The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 1 (April 2, 1934.)
The river flows from Goat Pass to join the Otira. It once used to be called Goat Creek. About 1900, Mr. G. J. Roberts, Chief Surveyor at Hokitika, sent a party to reconnoitre this river and the pass at the head of it, to see if it would provide an alternative route for the railway. Mr. A. N. Harrop and Mr. M. Shaffrey went up the river, and Mr. Harrop was responsible for the simple little names borne by the tributary creeks—Slip Creek, Gorge Creek, etc.
The name Deception was first used when he returned from his expedition and warned the railway engineers who were building the line up the side of the Otira Valley to watch the water from this river, for it was very deceiving. They had no idea of the quantity that could come down it. Within three months the Deception water rose to such an extent that it crossed the Otira Valley and did several thousand pounds worth of damage to the railway. The name Deception appeared on the maps after that.