|• Total||5.3098 km2 (2.0501 sq mi)|
|• Density||1,400/km2 ( 3,600/sq mi)|
Kaiapoi is located in the Waimakariri District. In the 2006 census, the population of the town was 10,200, with a further 1,700 residents in the surrounding district. This represents a growth rate of 11% over the previous five years.
Kaiapoi takes its name from the Māori pā (fortified village) which was built just north of the site of the current town around the year 1700 by the Ngāi Tahu chief Turakautahi. Eventually to become the largest fortified village in the South Island it lay on the site of a stronghold of an earlier tribe, Waitaha whose history and traditions Ngāi Tahu eventually adopted. Tūrākautahi was the second son of Tūāhuriri, consequently Ngāi Tūāhuriri is the name of the hapu (subtribe) of this area. In selecting the pā site, Tūrākautahi determined that kai (food/resources) would need to be poi (swung in) from other places hence the name Kaiapoi which it is said can be translated as a metaphor for "economics". All manner of resources were transported along the waterways of the Rakahuri and Taerutu on their way to or from Kaiapoi, Pounamu from the Arahura river, Titi (muttonbird) from the islands around Stewart Island / Rakiura or Tūhua (obsidian) from Mayor Island / Tuhua and other resources all indicative of a sophisticated trading network between North and South Island tribes.
Conflict with Te Rauparaha 
The pā is often mistakenly called Kaiapohia, which is actually an insult to local Ngāi Tūāhuriri whose ancestors died in the pā after they were besieged by Te Rauparaha and his Ngāti Toa allies in 1832. The first attack made against Ngāi Tahu was at Kaikōura during 1827–28. Ngāi Tahu records state that the Ngāti Kurī people of Kaikōura came down to the beach to welcome their kinsmen, the hapu of Tū-te-pākihi-rangi of Ngāti Kahungunu, whom they were expecting as visitors. Instead, they found the fleet of canoes belonging to Ngāti Toa who, armed with muskets, attacked and killed them. Te Rauparaha and his tribes then visited Ngāi Tahu of Kaiapoi to trade muskets for pounamu. The Kaiapoi people soon learned of the attacks on their kin at Kaikōura and a Ngāpuhi warrior staying with Ngāi Tahu at Kaiapoi pā overheard the Ngāti Toa leader planning how they would attack the following morning. Already angered by the desecration of his recently dead aunts grave Te Maiharanui (Tama-i-hara-nui) ordered a retaliatory attack the following day, killing the leading Ngāti Toa chiefs, including Te Pēhi Kupe. The only prominent Ngāti Toa leader not slain was Te Rauparaha. Te Rauparaha returned to Kapiti Island to plan his revenge. In early November 1830, he persuaded Captain John Stewart of the brig Elizabeth to hide him and his warriors on board. They then visited the Ngāi Tahu people of Akaroa under the ruse of trading for flax. Captain Stewart persuaded Te Maiharanui to board the brig and be taken below deck, where Te Rauparaha and his men took the chief, his wife and his daughter prisoner. Te Rauparaha's men then surged ashore to sack Te Maiharanui’s settlement, Takapuneke. The brig returned to Kapiti with Te Maiharanui and his family held captive.
It is said that rather than see his daughter enslaved, Te Maiharanui strangled her and threw her overboard. Te Rauparaha then gave Te Maiharanui to the wife of the Ngāti Toa chief Te Pehi, who killed Te Maiharanui by slow torture. His wife suffered the same fate.
Te Rauparaha then mounted a major expedition against Kaiapoi Ngāi Tahu in the summer of 1831–32. Ngāi Tahu, lacking muskets to repel the armed Ngāti Toa, took a defensive strategy and hoped that Ngāti Toa would not be able to penetrate the wooden palisades surrounding the pā. The ensuing siege lasted for three months. However, during a skirmish between the two tribes, a shelter caught fire. Fanned by the nor’wester, the palisades quickly ignited, allowing Ngāti Toa warriors to enter the village, capture its leaders and kill the people. Ngāti Toa then attacked the Banks Peninsula tribes, taking the principal fort at Ōnawe, in Akaroa Harbour.
