Whales were an important resource to pre-European Māori, and that’s reflected in several well-known names.
Whangaparāoa, the peninsula north of Auckland city, means Bay or harbour of sperm whales; whanga (harbour); parāoa (sperm whale).
Among the many explanations for the name Whāngārei is that it’s a shortened form of Whāngārei-terenga-parāoa: whanga (harbour); rei (rushing); terenga (place of swimming); parāoa (sperm whale).
Find these and many more definitions in Māori Place Names. For more about the book go to https://www.oratia.co.nz/product/maori-place-names/