HISTORY OF THE LANDING
For hundreds of years the Purerua Peninsula has attracted settlers with its fertile land and abundant marine life. The Landing, standing at the southwestern tip of the peninsula, stands on some of New Zealand’s most historically significant land and has been developed with the blessing and contribution of the local iwi (Maori Tribes).
Scattered with evidence of Maori settlements dating back between 200 and 700 years, The Landing has several sites of particular cultural and heritage importance, and the land where these lie is held in a charitable trust to ensure their preservation.
Maori have lived in this place for around 700 years. Rangihoua and Wairoa Bays were home to Maori settlements for centuries before the first contact with European settlers in the early 1800S and in 1807 the Maori Village of Te Puna – then located at The Landing – was described as ‘the capital of the country’.
The first missionary leader, Reverend Samuel Marsden, landed at Oihi – a short walk from The Landing – in December 1814 and his arrival marked the beginning of European settlement in New Zealand.
Reverend Marsden played an important role in the settlers’ arrival, preaching the country’s first Christian sermon at Oihi on Christmas Day 1814. He is also credited with planting New Zealand’s first grape vines in 1819, after he recognised the potential of the land’s clay-rich soil and long sunshine hours. Northland formed the foundation for what is now a successful wine industry.
Among the first European settlers on the land were Thomas and Elizabeth Hansen. Their eldest child, Hannah King Hansen, is believed to be the first European child to be born – and survive – in New Zealand. In 1830 Thomas planted a Norfolk pine to mark Hannah’s birth, a magnificent tree that still stands at The Landing today.
The Bay of Islands is also the place where The Treaty of Waitangi, modern New Zealand’s founding document, was signed between the Maori people and the British Crown in 1840. This treaty made New Zealand a colony of Great Britain and is considered to be the nation’s founding document.