Turakina is an old Maori settlement situated west of Marton on State Highway 3 to Whanganui city. From 1876 to 1925 Turakina was known as Lethbridge, after a local settler but the name has reverted to the original name derived from the Turakina River, which cut its passage to the sea from a spring on Mount Ruapehu. The original inhabitants of the area were the descendants of the Kahui Rere and the Kahui Maunga, later naming themselves Nga Wairiki. However, after the migration of Ngati Apa from the Bay of Plenty toward Rotoaira then south to the Rangitikei river, they found themselves slowly being taken over by generations of intermarriage with the latter tribe. The Hapu or subtribe living continuously at Turakina to the present day is Nga Wairiki, whose marae, Tini Waitara, is on the beach road.
Scottish settlers arrived in the area in the 19th century, and their descendants still live there to the present day. Many Maori families intermarried with the Scottish also. Celtic feeling is still strong in Turakina; for example, highland games have been an annual event since 1864 and are held in late January, attracting many from around New Zealand turakinahighlandgames.co.nz