Te Kekeu is named after Hone Ropiha Te Kekeu ('Te Kekeu'), one of the principal chiefs of the local hapū, Ngāti Te Whiti and Ngāti Tāwhirikura of the Te Atiawa tribe in the 1850's. His pā (village site), Te Rai-o-miti was situated a short distance from Record Street next to the Waiwhakaiho River.

Te Kekeu was an influential leader for the people of New Plymouth during this time, he was a Native Land Assessor for the Crown and active in leading discourse to discuss the civil conflicts of 1858-59. He maintained a firm position to retain his people’s rights to the land while balancing large scale European immigration.

The letter goes on to say that he (Halse) is concerned about what arrangements natives could come to around the land deals and was convinced Ropiha would help the Pākeha cause.

Hone passed away at Rai-o-Miti Pā, in December 1858. His urupā (grave) is situated on the side of a cliff overlooking the Waiwhakaiho River, on Clemow Road in Fitzroy.