Henderson Valley Scenic Reserve is part of the wider locality known as Opareira, ‘the dwelling place of Pareira’.
This ancestress was the niece of the famed early Maori voyager Toi Te Hautahi who visited the Auckland region over six centuries ago. When Toi Te Hautahi and his people explored the Waitemate Harbour, Pareira decided to settle at Wai o Pareira near the mouth of what is now the Henderson Creek. She and her people also occupied the Henderson Valley area seasonally to harvest the resources of the forest. Their settlement in this area was named Opareira.
As one of the oldest settled areas in the district it has considerable historical importance. It is a place of considerable spiritual and historical significance to The Kawerau ā Maki.
The scenic reserve and the catchment area adjoining it to the west are also of major significance as the upper part of the valley was an old burial place of Te kawerau ā Maki for many generations. The Opanuku Stream, which borders this reserve, is named after the ancestress Panuku, and is associated with one of the oldest traditions of Te Kawerau ā Maki. The reserve, which is split in two parts, is also valued for its biodiversity as an area of regenerating riparian forest.
Swanson Heritage Survey – Cultural Values Assessment 2016, Te Kawerau Iwi Tribunal Authority for Auckland Council
Te Kawerau ā Maki deed of settlement summary 22-feb-2014