When our ancestors lived in Hawaiki many generations ago, the chief Taitewhenua gave the Uruao waka, his sea voyaging canoe, to Matiti. Matiti, a renowned tohunga kōkōrangi (astronomer) encouraged Rākaihautū to explore new lands and passed the canoe on to him.
Following the advice and learnings of Matiti, Rākaihautū began his exploration. With his crew, the Uruao landed in Whakatū Nelson, where the group split into two. Rākaihautū led his group by foot to Te Ara-a-Kiwa, Foveaux Strait. His actions made him known as the man who lit the fires of occupation on this island.
With his kō (Tūwhakaroria), Rākaihautū dug out the lakes and rivers of Te Waipounamu, marking the identity of land.
Through his travels, he carved out landmarks like the southern lakes Te Anau, Takapo, Pūkaki, Ohau, Hāwea, Whakatipu Waitai and Whakatipu Waimāori.
As he moved across the Ngā Pākihi Whakatekateka o Waitaha, he continued to carve out more lakes, some of which are Te Aitarakihi, Te Waihora, and Wairewa.
Once he completed creating the lakes he placed his kō, Tūwhakaroria, on top of a mountain and renamed it Tuhiraki. Today Tuhiraki overlooks Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū, the storehouse of Rākaihautū on the Banks Peninsula.