The Hokianga Harbour gets its name from the famous Polynesian explorer Kupe, who departed from there to return to his home in Hawaiki, long before Māori settlers arrived in New Zealand in the 1200s. The full name of the harbour is Te Hokianga-a-Kupe (the returning place of Kupe). Other places around the harbour were named by Kupe in recollection of events during his stay. In preparation for the return voyage his people made an earth oven on the harbour shore, but the food was cold, and Kupe cursed and banished them. This place was named Kohukohu (curse). Kupe left behind his taniwha, Ārai-te-uru, in the form of a reef. He also hurled his son Tuputupuwhenua into a spring, where he became a protective taniwha. Kupe named other rocks and places: Ngā Kurī-a-Kupe (Kupe’s dog), Pori Here (genealogical ties) and Ākiha (a taniwha at the mouth of the harbour).
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