Northland is where it all began...
Landing in the shores
Over a thousand years ago the great discoverer Kupe, on the ocean-going double hulled waka named Matawhaorua or Matahao, arrived and named this place Aotearoa. Kupe and his crew had travelled thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean guided by the stars, the sun and the moon, the currents, clouds, the wind and the birds.
Today, many iwi trace their ancestry back to Kupe and some of the oldest traces of Māori settlement, or kainga, can be found in Northland. Kupe returned to his homeland from Hokianga to inform his people of his discovery and so began many migrations.
The arrival of Europeans
In the late eighteenth century Europeans arrived, initially on voyages of exploration, followed by traders, whalers and sealers. News of the temperate climate, the fertile land and the potential of kauri logging and kauri gum filtered back to the homelands - a big motivation for the migration which followed.
Most of the region’s European population today are of British descent; many other ethnicities live in Northland including the Croatian community from the Dargaville area north, with a particularly strong heritage around Kaitaia. Waipu, a small town in Bream Bay, has a strong Scottish heritage and hosts one of the country’s most successful Highland Games, held annually on New Year’s Day.
He aha te mea nui o te ao?
What is the most important thing in the world?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
It is people, it is people, it is people
— A Māori proverb
More than 150,000 people now call this region home. Together, we are the Peoples of Northland.