The Ihumatao area of Mangere was settled by European farmers from the early 1850s. Several of the original houses of the area survive. One such building is the Westney House, built in 1855 by William Westney for his wife Sarah and children Jabez, Stephen, William, MaryAnn and Harriet. Several generations of the family lived there for over 70 years.
Archaeological investigations at the Westney House and farm outbuildings took place in 2005. Because it was an early farmhouse with several additions, and there were standing farm buildings from the 19th century, there was a strong emphasis on recording the construction techniques, materials and changes to the building. Archaeological excavation and the analysis of the material culture, particularly the domestic ceramics, assisted with working out the chronology of the additions to the house. Changes to the building and discard of domestic items could be correlated with significant events in the family such as marriage and introduction of a new individual to the household.
Archaeological work is ongoing in the Ihumatao area, researching the European history and recording other buildings. The Westney family and many other settler families in the area were Wesleyan Methodists, worshipping at the Westney Church on the corner of George Bolt Drive and Ihumatao Road. Generations of these families were, until recently, interred in the cemetery associated with the church.