The Maoris knew the strait as Raukawa. The origin and the meaning of the name are obscure.
The European name is, of course, after Captain Cook and it appears on the chart of 1770. It seems likely that the name for the strait was agreed upon by Cook only because he was pressed to do so by members of the Endeavour party, especially Joseph Banks.
by Thomas Ludovic Grant-Taylor, M.SC., New Zealand Geological Survey, Lower Hutt.