The settlement of Orepuki has had various locations, moving to suit the demands of those involved in gold-mining, shale works, coal mining and saw-milling. The township’s present location was established when the rail link from Riverton was finished in 1885. Gold was discovered in the black sand of its beach in 1865.
The name Orepuki comes from the areas original name “Aropaki” which referred to the sense of light and space that encapsulates the vicinity.
Rounded pebbles, formed from rodingite rocks, can be found resting on the beach at Orepuki.
These rocks are named after Roding River in the Nelson region and are a mixture of grossular garnet and diallage. Found in Cascade Creek in the Eglinton Valley on the way to Milford Sound, the rocks then make their way through lakes and down the Waiau River before eventually landing on the beach.