The Māori name for the glacier is Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere ('The tears of Hine Hukatere'), arising from the oral traditions of local Māori: Hine Hukatere loved climbing in the mountains and persuaded her lover, Wawe, to climb with her. Wawe was a less experienced climber than Hine Hukatere but loved to accompany her until an avalanche swept Wawe from the peaks to his death. Hine Hukatere was broken-hearted and her many, many tears flowed down the mountain froze to form the glacier. The first European description of one of the west coast glaciers (believed to be Franz Josef) was made in the log of the ship Mary Louisa in 1859. The glacier was later named after Emperor Franz Josef 1 of Austria by the German explorer, Julius von Haast in 1865.