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The settlement was originally named Promised Land; it was changed to Arapito (Māori: 'End of the path') in 1908 when a post office was established in the town. The area was originally a Māori hunting trail, hence the name.
- Reed, A. W. (2002). The Reed Dictionary of New Zealand Place Names. Auckland: Reed Books. ISBN 0-7900-0761-4.
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