In Maori the land is named Te Punatapu, which means ‘the sacred waters’. Historically this cove was a campsite for Maori, a reliable stop on the pounamu (greenstone) trail to the head of the lake.
In the 1870s, seven kilns were built to burn limestone, the resultant product ideal for use in building mortar and agricultural fertiliser. One intact kiln can still be seen here. Also at this time native red beech (tawhi raunui) was logged for this industry, with gum trees being planted in replacement. The distinctive smell and light from these gums continues to provide a wonderful ambience to the area.