek
    A stream flowing near Renwick into Omaka River (was known as Gibsons Creek). Ruakanakana Creek is the place where weirs were dug to trap Lamprey eels (kanakana) on their annual migration – hence Rua Kanakana or pit of the Lampreys.
  • Takapōtaka / Attempt Hill
    A hill at 729 m on Rangitoto ki te Tonga / D’Urville Island, approximately 8 km north-northeast of Te Aumiti / French Pass. This was the name of the hill prior to European settlement.
  • Te Anamāhanga / Port Gore
    A bay between Cape Lambert and Cape Jackson adjacent to Cook Strait, approximately 3 km northeast of Endeavour Inlet This name translates as ‘Twin bays’. Te Huataki of Rangitāne landed here. Ngāti Kuia and Ngāti Apa also lived here.
  • Te Hoiere / Pelorus River (see Pelorus Sound above)
  • Te Koko-o-Kupe / Cloudy Bay
    A bay approximately 15.5km north-east of Blenheim extending from Robertson Point to White Bluffs/Te Parinui o Whiti and eastwards into Cook Strait. Ngāti Rarua history: The scoop of Kupe. The place that was scooped out or formed by legendary explorer Kupe. Rangitāne also translates this name as the scoop of Kupe. Kupe’s waka went aground at Wairau (Vernon) Lagoons. Ngāti Toa history: The wider Cloudy Bay region, encompassing both the Wairau and Port Underwood, was an extremely significant area to Ngāti Toa. Ngāti Toa was acknowledged to have possession of this Bay and it was a location of concentrated occupation. Ngāti Toa had both residences and cultivated lands in Cloudy Bay. Cloudy Bay was also an important centre of the thriving whale industry. The population did decrease in the late 1840s, however Ngāti Toa maintained their occupation of Cloudy Bay. Ngāti Rarua history: This name originates from the time of Kupe and his infamous pursuit of the octopus Te Wheke o Muturangi. The name literally translates as the Scoop of Kupe meaning the place or area that was scooped out or formed by Kupe.
  • Te Tara-o-Te-Marama / Mount Freeth
    A hill at 625 m, approximately 3 km southwest of Picton. Te Ātiawa and Ngāti Tama note that this was the maunga used for the whanau in the area; Ko Tara o te Marama – meaning ‘it is the peak of the moon’ (‘tara’ as in Taranaki). Rangitāne note that Insull’s Place names of Marlborough (pp. 47 & 51) translates this as ‘Moonlight mountain’. At a certain time of the year the rising moon follows the gradient of the maunga.
  • Te Whanganui / Port Underwood
    Ngāti Rarua: Te Whanganui means the large harbour. Ngati Toa: This was the largest and most concentrated area of Ngati Toa settlement in Te Tau Ihu; their interests in Port Underwood were based upon both conquest and effective occupation. According to Dieffenbach there were approximately 400 Ngāti Toa living in the ‘Cloudy Bay’ area. This community was led by Nohorua, Te Kanae and Rawiri Puaha and was centred on the mission and whaling industry. A pa and urupa were located on Horahora Kakahu Island in Te Whanganui. This is a very important historical and cultural site as this was the location at which a number of Ngāti Toa chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi.
  • Tokomaru / Mount Robertson
    A hill at 1036 m on the Robertson Range, approximately 6 km southeast of Picton. Ngāti Toa history: Tokomaru is a site of cultural significance. It is recognised as being te maunga o Ngāti Toa ki roto i te Wairau. Ngāti Rarua history: Sacred mountain for Ngāti Rarua within the rohe of Wairau. The name has origins within pre Aotearoa settlement and relates to a peak of the same name in Hawaiki. Translation refers to a toko or pole used within a tuahu or shelter erected on the summit of this peak that gives maru or shelter and protection over the whenua or plains of Wairau. Its significance to iwi is immense and is enshrined within the pepeha “ Ko Tokomaru te pae maunga, ko Ngāti Rarua te iwi…”.
  • Tūtūmāpou Hill
    A hill at 319 m, south of Te Hoiere / Pelorus River, approximately 1.5 km west of Canvastown and 10 km west-southwest of Havelock. Ko Tūtūmapou te Maunga Ko Te Hoiere te Awa Ko Te Hora te Pa Ko Ngāti Kuia te Iwi. The Ngāti Kuia translation means the bird snare (Tutu) in the mapou tree. The mountain was a regular food source of kereru for Te Hora Pa, which is still in use today. It is part of the Ngāti Kuia pepeha for Te Hora Marae.
  • Waikutakuta / Robin Hood Bay
    A bay southwest of the entrance to Te Whanganui / Port Underwood, approximately 10 km southeast of Picton. Ngāti Rarua describes this as the place of the water rushes. It was a former site of large Māori settlement, and an extensive cultivation site. This was the name used by Ngāti Rarua for Robin Hood Bay. However, the original name may only relate to a feature or natural marker within the Bay. The name Waikutakuta is recorded in a waiata tawhito of Ngāti Rarua titled “Ka kati i te karaka”. Ngāti Toa history: Robin Hood Bay, located in the south of Port Underwood was an area of concentrated Ngāti Toa occupation. The settlements of Cloudy Bay and Port Underwood were predominantly coastal, at locations such as Robin Hood Bay, however inland areas were heavily utilised for various resources. In the 1830s Te Rauparaha had a home in Robin Hood Bay, which he visited and occupied during the whaling season each year. Te Rongo, wife of Te Rangihaeata, is said to be buried at Robin Hood Bay. She was killed at Wairau during the 1843 incident.


Tohu Whenua - sites of significance

A Nelson City Council produced series of videos on landmarks and sites of significance, produced to celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Māori 2019

Updated April 2020

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  • Meretoro/Ship Cove Heading should read Meretoto - it's correct in text - probably a typo. Ed. thankyou

    Posted by Julie Kennedy, 23/04/2017 5:15pm (7 years ago)

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Further sources - Place names of Te Tau ihu



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