Dawson Falls were known to Māori as Te Rere-o-Noke (the falls of Noke), after a man who escaped his pursuers by hiding under them. Thomas Dawson was a post office official who, after being transferred to Manaia in 1878, spent much of his spare time exploring the mountain’s relatively unknown southern slopes. He found the 18-metre falls on the Kapuni Stream in 1883. Dawson drowned a few years later in a boating accident on the Whanganui River.
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