Coat of Arms of Auckland

Captain William Hobson, R.N. (1792-1842)
First Lieut-Governor and Governor of New Zealand
Founder of the City of Auckland
From a copy of a painting by Collins of Bristol in the Old Colonists’ Museum

City of Auckland
New Zealand, 1840-1920


Chief Librarian

preceded by

A Maori History of the Auckland
Isthmus by George Graham

and a Foreword by J. H. Gunson, C.M.G., C.B.E.
Mayor of Auckland

Prepared by direction of the Auckland City Council



Whitcombe & Tombs Limited
Auckland, N.Z.




This History of the City of Auckland is issued by the City Council in the confident expectation that the wonderful progress recorded in the following pages will not only afford pleasure and information to a wide circle of readers, both in New Zealand and abroad, but that the work will prove to be an inspiration to good citizenship for the further advancement of Auckland.


Mayor’s Room,
Town Hall,
Auckland, N.Z.,
February, 1922.


This book is the first attempt which has been made to write a connected history of the City of Auckland. Although in years the city is comparatively young, many of the events which have marked its progress have already been forgotten. With the exception, perhaps, of the principal incidents associated with the foundation of the city, and a most interesting account of the state of Auckland in the early ’fifties, written by Mr. W. Swainson, no period of Auckland’s history has been adequately dealt with. The lack of information has made the task of writing a history a difficult one, and may account for the fact that none has hitherto been essayed. The need for such a book has been felt for a long time, and it is only to be regretted that the work was not taken in hand before, by someone who had been a spectator or a participant in the events described. To a writer who has not had these advantages, his work must lack that element of the personal which adds to the interest of the reader, and helps in the re-presentation of the events.

The author’s intention in writing this sketch has been to group into periods the principal events and incidents of the city’s history. He has concentrated his efforts to make these—the groundwork of any history—as full and correct as possible. In a pioneer effort it is only natural to expect some omissions, and the writer hopes that his readers will acquaint him upon any matters which he may have inadvertently overlooked. He also hopes that the appearance of the book will stimulate some of the older residents of the city to record their recollections, so that those of the younger school who are interested in the city’s past may have fuller information about Auckland of the early days.

The writer wishes to acknowledge the assistance which has been uniformly extended to him when prosecuting his inquiries, especially to the officers of city institutions whose histories have not so far been made public, and to other individuals who have assisted him in a more personal way. To all of these he offers his thanks. Especially must he thank Mr. George Graham, who, at his request, prepared the sketch of the Maori history of the Isthmus, which forms a prologue to the later history of Auckland. Without this contribution, this history would only have been partial; as now presented it is a complete outline of the city’s history from earliest known times to the present.


P. 231, line 5, for “Peace Treaty” read “Armistice”.

P. 227, lines 1 and 2, for “Mr. James Carroll” read “Hon. Sir James Carroll, K.C.M.G.”


A Maori History of the Auckland Isthmus, by George Graham 1
The City of Auckland, a History: 1840-1920, by J. Barr 33
Foundation and Settlement, 1840-1850 35
Development, 1851-1870 77
Progress and a Slump, 1871-1900 141
Prosperity and Expansion, 1901-1920 182
Appendix I—The Name of Auckland 236
Appendix II—Population of the City of Auckland, 1840-1921 239
Appendix III—Table showing Imports and Exports at the Port of Auckland, 1853-1920 240
Index 243

