The name Kaukapakapa is Maori with a translation of 'Kau' meaning 'to swim' and 'kapakapa' meaning 'flapping'.
It is thought that Kaukapakapa means 'to swim with much splashing'. One of the interpretations is the name may be derived from the sound that birds make when their wings take flight from the water.
The Kaukapakapa settlement began in 1860 with the arrival of three pioneer families including the Dye, Simcock and Dawson families. Land cost only 10 shillings per acre. When they arrived access was difficult and the pioneering families were very isolated. To reach the nearest town, Auckland, they had to walk 14 miles across country to Riverhead, and then take a boat down the Waitemata Harbour.
Flax milling and Kauri logging were early industries with the logs hauled by bullock teams to the Kaukapakapa River and rafted down to Helensville where they were squared and loaded into sailing ships for Australia or transported by rail to Auckland.
There are descendants of the settling families still living in the area and they, combined with newcomers, create a vibrant mix of people. Just like the first pioneers to the village there are a lot of people working for themselves from home or for small businesses, and people are ready and willing to give each other a hand and do things for the community.