I have been approached a few times regarding the existence of such a place as North Albertland. Well, the district was officially proclaimed in a public notification under the Highways Act in 1867. Separate from Albertland, North Albertland occupied the areas of Oruawharo to the north and east and Te Arai to the south, touching on the Te Hana district to the west. From the time the Albertlanders arrived in the 1860s, North Albertland grew. It was well known that letters written to residents in the district needed to have only “North Albertland” written under their names for the letter to be delivered to them. Early settlers quickly formed an “Albertland North Road Board” in order to get funding for the building of roads. After that, they were classed as “Albertland North Highway District Ratepayers”.
Settlers also built the North Albertland community hall, situated on the hill above the Mangawai/Te Hana Road, and a variety of events were held there. Weddings were popular, along with concerts and social occasions, including Band of Hope gatherings. Band of Hope was a temperance movement and against the drinking of alcohol. With the rules of Band of Hope in place, hall activities were orderly and happy events were enjoyed by all ages.
The North Albertland Women’s Institute was formed and met in the hall. On one occasion, a lady hadn’t brought milk for the cup of tea which normally followed business. So Lottie Powell, who had a few cows grazing land surrounding the hall, told the attending ladies that she would solve the problem and went outside with a jug. She found one of her cows that was used to being milked without being restrained and filled the jug with milk. The situation was saved and the ladies were able to enjoy their cuppa with a giggle or two to accompany it. The same North Albertland Women’s Institute is still in existence today and meets regularly.
The North Albertland School was first based at the North Albertland Hall. Students attended classes there from 1873 until an Education Board school was built and opened in close proximity to the hall in 1892. That school remained in use until 1938. The old hall was demolished in the early 1940s and the timbers were used to build Lottie Powell’s Mangawai beach house. The North Albertland Church of Christ church was built on land situated just below the hall and served the community well for over 50 years until 1979.
Sports teams and groups carried the North Albertland name for hockey, cricket, football, tennis and no doubt other interests. There was also a North Albertland Railway League. Although no shopping centre was formed, there is no denying there was most certainly an area named “North Albertland”.