Norsewood is located in the heart of what was once the dense and towering forest known as the 70 Mile Bush.  The town was established In 1872, with the arrival of 372 Norwegian and 11 Swedes aboard the Norwegian Ship Hovding, which arrived at the Port of Napier on the 15th September 1872.  On the same day the English Ship Ballarat arrived at the Port of Napier.  Its passengers including 70 Danes. Most bf these people became Norsewood's Pioneer Settlers. The remainder fulfilled the same role at the bush settlement of Dannevirke, 22 kllometres away.

Over the next several years, hundreds of other settlers found themselves working hard to establish a new life on the bush clad 40 acre farms in the vicinity of Norsewood, which became the district's main town. These people included many more Norwegians, Swedes, Danes, Germans, and Britons.  Life for these people was very hard as promises made by the NZ Government, the Hawkes Bay Provincial Government. and their agents were not always kept.

Currently in the Norsewood area, the Scandinavian culture is celebrated in a variety of ways.  Norsewood School continues to teach Scandinavian dances.  The community celebrates Norwegian constitution day annually and Scandinavian relics are displayed in the local museum. Various local attractions such as Johanas World, The Troll Stroll, Troll Gold event and Scandinavian architecture often visited.