Maketu history begins with the first human settlers arriving in New Zealand (Aotearoa) round 1350a.d. when the Te Arawa canoe landed many Maori settled in Maketu while some continued their journey inland using the Kaituna River as far as Rotorua. In 1769 the Britsh explorer Caption James Cook sailed passed Maketu shortly following Cook’s arrival in New Zealand, whalers, trader , and missionaries began to arrive. And the prosperous Maori settlement of maketu was in their sight. The abundant fishing grounds, easy access to timber and flax, and rich in agricultural land made Maketu a prime location.
Maketu is named after the ancient kumera (sweet potato) pit in Hawaiki, the mythical place where, according to Maori oral tradition, the M?ori sailed from.