Ōtākou Runaka is near the end of Otago Peninsula, Dunedin. Traditionally, the Otago Harbour has been of significant importance as a food source for the Ōtākou people and in particular, the cockle or tuaki as they are locally known.
Tuaki have been an important food source for Muaupoko (Otago Peninsula) Maori for generations. The whole area was once speckled with many kaik (villages) and Pukekura (Taiaroa Head) was an important fortified pa.
Ōtākou is 'home' to Waitaha, Rapuwai, Kati Hawea and Kati Mamoe; where in the early 19th century, Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Māmoe and Waitaha had blended into a single tribal entity. Our tūpuna laid claim to the eastern coast of Otago stretching inland to Wakatipu and Piopiotahi (Milford Sound). The original settlement was centred on Pukekura, the fortified pa at Taiaroa Head, and the Otago Harbour. Ōtākou was the name of a channel running in the lower harbour and became applied to the entire region. Of significant importance is Ōtākou Marae, which was one of the places where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840. Those who signed were descended from ancestors of all three tribes.