The Land’s Story

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Our Land’s Story | How it all came about

Te korero mo te hunga i haere mai i mua i a tatou:

Our land’s story begins with the legend of Kupe. The legend tells that Kupe and his tribe were having trouble competing for fishing grounds on Hawaiki. This was because an octopus belonging to Kupe’s rival, Muturangi, prevented Kupe from catching any fish. Kupe chased the octopus all the way across the sea until Hine-te-Aparangi called out that she saw a long cloud in the distance. This indicated that there would be land. Hence, Aotearoa was discovered and christened ‘the land of the long white cloud’.

Kupe, guided by the shine of a mountain, pulled into the Hokianga Harbour less than 100km away from Huanui. Here he stayed and equipped for his journey back to Hawaiki. After Kupe returned to Hawaiki, voyagers Nukutawhiti and Ruanui set off to make the first colonies of Aotearoa. It is estimated that they arrived in Aotearoa in 1350 AD and soon after they became violently divided. Peace was met in the North however, Rahiri, a descendant of Kupe and Nukutawhiti, divided the land of the Hokianga and Tumarere amongst his sons. Legend says that he did this by letting the will of the wind guide a kite, allowing the string to create the borders. Thereafter, Rahiri forged an alliance system that spanned from Hokianga to the Bay of Islands. This alliance system eventually formed into the tribe of Ngāpuhi.

Settling the Land

As a part of this expanse of tribal control, the Pehiaweri settlement was built in what is modern-day Glenbervie. During the musket wars in the 1820s, the Ngāpuhi tribe defeated several tribes and expanded at a time that most tribes were declining. They developed strong ties with Europeans in trade and were positioned in a vital spot for European contact as they had control of the Bay of Islands. The Ngāpuhi power began to slip however after Hone Heke’s protests of colonial power in 1845-46 resulted in a war between Ngāpuhi and the British. This was despite 43 Ngāpuhi chiefs signing the Treaty of Waitangi. Ngāpuhi lost 72,000 hectares of land to the Crown. From 1865, a further 201,000 hectares were confiscated and given to the Native Land Court. Today there are close to 130,000 Ngāpuhi people, which makes then a powerful presence in New Zealand culture.

Farming the Land

In 1873, the Huanui farm was formed by the Hutchinson family. The farm produced honey, dairy, beef, chaff and fruit from the orchard. In WWII the area was temporarily converted from farmland to a G5 army base. As the Japanese forces were taking island after island in the Pacific, the Allies were preparing for a possible invasion of New Zealand. It was crucial that any invasion was prevented as the country could supply the Japanese army with valuable resources. The dry stone walls that skirt the roads alongside the College were constructed by Dalmatian immigrants who had fled modern-day Croatia from both the travails of WWI and the Great Depression. Rocks from these walls are believed to have originated from the Puketotara volcano near Kerikeri. These walls are now an iconic symbol of the Glenbervie countryside.

Conception of Huanui College

Huanui College was established on 8 February 2010 and officially opened by the Honourable Heather Roy and Mayor Stan Semenoff on March 10, 2010 at the College Opening Day and was blessed by the Reverend Hake Parata and he tangata o Pehiaweri Marae.

The school came about by the vision of its founder, Mr Evan Hamlet. Evan, originally from Dargaville, established the College to provide high quality independent education. The College aims to develop students’ talents and abilities in a learning environment that encourages excellent attitudes to learning and life within a caring community that involves parents in their child’s education. As our school reaches the end of its first decade of existence, we can reflect on the nature of time and its passing. You may forget the trivial and mundane or focus on monumental moments which tell a story and may be easily digested.

The true nature of time however, is far more complex than the stories we choose to tell ourselves. Such stories often leave out the humanity of those involved. This makes us feel distant and helps us to see ourselves as separate from those of the past. In reality we are one and the same is so when discussing “Our Land’s Story”. Do not forget that “our” is not a reference just to those living but refers to the community we have built, spanning generations and cultures. The challenge to you is to see yourself as temporary yet send your story on to the future from the place we all share; this land.

Written by Cuchalain Howard, Head Boy, 2020

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