When Manurewa High opened in 1960 Manurewas population was about 10,000 and the school catchment area ran from Redoubt Road to the northern fringes of Papakura. School buses collected students from as far away as Brookby.
By 2004, with a population of over 80,000, Manurewa had three secondary schools, and the schools fourth principal headed the senior leadership team.
Over the years many students have achieved national prominence in fields as diverse as sport, business, education and academia. Amongst the most easily recognised faces in the list of ex-students are Sir John Walker and broadcaster Wendy Petrie.