The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 11 (February 1, 1936)
The Gisborne Section
The Gisborne Section.
Ma=short for manga, branch of a river, creek; karaka, the tree growing abundantly on the banks.
Wai=water; hirere=gushing, or spurting out.
Literally, as it stands, smoky river, but correctly it is Wai-o-Paoa, Paoa's River. Heroic legend attributes the origin of the river to the ancestor Paoa.
A war-song; also to blow, spout; a wild vegetable (sow-thistle), also called rauriki.