List of Illustrations

Captain William Hobson, R.N. Frontispiece
Plan of Auckland, 1840  
“He Taua! He Taua!” A War Party! Sounding the Alarm of an Approaching War Party 1
Interior of Maori Pa, about the year 1840 16
Auckland, 1840, showing the Tents of First Settlers 33
Facsimile of the original Deed of Purchase of the Site of the City of Auckland 40
Translation of original Deed of Purchase 41
Plan of Auckland, 1842 48
Queen Street in 1843, showing Stocks in front of Gaol 53
Commercial Bay, 1844 60
Auckland, Circa 1852 65
Auckland, 1852, from Hobson Street 69
Auckland, 1852, from Smale’s Point 71
Auckland, 1852, from Britomart Barracks 74
Auckland, 1852, from Queen Street Wharf 76
Mayors of the City of Auckland 80
Sir George Grey, K.C.B. 85
Auckland, 1862, Maori War Canoe Race in progress 92
New Zealand’s First Parliament Building 97
Auckland, 1876, showing Fort Britomart in course of demolition 112
Auckland in 1884. View taken from Hobson and Wellesley Streets 128
Calliope Dock 145
Auckland Public Library, 1880 149
Public Library, Art Gallery and Old Colonists’ Museum, To-day 149
Queen Street Wharf, 1887 156
View of Auckland from Rangitoto 165
Plan of Auckland Waterfront To-day 172
Queen Street To-day 181
View of Auckland’s Harbour Frontage taken from a Seaplane 188
Albert Park, formerly the Site of Albert Barracks 197
Auckland from the North Shore 200, 201
Auckland from the Ferry Buildings, looking Eastward 200, 201
The Town Hall with the Sir George Grey Statue 204
Photograph of Auckland taken from a Seaplane 216
H.R.H. The Prince of Wales at the Town Hall 232
Map of the City of Auckland at End of Book.  

The Coat of Arms of Auckland, printed in facsimile colours, has been inserted on the half-title preceding the frontispiece.

Plan of Auckland, 1840, by Felton Mathew, Surveyor General
Note proposed reclamations and dock accommodation




[Pg 1]

“He Taua! He Taua!”—A War Party! Sounding the Alarm of an Approaching War Party
After the original by J. McDonald, Wellington


In compiling this history, I desire to narrate in as brief and clear a manner as possible the doings of the ancient Tamaki tribes, as recounted in the folk-lore of their descendants.

I have, as far as possible, confined the history to the tribes of the Auckland Isthmus itself—referring to the history and peoples of other parts only so far as is necessary to the clearness of the general narrative.

There may be some doubt as to the chronological sequence and to many of the details of incidents herein related—such is inseparable from the legendary history of all races who did not possess written records.

However, the narrative as I now present it is in the form accepted by the people—as related to me by that generation of chieftains now almost passed away.

[Pg 2]


Ancient Maori culture did not embrace the knowledge of letters. We therefore possess no written records of the pre-European times. Our information is confined to the tribal folk-lore and folk-songs of the people.

We do know, however, that from a very remote past the Pacific had been peopled by races of a more or less Polynesian type, and that branches of these had also reached New Zealand.

Legend tells us that the earliest settlers in Ao-tea-roa were a race of giants—the “Kahui-tipua.” Of that ilk was one Mata-aho, who had no doubt arrived from lands of a more genial temperature. He called upon his Fire-Goddess (Mahu-ika) to produce subterranean fires to warm his limbs. Hence the volcanic outbursts which have left evidence of the efficiency of that ancient invocation in the form of the extinct volcanic cones and lava flows of the Tamaki Isthmus.

Then, again, there was an equally ancient, but more human-like people resident hereabouts—the “Patu-paiarehe”—so-called “Fairies,” from whom,[Pg 3] indeed, many of the leading chieftains of to-day proudly claim descent. Concerning these people we are told of their industry in the arts of peace, fishing, hunting, weaving, etc.; nor were they, it would seem, deficient in the sterner art of war, for they were involved in much inter-tribal strife. One of these struggles resulted in a weaker faction deciding to emigrate across the Waitemata. In order to do so they began to erect a stone causeway. However, the sun arose on their uncompleted toil, and dried them all up! The ruin of this ancient attempt to bridge the Waitemata remains to this day in the form of that long reef “Te Toka-roa,” off Point Chevalier. The unsentimental geologist will tell you it is actually an old lava flow from Mount Albert.

