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Maori ancestor Hau named the Rangitikei River when pursuing his wife and her lover southward from Taranaki some 600 years ago. With long strides (tikei) he moved one day (rangi) to the river he then called Rangitikei (the day of striding out).
Nothing has influenced the region’s landscape more than the mighty Rangitikei River as it has carved its way from its headwaters in the Kaimanawa Ranges to the Tasman Sea in the south, forming passages of majestic river canyons with boulder-strewn gorges of violent whitewater, alternating with quiet stretches of sparkling trout laden pools, to provide superb rafting, kayaking, camping and fishing experiences.
The sheer papa (mudstone) bluffs which define the river are the shining white iconic feature of the Rangitikei, separating this ribbon of clear pure water from the surrounding trees, plants and pasture growing on the rich and fertile soils of its hills and plains.