Rapaki is one of four Banks Peninsula rūnanga (communities) based around marae (tribal meeting grounds). The Rapaki Marae, also known as Te Wheke Marae, is a meeting ground of Ngāi Tahu and its Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke branch. It includes Wheke wharenui (meeting house).
Rapaki is overlooked by the peak Te Poho o Tamatea. According to one legend, the Ngāi Tahu chief Te Rakiwhakaputa named the place by laying his waist mat (Rapaki) down to claim it. The full name of Rapaki is Te Rapaki o Te Rakiwhakaputa, meaning the waist mat of Te Rakiwhakaputa.
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