Kaiapoi is also known as the 'River Town' after the Kaiapoi River, a tributary of the Waimakariri River that flows through the center of the town. This was originally the main arm of the Waimakariri River, but extensive flooding led to a diversion so the majority of the water travelled down the South arm of the Waimakariri.
A freezing works (meat processing plant) was also a major employer in the town, and once this and the woollen mill had closed there was some economic turmoil in the town, and concern over its future. It however has survived and prospered, and although there is some local industry, a large percentage of the population works in the neighbouring city of Christchurch. One optimistic politician of the 1800s had even predicted that Kaiapoi would outsize its neighbour Christchurch. In some counts of the latter city's population, Kaiapoi is included as a suburb of Christchurch but most people from the area would maintain that it is a town in its own right.
Kaiapoi has many facilities and parks for sport and recreation. On the town border is Woodford Glen Speedway, the National Scout headquarters, and the Cure Rowing Club. Kaiapoi is represented by both Rugby codes. The Kaiapoi Rugby Club has its home ground at Kaiapoi Park, and the Northern Bulldogs, who play play in the local Canterbury Rugby League have theirs at Murphy Park on the banks of the Kaiapoi River. The Kaiapoi Bulldogs won their first Premiership title in 2007, the club's Jubilee 50th season.
Kaiapoi also boasts the furniture makers Blakeley's (of Kaiapoi), Blackwell's Department Store (demolished after sustaining damage in the September 2010 earthquake), a band rotunda, which has been moved from its former location on the south bank of the river, opposite the Kaiapoi Workingman's Club (where Sir Howard Morrison once performed), to the park opposite, by the red brick Kaiapoi Kindergarten. There is also the Doll's Hospital, Kaiapoi Borough, Kaiapoi North, and Kaiapoi High schools, the berth of the MV Tuhoe, which is more than one hundred years old, and the fact that former Prime Minister Norman Eric Kirk was the mayor of Kaiapoi.
Children used to be born here at the Kaiapoi Home, in Cass Street, opposite the public swimming pool. The oldest church in Canterbury, known as St. Bartholomew's, is here, as well as one large white wooden house, right round the corner from it, in Sewell Street, which used to be the Presbyterian Manse.
State Highway 1, which is a motorway at this point, passes by the west of the town. For many years, State Highway 1 ran through the town along the main street, but the Northern Motorway was built to replace it some years ago. The Main North Line railway runs through Kaiapoi, and the town once served as the junction for the Eyreton Branch, which provided rail access to communities west of Kaiapoi such as West Eyreton (though it ran to the north of Eyreton itself). This branch line opened in 1875 and closed fully by April 1965.
The river used to have a port before the construction of the Waimakariri River bridge, and was an important point for the transport of goods to and from Christchurch. Bucking the trend of river ports dying off in the middle of the 20th century, the port actually reopened for a decade between 1958 and 1967, to allow smaller ships to bypass the congested Lyttelton wharves.
At one stage, a walnut tree on one resident's property was so large, it was used to act as a landmark for pilots approaching Christchurch International Airport to get their bearings, before being cut down by the owner and his sons.
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2009)|
|This article may be in need of reorganization to comply with Wikipedia's layout guidelines. (December 2009)|
- "Kaiapoi residents feel 'singled out' by quake - Video". 3 News. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
- The Kaiapoi Pa[dead link]
- "2. The move south - Ngāi Tahu - Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand". Teara.govt.nz. 2009-03-04. Retrieved 2012-08-30.
- "Kaiapoi - Ti Kouka Whenua - Maori". Christchurch City Libraries. 1989-01-21. Retrieved 2012-08-30.
- A History of the Kaiapoi Woollen Manufacturing Company and Mill[dead link]
- "Ports and harbours - The Victorian era to 1960". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 18 March 2010.