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Roads

Garden Road – originally Maori Garden Road, named because in the late 19th century Maori living in a kainga at the end of the road grew vegetables which they traded with local settlers

Glen Esk Road – Glen Esk is one of the Angus Glens in Scotland and is still a very remote area, famous for hunting and shooting. Dr William Stockwell, original Pakeha owner of Piha, gave the name to the area as it reminded him of that part of his Scottish homeland. It was also the name given to the Kitekite Falls until the Maori name was restored in the 1990s.

Pendrell Road – the maiden name of the wife of Robert Campbell who subdivided the area

Rayner Road – named after Dr Frederick Rayner, who owned most of Piha in the early 20th century and the Piha Mill. His estate subdivided Piha

Te Ahuahu Road – named for the pa and headland on the coast

Features – Pakeha names

Beehive Rock – rock shaped like a beehive on north side of Camel Rock

Camel Rock – because it looks like a camel from the beach.  Also historically called Rabbit Island. Maori called it Taitomo because of the hole through the island

Cub Rock – rock along North Piha Beach. Also called Monkey Rock

Darkey’s Hill – on the way to Piha, where a Jamaican, Martin Saunders, lived

Dawson’s Ledge – on the north side of The Gap, a favourite but dangerous fishing spot. Named after Mr Dawson who lived at the top of Piha Hill and was washed off the rock, but saved, in the early years of the 20th century

Flat Rock – flat, rocky shelf on southern seaward side of The Gap

Gentle Annie – steep hill to south of The Gap running up to end of Log Race Road

Green Rock  -cave-like cliff facing Camel Rock on the way to The Gap. Stream dripping over top has caused a green slime to grow

Keyhole – passage through Camel Rock

Kingstons’ Corner – bluff, site of the Otokitoki Pa, between Wekatahi and Marawhara Streams, named after Jack and Joan Kingston, long-time residents

Lion Rock – named because it looks like a lion in profile – Maori name Piha or Whakaari

McElwain’s Road – now Anawhata Road – named after an early land owner

Nun Rock – seaward of Camel Rock, looks like a nun in profile, though recently pieces have dropped off. Also called Priest Rock

Sunset Point – high cliff on south side of The Gap

Victoria Rock – the needle-shaped rock on the south-west tip of Lion Rock. Looks like the dowager Queen Victoria in profile

Wedding Cake – rock off Dawson’s Ledge, visible from top of Camel, in big surf streams with white foam

Features – Maori names

Arerua – two tongues, White’s Beach

Hikurangi – the high hill to the south of Piha – a common name throughout the Pacific – means “the mount touched by the last rays of the sun”

Kitekite – properly Ketekete, the name relates to a revenge attack by Te Kawerau a Maki on visitors from South Kaipara. Ketekete was the clicking sound that Te Kawerau made to communicate in the lead-up to the attack.

Kohunui Bay – far northern end of North Piha – the bay is often filled with a thick sea-mist or “kohunui”

Makimaki – where Maki had a fight, now Monkey or Cub Rock. Tamaki named after Maki, he was a very famous person

Marawhara – Kupe threw his cloak in the sea and it floated onto the shore at North Piha

Maungaroa – the long mountain ridge, an old name from the Pacific

Nga Wai Whakatu a Kupe – the rough sea of Kupe, the sea off the coast. Kupe came down from the Pacific and was being pursued along the Coast. He made the sea rough so people couldn’t catch him.

Pakiti – properly Pakirikiri – the place where you catch rock cod

Piha – Te Piha, the divided ripple at the prow of a canoe, denoting the waves breaking on the front of Lion Rock

Puaotetai Bay – “foam of the sea” – area between Taitomo Island and the mainland where large drifts of foam often gather. Pua means foam

Rangitunoa – the “profane”, common, or non-sacred hill at the south end of the beach

Taitomo – the island with the cave through it – “the passageway of the sea”

Takatu – cliffs to south of Piha, mean “the big drop”

Te Ahuahu – the sacred mound

Te Kamaka – pohutukawa on the rock, the gateway and spiritual essence of Piha

Te Pona Whetu – little hill at back of North Piha. Maki’s son, Ngawhetu,  hurt his hand in a fight at North Piha and his knuckle stuck up.

 Te Rua o Kaiwhare – The Blowhole – the lair of the taniwha Kaiwhare

Te Ungiungi – an area in Kitekite Valley, ungiungi are lichens on trees

Te Unuhanga o Rangitoto – Mercer Bay – the chasm from which Rangitoto was drawn by the tohunga, Tiriwa

Te Waha or Te Wahangu – “dumb mouth”,  headland at the north end of North Piha – the pa where people were speechless and subdued – this name came about when children on the pa above the beach sent a toetoe dart over the cliff edge which grazed the head of a tohunga on the beach below, who because of the indignity to which he had been subjected, cursed them and said that henceforth the people of the pa would not be able to speak

Wai o Kahu – Piha Stream and Valley – the water of Kahukeke, wife of Raukataura, the senior tohunga of the Tainui canoe

Waitetura – North Piha – the wide and expansive bay

Wai whaka tai – the stream overwhelmed by the sea, today called Marawhara Stream, by North Piha Campers’ Club

Wekatahi – the single or solitary weka, the weka found on his own. Weka were an important food source. Wekatahi was the site of the last main kainga lived in my Te Kawerau a Maki.

Whakaari – the landmark, it sticks out, Lion Rock

Maori names restored to West Coast landmarks

As part of the Te Kawerau a Maki Claims Settlement Act 2015, the New Zealand Geographic Board has restored the traditional names to parts of the West Coast and wider Waitakere. Three new names have been given and 14 geographic names have been altered, usually by adding the Maori name to existing English names. Most are listed  [ Read More ]