Te Takoto O Te Whenua O Hauraki Hauraki Landmarks by Taimoana Turoa

Edited by Te Ahukaramu Charles Royal

Reed Publishers 2000


NB. The following information and quotes are solely from the above book. For full details and to ensure 100% correct context please read the book; it is a very thorough history of the area through the placenames researched


Contemporary Name

Place Name




Te Karaka

‘the grove of karaka trees’

Noted that Karaka trees still line the stream. “Te Maunu, a high-born chief of Ngāti Maru, resided at his place and owned extensive cultivations.” At the latter part of the 18th century, where the present hospital stands, lived Ngāti Maru Chief Hauāuru.


Te Kauae-ranga

‘the stacked row of jawbones’

The name has been given various meanings over the generations. “Te Kauae-ranga originally commemorated the stranding of a pod of whales in the area.” Later relates to “fallen Ngāti Huarere Chiefs,” the name referring to a row of jawbones set out following a battle. At the mouth of the Wai-whakaurunga River was a large pā (where the present town stands). “In 1842 this area was given the name Shortland after the then acting governor of New Zealand Willoughy Shortland, transliterated by Hauraki Māori as Hoterini. The Ngāti Maru chief Te Hauāuru Taipari also adopted the name Hoterini (Shortland) and called his son Tīkapa, Wirope, after Sir Willoughby.”



‘waters of the taiari (a species of small shark)’

“This was an early pā.”



Ō-Tohi: ‘The place of baptismal rites’

The original name of the bay was Ō-Tohi. At the end of WWII the European settlers of this new community were looking for a name acceptable to all. Lieutenant Te Moananui-a-Kiwa Ngārimu of Ngāti Porou was “awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.” The residents got the approval of his parents to name the bay after their son to commemorate his bravery.



‘river sediment and silt’ and ‘a finely woven flax cloak’

The tidal rivers at Thames had been prone to flooding for generations, the flatlands surrounding these waters built up with silt. “After each successive flood, the land assumed the appearance of an outspread cloak mottled and streaked with forest debris.” “Pārāwai was the site of the great Marutūahu meeting-house Hotunui until the 1920s, when it was shifted to the Auckland museum.”


Te Anaputa-o-Tainui

‘the perforated rock of the Tainui canoe’

“The Hauraki taniwha Ureia led the TAINUI canoe into the calm waters of the gulf on its arrival from Hawaiki” and sheltered in Ureia’s Cave having moored their canoe to an imposing arched rock. For many centuries the promontory stood like a shrine “sadly most of this feature was destroyed when nineteenth-century gold-mining brought road construction.”


Te Tararua-o-Hinetekakara

‘the exposed pubes of the lady of intoxicating fragrance’

Te Tararua-o-Hinetekakara referred to the hill 695m high inland of Tararu settlement. The hill was the source of sandstone used in the making of stone implements and was extensively quarried by early inhabitants. Te Arawa chief Kahumatamoemoe on seeing the exposed sides of the hill ‘wryly remarked that it reminded him of certain physical features” of his daughter Hinetekakara.


Te Puru (earlier Te Āputa)

‘the blockage, the plug’

Te Āputa (wide open flat land’) was Te Puru’s previous name. The Te Puru stream originally went into to the sea south of present position, “a blockage caused by a landslip upstream” caused waters to dam and when they burst the stream was diverted to its present position. It was the Ngāti Tamaterā tribal area.


Te Wharau

‘a shelter (built for travellers)’

 The name Te Wharau “was commonly used until the postwar years when it gradually fell out of use.” IT is “physical seaward boundary between Ngāti Maru to the south and Ngāti Tamaterā in the north.”


Te Tōtara

‘the native red pine’ (‘totara’ is also a poetical name for longstanding)

An ancient pā, part of 14 between Tararu and Kopu “built by the early Ngāti Huarere before the invasion of the all-conquering Marutūahu in the sixteenth century.” On 5/9/1821 Hongi Heke left the Bay of Islands with 3000 warriors and began attacking Hauraki and Tamaki tribes. When they reached Te Tōtara pā they fought the Ngāti Maru for 2 days, before finally negotiating a peace. Heke left but then returned overland from Tararu and they slaughtered the sleeping occupants. The site became tapu and was “immediately abandoned” due to immense loss of life and spilling of blood. This area was later developed as a cemetery for Thames.




Wai-o-karaka was a section of Ngāti Maru, these areas had a pā, Kainga (village) and cultivations.



‘the waters in which the menses were cleansed away

The stream used to flow from the site of an old Ngāti Maru pā (Te Koronae-iti) to the sea, but was diverted during the early days of the goldfield. “When young women were experiencing their first menstruation, they were placed under very strict tapu and were isolated from many of the daily activities.” A special whare was built by the stream, and the waters used to cleanse them.



‘the sea waters shaped like a cooking oven’

 Home of the Ngāti Tamaterā hapu, “Scottish doctor and entrepreneur Logan Campbell” “lived with the people here in 1840 and found them very friendly and obliging.” There were many pā on the hills. Older Maori inhabitants use the spelling and pronunciation “Wai-oumu” rather than Wai-ō-umu that was used since the 19th century.


Whakatete (earlier Ō-Toi)

‘disputed (land)’

When the Maori land was being made for goldmining in 1867 there was disagreement of ownership between different groups. Sub-tribes of Ngāti Maru claimed ownership, the matter went to the Native Land Court and tribes agreed to share the land eually. “Prior to this, the area was called Ō-Toi, the place belonging (presumably) to the early Polynesian explorer Toi-te-huatahi.”