Orepuki is a farming centre 30 km west of Riverton, on the eastern side of Te Waewae Bay. The discovery of coal and shale in 1879 put Orepuki on the map. Shale was extracted in huge amounts by the London-based New Zealand Coal and Oil Company. A mine was built, and extraction and processing works operated between 1899 and the beginning of 1903. The workers who stayed turned their hand to sawmilling, but this ended in the 1950s.

Meaning of place name
The name is a corruption of Aropaki (‘bright expanse’). The area is said to have been named by a group of Ngāi Tahu people as they emerged from the dense forest of Pahia Bush Hill and saw the bay for the first time.

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