Photo Journal: A Lazy Sunday Afternoon at Rāpaki, a scenic beach


We came out of church to find it to be a real warm and sunny day. Since we are heading for winter here it would be a waste letting such an opportunity go so we all headed for the beach to meet with friends at Rapaki.We took some food and something to drink and spent an evening at the waterfront in this beautiful sheltered bay. I would not be me without taking my camera. I was glad I had done so as the place had some simply stunning scenery.

It is not hard to realize how lucky you really are being able to have your children enjoy the water in a serene place like this.

About Rāpaki

Rāpaki is a small settlement east of Lyttelton Harbour. From the beach its bay there is a view across Quail Island and westward toward the mudflats at the head of the harbour. Rāpaki is home to one of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu’s five Banks Peninsula papatipu rūnanga, Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke.

The name ‘Rāpaki’ recalls the actions of the chief Te Rakiwhakaputa who threw down his rāpaki (waist mat) on the shores of Whakaraupō thus claiming the land for Ngāi Tahu. The full name of the bay is Te Rāpaki o Te Rakiwhakaputa. After securing Rāpaki as Ngāi Tahu territory, Te Rakiwhakaputa moved on to claim other areas and left his son Te Wheke to establish the settlement. When the Canterbury Association’s representative Captain Joseph Thomas arrived at Whakaraupō in the 1840s his favoured position for establishment of a port was Rāpaki. Rāpaki Māori preferred to maintain their land for themselves so the port was established at nearby Lyttlelton. (Source: Christchurch City Library)

The view from the road a bit further east

Many important landmarks and place names around Whakaraupō recall stories of exploits, adventures and battles of Ngāi Tahu and earlier Ngāti Māmoe ancestors. The maunga that overlooks Rāpaki is Te Poho o Tamatea (the breast of Tamatea) and is named after the explorer Tamatea Pōkai Whenua who is said to have climbed this peak to recite a karakia asking a tohunga to send fire to warm his people. Tamatea Pōkai Whenua is also recalled in the Māori name for the Port Hills, Ngā Kohatu Whakarekareka o Tamatea Pōkai Whenua meaning, ‘the smouldering boulders of Tamatea Pōkai Whenua’. (Source: Christchurch City Library)

Church & School

One you park your car the first thing you notice is the little church right next to where cars can be parked.

Through the 1850s the Rāpaki population grew and a Māori Mission was established there. In 1865 the Methodist missionary Te Kōti Te Rato moved to Rāpaki and the Rāpaki community built a church. The church was opened on 4 May 1869 with a multi-denominational service at which hymns were sung in Māori and English. The church has been supported by the Anglican, Presbyterian and Wesleyan ministries and is still used today for occasional services. (Source: Christchurch City Library)

A schoolhouse opened at Rāpaki in 1878. The school closed for a period but was reopened and operated from 1932 until 1946 when it was forced to close permanently on account of low student numbers. The schoolhouse has since been restored and is used today for meetings and gatherings. (Source: Christchurch City Library)

Gallipoli: the jetty

As could be seen in the first picture, the jetty makes for an amazing scene. The Rāpaki jetty opened for use in 1916 and was named Gallipoli in remembrance of local men who fought and died there in World War I. (Source: Christchurch City Library)

Next to the jetty some seagulls were enjoying their own little island waiting for eel scraps to be coming to them.

Some Additional Scenes

In order to get to the beach a small walk through the Rapaki Reserve is required. For those with lesser endurance there is a place to rest on a bench and enjoy the view.

When walking on it becomes clear this is a great spot to anchor your boat for a sheltered day on the water.

Or for some jet skying or in the open space of course.

But most of all the scenery struck me.

And then when you thought you’ seen it all a butterfly presents itself for a picture in all its glorious colors.

What a great afternoon.

Rapaki go and see it for yourself.

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8 thoughts on “Photo Journal: A Lazy Sunday Afternoon at Rāpaki, a scenic beach

  1. Pingback: Photo Journal: Who Needs Television with Skies Like This « The Desk of the Renaissance Man

  2. Pingback: Photo Journal: Random Impressions of the Last Week | The Desk of the Renaissance Man

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