Despite the mists of legendary lore which surround the doings of these ancient people, both “Giants” and “Fairies,” it is probable that they had actually existed here. They were, perhaps, the earliest of the immigratory races which were continually arriving. Over the Pacific Ocean canoe voyages were taking place in all directions. The[Pg 4] motive which impelled these undertakings was doubtless that stated in the legends—overpopulation involving warfare, causing the weaker factions to seek safer homes over the water to live in. No doubt the food supplies of over-populated islands also necessitated sections of the people to swarm off; the mere spirit of adventure, ever in the human heart, was probably an important contributory cause.

Whoever these ancient people were—and the probability is that they were Polynesians similar to the immigrants of a later time—they were a numerous people who “covered the land like ants”; such is the proverbial description of them.


Some time about 1150 A.D. there arrived in New Zealand a chief named Toi-te-huatahi, the leader of a large immigration, who settled at Whaka[Pg 5]tane, and his people, known as Te Tini-o-Toi, rapidly spread throughout the land, conquering or merging with their predecessors. Tamaki was soon populated by them. Oho-mai-Rangi, said to be a son of Toi, lived at the Waikato Heads, and to him is generally attributed the tribal name “Nga-Oho”—a people of Toi who occupied a wide area in the south, Waikato and Tamaki. A great-grandson of Toi was one Kauea, who carried the conquests of his people into the Kaipara and the far north.

By the middle of the fourteenth century we find the Nga-Oho dominant over all this area, having various sub-tribal names, such as the Nga-riki, Wai-o-hua, etc.

The Arrival of the Fleet1350 A.D.

About 1350 A.D. came another wave of immigrants from Polynesia—for then arrived the historic fleet of canoes, the Arawa, Tainui, Matatua, and others.

[Pg 6]

It may be remarked here that this was the last of the great Polynesian immigrations. From very remote times expeditions had been arriving in New Zealand, and many return voyages were likewise made to the Pacific groups. Why these voyages eventually ceased, at a time when among the Polynesians the arts of navigation had been brought to perfection, remains an unsolved problem.

The fact remains that this immigration of about 1350 A.D. was an epoch-making affair, and from this time on Maori history assumes a definite form. We now reach an era of which we possess more definite detail as to the doings of the Tamaki tribes down to European times. From 1350 A.D. the next century or so is mainly a record of the settlement of the immigrants, involving much inter-tribal warfare.

The Tainui Canoe

Of these canoes, the one which most directly affected local history was the Tainui canoe. This[Pg 7] canoe, like most of the others, arrived on the East Coast. Coasting northwards (some say as far as the North Cape) she arrived at last in the Hauraki Gulf, and entered the Waitemata. Resting for some time at Te Kurae-o-Tura (Devonport Beach), the canoe continued its journey to Tamaki (Otaiki). At Taurere (Tamaki Heads) a chief named Te Kete-ana-taua remained with the local people, and became the ancestor of Ngai-tai of those parts; they were owners of all the Takapuna district as far north as probably Mahurangi, and included in their territorial areas the Kawau, Great Barrier and other islands of the Gulf.

Arriving at Otahuhu, the people awaited the re-arrival of an important lady of their party, by name Marama. This lady, having landed at Hauraki, was doing “the overland trip.” On her ladyship’s arrival, the canoe was taken into the Manukau, whence they voyaged southwards to Mokau, eventually settling at Kawhia. From there they spread inland to Waikato, Hauraki, and eventually to Tamaki. Marama, with other members of the Tainui crew, also settled here, her descendants[Pg 8] being known as the Nga-Marama people. Hence the Tamaki Isthmus became a Tainui tribal area at a very early period.

The Arawa Canoe

The Arawa people at an early date also contributed its quota to the population of Tamaki. Arriving on the East Coast (at the same time and place as the Tainui) this canoe likewise made a coastal exploration. Eventually its people settled down at Maketu (Bay of Plenty), Tamatekapua, their leader, having remained at Moehau (Cape Colville), where he died. From there his children spread throughout the Coromandel peninsula and the islands of the Gulf, and were known as Ngati-huarere (Huarere being Tamatekapua’s grandson). We are told that Ihenga, a brother of Huarere, lived at Tamaki for some time, and at Kaipara. These early Arawas left descendants here, and through them the Tamaki chiefs thus claimed an Arawa[Pg 9] lineage. The Ngati-Huarere are said to have occupied fortified villages at Orakei, Fort Britomart, Queen Street, Three Kings and other places, until the final conquest of the Tamaki Isthmus, as hereinafter related. Kahumatamomoe, another son of Tamatekapua, having quarrelled with his brothers and relatives at Maketu, came to Tamaki, and is said to have lived at Orakei with other relatives already settled there, hence the name of the village at Orakei—“Okahu.” Going on to Kaipara, he permanently resided there.

