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A Short History of the Name
'Omokoroa' originally applied to a much larger area as can be seen on some maps where 'Omokoroa' is shown at the location of the old railway station. (Still visible from Plummers Point Road.) Omokoroa No 1 school is not 'in' Omokoroa now. (See map image below.)
What we call 'Omokoroa' today was labelled "Omokoroa Beach" on early maps.
Omokoroa was named when Maori were settled at Wai Huri Pa at the headland of Omokoroa before the great fire when they shifted across to Ongarahu Pa (Rising out of the ashes) at the end of Plummers Point. [A must visit, to see some of the best-preserved defensive ditches in the country.]
As with many names in NZ, some settlers applied their own interpretations, finding meaning for themselves in the places they settled. For example, Omokoroa was named after the small white 'huhu' grub or a local chief 'Mokoroa' so the first European settler on the peninsula, Tice Gellibrand, named his farm O (the place of) Mokoroa.
More recently, because the peninsula protruding into the harbour resembles a long lizard, O (the place of) moko (lizard) roa (long), has gained traction and one will find lizard motifs decorating many homes in Omokoroa as tribute to this contemporary interpretation. As time moves on there are likely to be additional interpretations as more people settle in these places.