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Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



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Foundation and Growth

The town of Auckland was founded on 18 September 1840 on a site selected by Governor William Hobson. Hobson was influenced in his choice of site by four factors: its central position between the then two main areas of European settlement, Port Nicholson (Wellington) and Kororareka, and the two main areas of Maori population, the Waikato and Northland; the great facility of internal water communication to north and south; the facility and safety of its port, and the proximity of several smaller ports abounding with valuable timber; and the natural fertility of the soil for agriculture. The settlement was named after George Eden, Earl of Auckland, Governor-General of India, a friend of Hobson's under whom he had served. In the period 1850–1900 there developed the nuclei of the present boroughs in the shape of villages and small-farming centres such as Newmarket, Onehunga, Tamaki, Howick, and Drury. Townships, such as Onehunga and Howick, served as redoubts for protecting the city against the ravages of raiding Maoris. Consolidation and development of the suburbs along main routeways out of the city took place in the first 20 years of this century–Remuera, Epsom, Ellerslie; north-eastern bays of the isthmus–Mission Bay, Orakei, St. Heliers; western marginal areas–Grey Lynn, Point Chevalier, Mount Albert; and the North Shore–Devonport, Northcote, and Birkenhead. From the end of 1918 to 1945 the growth of population merely intensified those settlement patterns already established, while there was a growth of industries and industrial areas, particularly on the south-east perimeter. Since then there has been a marked expansion in the growth of dormitory suburbs on the margins of the city–Papatoetoe, Papakura, Manurewa, Henderson, and North Shore. Auckland was originally constituted a borough on 29 July 1851 and a city on 24 April 1871. At various periods since then certain boroughs and road boards have amalgamated with the city. Nevertheless, the 22 city, borough, and county councils incorporated in the Auckland urban area have tended to hinder the process of uniform development.

Auckland is rich in places of historic interest, memorials, and the like. The War Memorial Museum in the Auckland Domain was opened in 1929 as a tribute to those who served in the First World War; recent additions recognise the services of the Second World War personnel. The museum is noted for its collection of Maori relics and carvings and for its fine library specialising in literature of the Pacific area. In and about Auckland there still stand some so-called “ Selwyn Churches”, monuments to the taste and ingenuity of their builders . Outstanding amongst these wooden buildings are those of the Chapel of St. John's College at Meadowbank, St. Stephen's Chapel at Judges Bay, St. Andrew's Church at Epsom, and All Saints' Church at Howick. The Melanesian Mission House at Mission Bay, part of which is maintained as a museum of South Sea Islands relics and artefacts, is a reminder of the students who trained there between 1849 and 1866. Earthworks and terracing, recalling the days of Maori occupation and war between tribes in pre-pakeha times, can be seen on Mount Albert (Owairaka), Mount Hobson (Remuera), and on Browns Island (Motukorea) in the Waitemata Harbour. Auckland's outstanding memorial, an obelisk and monument, is erected on the summit of One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie), the donor being Sir John Logan Campbell, the “father of Auckland”, who desired that the monument be erected “as a permanent record of his admiration for the achievements and character of the great Maori people”. Plaques erected at several points in the city mark spots of historical interest, such as that at Point Britomart where the Union Jack was first hoisted, and on the site of Partington's Windmill, which ground flour for a century before it was demolished in 1950. A plaque is planned to mark in O'Connell Street the spot where Sir John Logan Campbell built Auckland's first house (Acacia Cottage) in 1840, now preserved in Cornwall Park.

Auckland Urban Area
Census of 1951 Census of 1956 Census of 1961
AUCKLAND CITY 130,560 140,328 150,976
East Coast Bays borough 5,154 7,498 9,501
Takapuna borough (city) 13,500 18,724 20,394
Devonport borough 11,605 11,179 10,976
Northcote borough 3,109 3,777 5,183
Birkenhead borough 4,708 5,644 7,283
Henderson borough 2,114 2,623 3,959
Glen Eden borough 2,580 4,096 5,174
New Lynn borough 6,015 7,547 8,779
Newmarket borough 2,670 2,217 1,860
Mount Albert borough 25,937 25,644 25,990
Mount Eden borough 19,351 18,629 18,348
Mount Roskill borough 18,953 25,555 29,938
Onehunga borough 16,985 16,702 16,313
One Tree Hill borough 12,481 12,889 12,846
Ellerslie borough 3,451 4,501 4,406
Mount Wellington borough 7,353 11,990 16,031
Otahuhu borough 8,082 8,555 8,775
Papatoetoe borough 7,921 11,031 17,924
Manurewa borough 2,999 4,596 10,984
Papakura borough 3,192 5,235 7,997
Remainder of urban area 20,403 32,103 55,728
TOTAL AUCKLAND URBAN AREA 329,123 381,063 448,365

by Richard Gregory Heerdegen, M.A., L.R.S.M., Junior Lecturer in Geography, Massey University of Manawatu.