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Photo by Matt White

Year 9 Rāpaki marae and history trip.

Matt White —

As part of a school wide Turangawaewae - “our people, our place, our stories” theme our Year 9 students have visited one of Ōtautahi most picturesque locations, Rāpaki Marae. Students were able to experience a formal pōwhiri as well as learn the history of our region.

The visits started with a history kōrero of our school’s cultural narrative under our tī kouka (cabbage trees). On arrival at Rāpaki students learnt about the pōwhiri process and kawa before being welcomed onto the marae with karanga, whaikōrero, waiata and kai. After sharing kai the history of the marae and its carvings were told before being able to visit the local church and beach. Students were able to learn more about the migration of early Māori to Waitaha and the following story of Rāpaki:.


Rāpaki is a small settlement on Whakaraupō (Lyttelton Harbour). The people of Rāpaki are linked through whakapapa to Waitaha, Ngāti Māmoe and Ngāi Tahu. Rāpaki is home to one of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu's five Banks Peninsula papatipu rūnanga, Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke.

Te Rāpaki o Rakiwhakaputa

The story of Rāpaki recalls the actions of the chief Te Rakiwhakaputa who threw down his rāpaki (waist mat) on the shores of Whakaraupō thus claiming the land for Ngāi Tahu. The full name of the bay is Te Rāpaki o Te Rakiwhakaputa. After securing Rāpaki as Ngāi Tahu territory, Te Rakiwhakaputa moved on to claim other areas and left his son Te Wheke to establish the settlement.

Students are welcome and encouraged to bring their whānau back to the bay to learn more about the local area.