50 Bridge Road

Te Aitarakihi Society Inc
P.O. Box 928
Timaru 7940

(03) 684 7906
(027) 684 7906

Te Aitarakihi History

Te Aitarakihi is the land at the end of the 90-mile beach, just south of Waitarakao (Washdyke Estuary).

Before the land was eroded by the sea, Waitarakao was a large lagoon, with the mouth flowing out to the sea at Dashing Rocks, near the outlet of the stream known as Taitarakihi.

The area is part of the long history of exploration and settlement of Te Waipounamu (South Island).

According to tradition Rākaihautū came to Te Waipounamu from Hawaiki over 1000 years ago in the canoe “Uruao” and landed at the Boulder Bank, Nelson, at much the same time Kupe reached Te Ika-a-Māui (North Island).

While his son, Te Rakihouia took some of the party down the east coast, Rākaihautū led the remainder through the interior to Foveaux Strait with his magic “Kō” (digging stick).  Rākaihautū dug the Southern Lakes (Te Kari Kari o Rākaihautū).

Te Rakihouia proceeded south in “Uruao” to Te Aitarakihi where he built an eel weir (the posts he left behind became known as “Te Pou o Rakihouia”), to wait for his father’s return.

Rākaihautū returned up the east coast and met up with Te Rakihouia on the stones of Te Aitarakihi.

The two parties proceeded on and made their headquarters at Banks Peninsula.  Rākaihautū was buried at Wai Kākahi.  Te Uruao lies as part of the Waitaki riverbed near Wai Kākahi, South Canterbury.