Paekākāriki was named by the tohunga, Haupipi-a-Nanaia (Hau). He was the great grandson of Kupe, and was married to Wairaka from Poverty Bay. She was the daughter of Toroa, Captain of the Mataatua waka. The story is told that Hau’s wife had been lured away from his whare by another and they fled down the coast. As Hau followed them, he named various places because of incidents that occurred. At one place, he was impressed by the abundance of the green birds he came across and so named the area Paekākāriki – the perching place of the green Kakariki.
South of Paekākāriki, Hau found his passage blocked. So, by his powers of magic, he opened a hole – the Cave or aperture of Hau. He then proceeded, looking about him as he went, and saw Wairaka seated before him. He sprang forward, caught her and killed both of her boyfriends. Then he ordered Wairaka to procure some paua shellfish for him. He watched her in the sea and called to her to go further out – and so she went out further into the sea. When Hau deemed the time was suitable, he repeated the mātāpou, a magic spell. And so Wairaka became frozen, and to this day still stands there in the form of a stone.
Paekākāriki has been:
- a railway town
- the home of Ngāti Haumia
- a stop on the old coach road north
- a camp for 15,000 US Marines during World War II
- the perching place of the green parakeet, kakariki.
- the perfect place for a day at the beach
- a haven for city workers
- the home of Steam Incorporated
- a community of artists and writers
- the starting point for the Te Araroa “Station To Station” escarpment walking track.
Enjoy the village
- arts and craft shops
- great food, tea, coffee,
- stroll in Queen Elizabeth Park
- picnic at the beach, breathe the sea air
- look around the Station Museum displays
- inspect Steam Locomotives and Carriages at Steam Incorporated
- wander around the Paekākāriki Arts Walk and view the poetry panels and mural.
- Paekākāriki’s story
- follow the signs and explore the village history