MĀTAKITAKI is the correct spelling for the Matukituki River, which flows from Kā Tiritiri-o-te-moana (the Southern Alps) into the west side of Lake Wānaka. Both the West Branch and the East Branch of the Mātakitaki River originate from the Main Divide mountain ranges near Tititea (Mount Aspiring) and their largely glacier-fed waters flow for approximately 20 kilometres each before joining near Camerons Flat. During the 1879 Smith-Nairn Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Ngāi Tahu land claims, Ngāi Tahu kaumātua recorded Mātakitaki as a kāinga mahinga kai (food-gathering place) where tuna (eels), kāuru (cabbage tree root), and aruhe (bracken fernroot) were gathered.

2019-0660, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Collection, Ngāi Tahu Archive / Photograph: Tony Bridge.