The secretary of the Grey Institute Trust says the returning of land to a New Plymouth hapu gave him the chance to learn more about the history and significance of the Rangiatea Complex.
The trust, which is part of the Methodist Church, signed over the complex to the Ngati Te Whiti sub-tribe on Tuesday which was sold to the church 150 years ago.
It was once the Rangiatea Hostel for girls and is still a place of learning with a kura kaupapa, a kohanga reo, a tertiary institution and a dental clinic on the four hectare property between Spotswood College and Spotswood Primary School in New Plymouth.
Peter van Hout says people talked about the history of the land, and the work between the trust and the hapu to get the whenua back.
He says it was a very solemn but happy occasion, there was talk about the people who came before today - who were remembered, and how the journey has been completed in terms of the gifting of the land back.