The pass is named after Sir Arthur Dudley Dobson (1841–1934), who led the first party of Europeans across the pass in 1864. In 1863, Dobson went to the mostly unexplored West Coast of the South Island for seven months of survey work. His area of work extended from the Grey River to Abut Head, and inland up to the Main Divide.
On the side plaque of this Monument it reads;
To the Memory of Arthur Dudley Dobson, KT., Pioneer Explorer, Surveyor, Civil Engineer, who discovered this Pass March 12th 1864. Born Islington, London, England 1841. Died Christchurch, New Zealand 1934.