History and culture
Aerial view of Kapiti Island
Ko te Waewae Kapiti o Tara Raua ko Rangitane: the full name given by Māori to Kapiti describes the Island as the meeting place of the boundaries of Tara and Rangitane. Tara and Rangitane were the son and grandson of Whatonga who, in 1150 AD, divided the country by making a boundary from the southern tip of Kapiti Island straight across to the east coast of the North Island.
The land to the south he gave to Tara and the land to the north he gave to Tautoki, another son whose heir was Rangitane.
The waters between Kapiti Island and the mainland were once travelled by the waka of the Rangitane people, the Muaupoko and later those of Te Rauparaha of Ngati Toa who gained dominance over Kapiti by 1823.
This stretch of sea is called Rauoterangi Channel to commemorate the swimming feat of Kahe Te Rauoterangi, daughter of a Ngati Toa chief. Persuaded by a dream, she set out from Kapiti with her daughter strapped to her back, to warn allies on the mainland of a threatened attack. Te Rauoterangi was carried by the current to Te Uruhi, south of the Waikanae River and about 11 kilometres from the starting point. The child survived the crossing but died not long afterwards.
Getting there by land
Kapiti Marine Reserve is 30 km from Wellington city and is located between Paraparaumu and Waikanae beaches and Kapiti Island.
The marine reserve's only point of contact with the mainland is one kilometre of beach at the Waikanae River mouth. The only foot access to the reserve is from Waikanae Beach or Paraparaumu Beach on either side of the Waikanae Estuary and river mouth. There are walking tracks through Waikanae Estuary.
Getting there by sea
The nearest boat launching sites are located at the Waikanae and Kapiti boating clubs, though there are also boat ramps at Plimmerton and Mana.
Local boat services operate licensed trips to and around Kapiti Island and the marine reserve.