Home' Special Magazines : Rodney Times Historical Insert Contents Focus On: Te Hana
The Te Hana affair was between Ngati Whatua chiefteness Te Hana, her
betroved Rangi-Whapapa and Ngati Awa chief Rangi-taumarewa about
It began when Rangi-taumarewa, who lived at Mahipatua near Lake Humuhumu, visited Te Hana
and wanted her for his wife, writes Brian Byrne in The Unknown Kaipara, Five Aspects of its
"Unfortunately for the chief, Te Hana was already betrothed to Rangi-Whapapa. Casting an atahu
spell over her, Rangi-taumarewa was successful in causing Te Hana to elope from her home,
make her well-recorded swim from Tauhara to Manukapua, to live with him." Outraged, Rangi-
Whapapa and his war-party invaded the district of Okahukura, capturing many villages and the pa
at Manukapua. Many people died including Rangi-taumarewa "whose death broke the atahu spell"
and Te Hana went on to marry him. Surviving Ngati Awa fled to southern Kaipara and the area was
from then on occupied by Ngati Whatua.
Te Hana: Te Hana Te Ao Marama depicts a pre-European 17th century style village. It's taken 10 years of fundraising by the Te Hana Community
Development Charitable Trust to get the town's cultural village facility built.
Image courtesy of: TE HANA TE AO MARAMA. www.tehana.co.nz
The tiny village of Te Hana has
weathered its share of boom
and bust since the 1860s.
A sawmill was opened by Mr R Nicholson, an Albertlander
who came to New Zealand on the Hanover, at the junction
of the Te Hana and Topuni creeks in 1862, with a cutting rate
of 7000 feet per week, after machinery arrived on the Prince
Consort, writes Wayne Ryburn in Tall Spars, Steamers &
"The timber trade was very dead, however, when the mill was erected, and
the requirements of the settlement were naturally not difficult to supply...when
settlers bought any timber from Mr Nicholson they paid for it in cattle, which
would be shipped by cutter to Helensville," writes Sir Henry Brett & Henry Hook
in The Albertlanders.
Railway came to the village in 1910 which opened up trade and transport to the
area and ended the steamer service to Port Albert and Otamatea. "Some 500
men were involved in the railway's construction," writes Ryburn.
The Te Hana bridge was built in 1917. Between 1928 - '29 the Topuni-Te Hana
section of the Great North Rd was re-formed but it took another eight years to
be sealed and was completed during the 1940s, writes Ryburn.
A new dairy factory was built at Te Hana in 1934 when the Port Albert Dairy
Company amalgamated with the Hakaru Dairy Company. "Suppliers came from
Port Albert and Kaiwaka, as well as from Wayby and Whangaripo...In 1935, the
first year of production, 841 tons of butter were produced from 292 suppliers,"
The town's primary school was amalgamated with Wellsford Primary School
in 1938 after improved roading had turned Wellsford into "the centre for local
education" with the district high school opening that year.
The dairy factory and main employer closed in the 1980s. Then fruit exporters
Port Berry Processors went into receivership in 1990. The village went into
decline with high unemployment.
In 2002, a determined group of locals formed the Te Hana Community Charitable
Development Trust and began ambitious plans to rejuvenate the village. After
10 years of planning, fundraising and hard work the almost $5 million Te Hana
Te Ao Marama cultural tourist village opened in June. It includes a pre-European
17th century style village. More than 500 people attended a dawn opening
ceremony to mark the occasion. The Ahi Kaa Gallery, selling traditional art and
craft made on site, was running prior to the opening. The facility now has a cafe.
The trust, which built the facility, aims to provide training and employment for
the area's residents.
The tiny town marks travellers' entrance to Northland. It now has arts and craft
studios and cafes on both sides of State Highway One as well as a petrol station
and a town hall.
For more information visit www.tehana.co.nz
Alove triangle, magic, an epic
swim, and war entwine the
legend of Te Hana.
By Sue Brebner-Fox
Banner: Te Hana, looking south along State Highway One.
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