Mahana School

The Mahana Whakapapa

New Zealand History

We learned about the history of New Zealand and about the Nelson area and Mahana. We looked carefully at old pictures to find out about life in the time of the early settlers. We used what we learnt to create small scenes in the school production. Here are some photos from the production and some of the information we discovered.

Maori: Cook: Whalers:

Early Maoris came from Hawaiiki in ocean going waka (canoes). They were at sea for a long time so they had to take food and water with them. When they arrived they were often very short of food.             


European Explorers

The first European explorers were Abel Tasman and Captain Cook and they mapped a lot of the land from their sailing ships.                 


Sealers and Whalers

In New Zealand there was a big demand for products from whales and seals. They hunted whales with a spear called a harpoon. They beat the seals on the head with a club. These are both dangerous jobs because the whale could dive and bring the chaser down or the ship might not come back for the sealers. 



Missionaries came to New Zealand early on. They were people who taught the Maoris about God. They travelled around the country teaching and preaching.


Land Disputes

Settlers wanted land for farming. Sometimes there were disputes over land that turned into fierce battles. The townsfolk were sometimes scared that the Maoris would attack their town.              

murders: shipping:

Back in the old days logging was hard and dangerous. They used bullocks to haul logs. Logging was a big industry, selling logs and making boards for houses, but most of the work was done by hand sawing.       


When gold was discovered many men made their way to the gold fields to make money. Conditions were tough and only a few struck it rich.    


Coastal Shipping

In the early days you would go by horse and cart but roads were very bad. Many things were transported by small coastal boats. Nowadays we would send them by truck.

Kate Shepherd

Kate Shepherd led the fight for the women’s right to vote and won. New Zealand was the first country in the world to let women vote.          


Early Settlers

The very first settlers came on sailing ships. Before they built their houses they had to clear the land by burning and chopping down trees. They did this so they could build houses and plant vegetables and fruit. While they were doing this they lived in rough huts and canvas tents.       


Early Schools

The schools in the early days were pretty rough on the kids. There were sometimes two classes working in one classroom and children often sat at double desks. The teachers were quite strict. Some school boards were very strict too and wrote rules for the teachers.                 

World War I

Troops went to fight in World War One. One major battle which helped to give us a reputation as a nation was in Gallipoli, where soldiers fought alongside Australians and became known as Anzacs. They fought hard even though the battle wasn’t a success.              



It was very hard to get a job. Many men worked in the bush for low wages. There was very little money. Sometimes there were free soup kitchens because people couldn’t afford food or good clothes.         


Early Mahana

Many of the early settlers in the Moutere Hills came from Germany. Crops they grew were grapes, apples, hops, and tobacco. They also had sheep and cattle.    


Mahana Orchards

Apple orchards were important to Mahana. People picked them by hand and they were often shipped out from Mapua to Nelson because roads were not good.