The Rakaia river was formerly known as Ō Rakaia meaning
the place where people were ranged in rank. It was a traditional mahinga kai of the Ngai Tūāhuriri people of Kaiapoi.
The Rakaia river mouth is the site of many earth ovens that were used for cooking moa. Up to 1000 oven sites have been recorded in this area, indicating that large scale specialised moa-hunting for food supply was carried out here.
- Te Maire Tau, Anake Goodall, David Palmer & Rakiihia Tau. Te Whakatau Kaupapa: Ngāi Tahu Resource Management Strategy for the Canterbury Region, Aoraki Press, 1990
- Aidan J. Challis, Ka Pakihi Whakatekateka O Waitaha: The Archaeology of Canterbury in Māori Times, Department of Conservation, December 1995