History / Heritage

Te Tai Tokerau is rich in history. In Māori legend, the North Island was an enormous fish, caught by  Māui. So Northland is sometimes referred to as Te Hiku o Te Ika, ‘the tail of the fish.’

Northland iwi claim that Kupe made landfall at the Hokianga, although others claim this was at Taipa. If so, we can rightfully claim that our region was ‘the birthplace of New Zealand.’

Some of the oldest traces of Māori kāinga, fishing villages, can be found here. If the Māori regard our region as the legendary birthplace of the country, there can also be no doubt that it was the European starting-point for the modern nation of New Zealand.

Traders, whalers and sealers were among the first arrivals, and the gum and timber of the mighty kauri trees brought more colonisers.

Missionary Samuel Marsden arrived in 1814. Russell, formerly known as Kororareka, was the first permanent European settlement and Kerikeri contains many historic buildings, including  The Stone Store, New Zealand’s oldest building.

Waitangi is of even more significance, as the signing place of New Zealand’s founding document, The Treaty of Waitangi, between Māori tribes and the British Crown, in 1840.

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