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Te Koko o Kupe / Cloudy Bay

Last Modified: 22-3-2021 20:43

Cloudy Bay
Cloudy Bay
© Christopher Cookson  License this image

Cloudy Bay is to the east of the Wairau Plain and faces directly into the Pacific Ocean. Known to Māori as Te Koko o Kupe (Kupe's dredge) after the legendary Polynesian navigator and explorer who is reputed to have visited the bay, Clody Bay was given its European name on 7 February 1770 by Captain James Cook while on his way south from the Sounds.

The bay's shores are characterised by gently sloping sand or gravel beaches and are only bisected by one river, the Wairau. A diversion from the Wairau which enters the sea near Rarangi was constructed to reduce flooding. At the southern end of the beach the White Bluffs separate Cloudy Bay from Clifford Bay while to the north there is rocky headland at Rarangi. The coastal environment provides a habitat for several unique plants and invertebrates found nowhere else. The coastal settlement of Rarangi is situated at the northern end of the bay, while at the southern end, the Wairau Lagoons form an important habitat for birdlife and a unique salt marsh ecosystem. The lagoons are separated from the bay by a narrow strip of shingle known as Te Pokohiwi or The Boulder Bank, formed by deposits of eroded material carried north by currents from the Awatere and White Bluffs.

Archeological evidence in the form of middens and urupā (burial grounds), indicate that the Wairau Bar was one of the earliest points of human settlement in New Zealand, and support the traditions that name both the bay and various other geographical features after Kupe. Carbon dating supports the arrival of the first Polynesians towards the end of the 13th Century.

 Commercial trawling and dredging for shellfish are the main economic activity in the bay but recreational whitebaiting and fishing for cod and kahawai are also popular. 

 

Cite this page

Te Koko o Kupe / Cloudy Bay. (2021) Retrieved June, 19, 2021, from https://www.marlboroughonline.co.nz/marlborough/information/geography/coastal-areas/cloudy-bay/

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