This huge sandstone slab, on the south Wairarapa coast, is named Ngā Rā o Kupe (Kupe’s Sails), as it resembles the sail of a Polynesian double-hulled canoe. Kupe is an early ancestor of many Māori tribes, and is said to have camped on the flats near this rock as he explored the coastline. But some oral traditions place Kupe later in genealogies, around 21 generations ago, or in the late 1400s – well after the accepted date of Polynesian settlement of 1250–1300. While genealogies are a rich and fascinating resource, they do not provide an exact date for human settlement.
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