Why is called the "Tararua Ranges"?

Most of the names of the Tararua Forest Park peaks and streams are Māori, named by the three iwi in the area; Muaupoko in Horowhenua, Ngāti Kahungungu in Wairarapa, and Rangitane around the Manawatu Gorge. The three iwi both have links to ancestors who arrived on the Kurahaupo canoe, they have different traditions relating to the origin of the name ‘Tararua’ itself. The Kahungungu legend comes from the ancestor, Rangikaikore, who broke his spear tip (tara) into two (rua) while hunting; the Muaupoko and Rangitane tradition is that the name means the two wives of their ancestor explorer, Whatonga. People have referred the name to two specific topographic features; the dramatic steep double peak on the main range, the Tararua Peaks; and the double peak of Mitre.

The Tararua peaks