Mr Peter Iversen
Founding Principal 1975 - 2001
Wairau Valley Special School
"There is no child born who cannot learn.
You are the teacher - find a way."
Around the 1960s, 450 acres in the Wairau Valley was zoned for light and heavy industry by the two controlling local bodies, Waitemata County Council and the Takapuna City Council. The valley was by the early 1970s the largest area of industry on the North Shore, with only 100 acres remaining undeveloped. Not only did the Wairau Valley have available land zoned for industry, it was also close to the Auckland market, and to the burgeoning suburbs of the North Shore, where there was a steadily growing labour force and expanding market. Zoning changes in other parts of the North Shore further encouraged the drift to the valley. These factors attracted small North Shore businesses that had outgrown their original locations, as well as larger central Auckland companies wanting to tap into the increasingly large North Shore market. Businesses like Morgan Brothers upholsterers and chairmakers, which had started business in Auckland in 1945 before moving to Northcote four years later, made the move to the Wairau Valley due to rezoning problems.
The North Shore was blessed with an abundance of clay suitable for brickmaking, and a number of brickyards would become part of the North Shore landscape during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Substantial clay deposits formed during the Miocene and Pleistocene periods were found in Devonport, Bayswater, the southern area of Takapuna and the Barrys Point Road area, as well as at Northcote, Birkenhead and the Wairau Valley. In Glenfield, two brickworks were established in the 1920s. Charlie Smart established a brickmaking yard in Wairau Road opposite Archers Road. In 1960 Winstones established their North Shore branch there, to take advantage of local demand for their building products. Although by the early 1970s the Auckland urban area was the main market for goods produced at Wairau Valley enterprises, some products were also being sold throughout the country and beyond. The area attracted national and international firms seeking opportunities to establish a local branch close to the substantial Auckland consumer market and the transport links offered by the port, rail and roading networks emanating from Auckland City. During the latter years of the 1970s work began on a 70 acre industrial estate off Sunset Road in Mairangi Bay after the Takapuna City Council zoned the land for industry. Neil Construction, who spearheaded the development, originally planned to build housing on the site, but the Takapuna City Council felt that the land was better suited to industry. With land for such activity now scarce at Barrys Point Road and Wairau Valley, there was a clear need for the development of a new industrial area. The Sunset Road location was considered well suited to this purpose, being close to the motorway. Development of the estate continued through the 1980s and the planned motorway linking the area to West Auckland no doubt added to its attractions.
The district's first official name was Freemans after John Freeman, who established a post office bureau in his home on the corner of Glenfield and Kaipatiki Roads in 1888. It was commonly referred to as Mayfield because the white blossom of the manuka and kanuka trees reminded settlers of May springtime ‘back home’ in England. The existence of Mayfield in Canterbury meant that the name was never officially bestowed upon the area by the postal service. On 12 March 1912, the area was renamed Glenfield by the postal service. The name Mayfield lives on in Mayfield Road, a quiet side road several hundred meters north of the Glenfield shops. Prior to the opening of the Auckland Harbour Bridge in 1959, Glenfield primarily consisted of farmland. During the 1960s, as access to the area improved, many of the large farm properties were subdivided to provide space for residential development. On 9 December 1971, in response to fears about commercial sprawl down the length of Glenfield Rd, Glenfield Mall opened. It was among the earliest enclosed malls in the country. It featured a large aviary in the centre of the mall. In 2000, Glenfield Mall was completely redeveloped as Westfield Glenfield, but in 2015 reverted to its original name.