Ōputaputa takes its name — meaning
all got out and left — from an event that occurred in the bay.
The bay was renowned as a good spot for fishing. Long nets would be set across the harbour to catch shark and other fish which would then be cured and stored for the winter. On one occasion there was such a huge haul of fish in the net that all of the nets broke and the catch escaped.
“Putaputa” is also likened to the time of birth when the baby emerges — much like the bulge of fish that escaped back into the sea.
- Louis Vangioni, Māori names and traditions – Points of interest around Akaroa Harbour The Akaroa Mail, 1970