Ōhinetahi (Governors Bay) sits at the head of Whakaraupō (Lyttelton) Harbour and was settled by Māori dating from about 1350. Ōhinetahi valley was once the site of a heavily stockaded Ngāti Māmoe pā that was stormed by Te Rakiwhakaputa of Ngāi Tahu around 300 years ago. After its capture, Te Rakiwhakaputa’s son Manuhiri occupied the pā with a party of Ngāi Tahu. Manuhiri fathered many sons but only one daughter. He named the pā after this solitary daughter. From 1810-1830 a local civil war – the kaihuanga feud – was followed by Te Rauparaha’s war parties from the North Island wreaking further havoc. The village and pā appear to have been abandoned about this time.
Ōhinetahi means The Place of One Daughter. It is from this area that the whole of the harbour derives its name; Whakaraupō means Harbour of the Raupō Reed, and at the head of the harbour at Ōhinetahi there was once a swamp filled with a thick and high growth of raupō.
Before the “first four ships” arrived in Lyttelton in December 1850 there were European settlers at the head of Governors Bay (now Teddington). Broader settlement began in the Governors Bay-Allandale area in about 1851. It is understood that Governors Bay owes its name to Governor, Sir George Grey. He was at Lyttelton to welcome the colonists on their arrival on the 16th December 1850, and the fact that his vessel was lying at anchor near the Bay suggests the origin of the name. According to early settlers the Bay was a very beautiful place, with its hills and gullies clothed with luxuriant native bush and giant tree ferns. As early as 1856 a bridle track was made as far as Dyer's Pass, and later a road was constructed as far as Gebbie's Flat. Most of this work was done by prison labour, and many contracts were paid for in land.
In 1864 the Governors Bay Education District was proclaimed with a school at Gebbies Flat (Teddington). By December 1867 a Governors Bay committee was raising funds for their own school, which was erected in 1868 at 112 Governors Bay Road. A schoolmaster’s house was built behind it accommodating 8-10 boarders. The school porch was added in 1875 and electricity installed in 1928. The 1868 school and schoolhouse have regional importance as two of only a few school buildings surviving from the Provincial Government period in Canterbury. The two buildings have a rare association of both surviving together on the original site.
The current four-classroom school was opened on Jetty Rd in 1963 after the number of pupils outgrew the old one, thus fulfilling the need for a more central and spacious site.
Our School Today
Governors Bay School is a decile 10 school nestled at the top of Lyttelton Harbour in a unique semi-rural setting, only 15 minutes from Christchurch and 10 minutes from the active port of Lyttelton. We look from our school playground to the wider playground of the bush-clad Port Hills and sparkling water of the harbour where we have direct access to an array
of walking tracks and water activities. An active outdoor lifestyle and appreciation for the
environment is strongly reflected in our school culture and broader community.
Our school serves as the heart of our small community and is well-supported by an engaged
and proactive parent group who are welcomed into the classroom and beyond to help with
activities. Students hail from a diverse range of backgrounds, with a reasonable number
coming from families that have emigrated from other parts of the world.
The community is recognised for its creative character, and is proud to be home to such
notable residents as the late author Margaret Mahy and architect Sir Miles Warren.