How Karangahape Road earned its name

Karangahape Road is well known throughout New Zealand but few are aware of the history behind its name. Its story is entwined with that of Hape, a successful explorer born with a club foot. His story, and those of other te hunga hauā (disabled people) will be shared over a two day hui, Ngā Tapuwae o Hape (the Footsteps of Hape) to be held at Makaurau Marae. Jointly hosted by the Human Rights Commission and the Disabled Person’s Assembly (DPA), the hui’s focus will be on how to improve the rights of all disabled people in Aotearoa.  Ike Rakena, a direct descendent of Hape, manages Makaurau Marae. Left tetraplegic after a rugby league accident, he acknowledged the kaupapa that sees his marae founded by an ancestor with a disability.

The ancestor Hape’s story is one of strength despite being cast aside. The Tainui ancestor’s name literally means ‘club foot’ and as Ike recounts it, when the time came for the Tainui waka to set sail from the ancestral homeland of Hawaiki to Aotearoa, the people were asked to pass test in order to get a place on the waka.  Ike says Hape failed this test, due to his clubbed foot, and he was left behind in Hawaiki.  The waka carried on its journey to the shores of New Zealand. The journey was long and soon many of those on board forgot about Hape.

When they landed on the shores of the Waitemata Harbour they received a reminder.

As the people disembarked they could see a man standing on the hill in the distance.  It was none other than Hape, the man they had left behind.  Hape, who some say, travelled by stingray to Aotearoa, had arrived weeks earlier. He stood on a hill and called to those who had left him behind on to the land. The event was known as Te karanga a Hape, and where it occurred is now Karangahape Road, or K’Rd in Auckland.

Ngā Tapuwae o Hape hui will be held on Friday 22 June at Makaurau Marae, 8 Ruaiti Rd, Ihumatao Mangere, Manukau City.

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