The first settlers at Woodhill were of the Ngati Whatua tribe,
with their important marae at Reweti.
As early as 1820 when Samuel Marsden passed through, there was
friendly interaction with incoming Europeans, and by the 1880s there
was a well established settlement of farming families such as the
Holsts, Mackies, Pengellys and Vellenoweths, who had bought land.
People had travelled from distant areas and some of their descendants
Schooling quickly became a major concern to integrate the children,
and in the 1870s Richard Monk senior spoke these words in Maori
to his friend, Aperehama Uruamo (Porter), (Quote from the Woodhill
School Centennial Booklet): “Porter, it would be a good idea
to build a House of Learning for the children and future generations
to teach them to understand the English language, which will be
forever ahead of them".
These two men were instrumental in establishing Woodhill’s
first school. It was a punga-type whare as early as 1871 on Mr J
J Hoe’s farm with the headmaster, Mr W Fosbroke and his wife,
also a teacher, staying at the Hoes’. A Government school
was authorised in1876, before Helensville was granted permission
In earliest days the flat land bordering the Kaipara River was a
swamp, with many fallen kahikatea trees providing a kind of access
to the hills behind. These were cleared, as were fine stands of
puriri and kahikatea to be floated down the Wharepapa stream to
be taken up to the mills in Helensville.
Other early developments were the railway stations at Reweti and
Woodhill, established in the 1880s as the railway moved north beyond
Helensville. A Post Office was put first at Reweti and later at
Woodhill, and a store, built opposite Ambury’s Creamery on
the main road, was a general meeting place. The cream was taken
by rail to an Auckland butter factory.
The Woodhill Hall was a major community effort built at the turn
of the century and widely used for church services and community
celebrations and meetings. A library was housed within it in the
late1920s. Tennis courts were laid down between the hall and school
and used by a flourishing tennis club until well into the 1960s.
In the 1920s an important development took place. Reclamation of
the sand dunes encroaching on road and railway brought a new community
of forestry development workers, whose wives may or not have been
able to follow them.
In 1934, a nursery was established at Woodhill to supply pine trees
for the whole area. This created the nucleus for a later forestry
settlement of many houses on the hill, where wives and families
made a great contribution to the community life in general. In 1987
with the privatisation of Woodhill Forest this section was removed
and community life altered.
A tragic loss to the district was the Brynderwyn bus accident on
7 February 1963, when a group of Maori representatives from Reweti
were travelling home from meeting the Queen at Waitangi. The people
involved were the chosen ones and their loss is still felt by Maori
and European alike. In many ways the heart was knocked out of a
community hitherto working together - the effects have been far
reaching. Colleen Sheffield, author of Men Came Voyaging, was one
killed in this accident.
About 1970 the Woodhill store burnt down. There was no longer a
focus for gossipy gatherings, such a strong binding force for local
activity. Since then people have moved in all directions, but the
Woodhill School provides a strong community centre for new many