Island Bay is the site of an old Ngāti Māmoe pā later occupied by Ngāi Tahu. The bay was known as Whakakai (Whangakai or Whakaki).
Off the eastern headland of Island Bay is the island known as Motungārara. Another place close to Waihora (Lake Ellesmere) bears the same name, perhaps based on the lizards that might have been found there and at Motukārara.
Close by between Island Bay and Long Bay is the cave Te Ana Kutete where it is reputed that water burials were carried out by earlier peoples from the Rapuwai tribe.
- Gordon Ogilvie, Banks Peninsula — Cradle of Canterbury, Government Printer, 2007
- Louis Vangioni, Māori names & traditions — points of interest around Akaroa Harbour The Akaroa Mail, 1970
- Louis J. Vangioni; with supplementary notes by D. J. C. Pringle, Old Maori place names around Akaroa Harbour, Akaroa : Akaroa Mail, 1967