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Moeraki is a small fishing village on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It was once the location of a whaling station. In the 1870s, local interests believed it could become the main port for the north Otago area and a railway line, the Moeraki Branch, was built to the settlement and opened in 1877. However, the port could not compete with Oamaru and the lack of traffic as well as stability problems caused by difficult terrain led to the closure of the railway in 1879 after only two years of operation.The village is best known for the nearby Moeraki Boulders.Name'Moeraki' is usually translated as 'sleepy sky'. There are other places with the same name or versions of it, all along the path from the Polynesian homeland, Hawaiki.HistoryThe south side of the Moeraki Peninsula has an Archaic (moa hunter) Māori site at Waimataitai lagoon, which Atholl Anderson dated as 13th century, placing it in the second wave of New Zealand's early human occupation. Gavin McLean tentatively linked its occupants to Waitaha, conventionally the third iwi, or tribe, to arrive in southern New Zealand, after Kahui Tipua and Te Rapuwai. Waitaha's expedition leader was Rakaihautu. However, as McLean notes, 'Waitaha' is also a name simply used to designate all the peoples preceding Kati Mamoe and Kai Tahu ('Ngāti Mamoe' and 'Ngāi Tahu' in modern standard Māori) the last two arrivals before the European. It is safe to say Waimatatai is a 'Waitaha' site in that broad sense but there are no specific families it can be linked to. Moeraki is in Otago Region. To arrange what you want to do in Moeraki, use our New Zealand road trip planning site .
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Popular things to do in Moeraki


Side trips from Moeraki

Duration:2​h 30​min

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