Ko Ōwairaka te maunga
Ko Te Whau te awa
Ko Te Waitemata, ko Manukau ngā moana
Ko Te Noho Kotahitanga te marae
Ko Ngākau Māhaki te wharenui
Ko Manaaki te wharekai
Ko Puukenga te whare manaaki
Ko Wairaka, ko Raukataura ngā tūpuna Ko Ngāti Whātua te ahi kaa roa

Ōwairaka is the mountain
The Whau is the river
Waitematā and Manukau are the harbours

Te Noho Kotahitanga is the marae
Ngākau Māhaki is the meeting house
Manaaki is the dining room
Puukenga is the support centre
Wairaka and Rakataura are the ancestors
Ngāti Whātua are the guardians of the land

There are many hapū and iwi today, who have connections to Unitec’s Mt Albert campus.

One of the earliest inhabitants of this area was Rakataura, the tohunga (priest) of the Tainui canoe. Wairaka, the ancestress of the Ngāti Awa people from Whakatāne, is also prominent. She is the ancestor that the Mt Albert area of ‘Owairaka’ is named after, and also the spring that runs alongside Unitec’s Te Noho Kotahitanga marae, called ‘Te Wai Unuroa a Wairaka’ (the long drink of Wairaka).

In 1840 Te Kawau, chief of Ngāti Whātua, invited Governor Hobson to visit the Waitemata district. He persuaded Hobson to move his capital to Auckland by offering his land, and in 1848 the Crown bought the area around the Whau inlet.

We acknowledge Ngāti Whātua as mana whenua, the primary tribal guardians for Unitec and Te Noho Kotahitanga marae.

19th Century

Building One, the main building at the northern end of Mt Albert campus, has been a social and architectural landmark since 1863. For much of the 19th Century it was used as a mental institution most commonly known as Carrington Psychiatric Hospital. The hospital closed in 1989 and was sold to Carrington Polytechnic in 1993.

Unitec today

In 1994 Carrington Polytechnic became Unitec Institute of Technology, and since then we’ve added two more campuses in Waitākere and in Albany on Auckland’s North Shore.

In 2009 Unitec’s marae Te Noho Kotahitanga was established with the opening of our stunning wharenui, Ngākau Māhaki, by Ngāti Awa and Te Arawa elders. Before this time, ‘Puukenga’, which opened in 1993, served as marae, wharekai, classroom space and administrative centre. The adjoining wharekai (food hall) was opened in 2012 by a Ngāpuhi elder.