The Matatua Canoe

This immigrant canoe was also an important factor in populating the Tamaki Isthmus. Its people had settled at Whakatane, and were remarkable for their restlessness. Parties of this tribe, known under the general name of Ngati-Awa, were always on the move. They are reputed to have formed an important element of the One Tree Hill[Pg 10] (Maungakiekie, lofty hill) people. The Owairaka (Mount Albert) pa belonged to this people. The Ngati-Awa chief Titahi, who lived in Tamaki and Kaipara for some time, is said to have instructed the local people how to perfect their fortifications. Hence one name for the terracing and earthworks (so conspicuous a feature of the hills of Tamaki) was “Nga-whaka-iro-a Titahi”—“The decorations of Titahi.”

The intrusion of these various immigrant parties no doubt was not peacefully accomplished, and almost continuous warfare marks the history of the next few centuries, as the direct result of the jealousy between rival chieftains and the struggles of the respective tribes to maintain and extend their territories.

The Aotea Canoe

This important canoe, commanded by the famous Turi, also visited the Tamaki, the crew eventually settling at Patea, in the South, but Turi’s son,[Pg 11] Turanga-i-mua, became dissatisfied with that place, and about 1400 A.D. he came to Tamaki with a war-party, moving on to Hauraki and other places, finally returning to Tamaki. Tu’ soon came into conflict with the local people, whom he defeated in the battle at Waitaramoa (the creek at the head of Hobson Bay), and then occupied the pa at Onepuwhakatakataka (the headland at Orakei, opposite Parnell). There he lived for some time, and again left for the South, leaving a large number of his people in possession of this locality, where they occupied several villages. By intermarriage, the Aotea people appear to have soon lost their tribal unity, and from them the Tamaki chiefs of a later time were proud to claim an ancestral descent.

Ancient Maori Society—A Retrospect

Before going any further, a brief outline of the daily life of the Maori community should be of interest.

[Pg 12]

The tribes of Tamaki lived in village communities, each hapu, or community, consisting of a group of families, more or less closely inter-related, and governed according to various customary usages by their hereditary chiefs. These communities collectively acknowledged the superior prestige of an Ariki, or hereditary high chief.

The religious side of life was the province of their “tohungas,” or priests, the priesthood being also hereditary within certain families of chiefs.

Each village was a fortress—palisaded and parapeted, with deep trenches and draw-bridges. Every hill-top, headland or locality lending itself to defence was utilised for that purpose.

The aristocratic families lived in elaborately built houses (similar to “Rangitihi,” the great carved house in our Museum). The chieftains had their residential quarters in the citadel of the villages; whilst the great mass of the tribesmen lived in mere thatched sheds, or in pit-dwellings. The remains of the latter are numerous throughout the Isthmus.

The plantations were on the easy cultivated flats[Pg 13] or slopes surrounding the villages, and were usually so located as to be easily defended against marauders.

Large stores of dried fish and preserved food of all kinds, from forest, stream and sea, were kept in store-houses within each village. To become “short of supplies” was a reflection upon the industry of such a village, which would go to great lengths to conceal such a predicament.

The crops grown were the “taro,” “hue” (gourd), “uwhi” (yam), and “kumara.” This latter was indeed the “staff of life,” and its cultivation occupied much of the time and industry of the people. At harvest time these crops were gathered into the store-houses and pits for winter use.

At early dawn the people were astir and about their daily duties. After the morning meal, the cultivators went forth to the plantations, the fishers to the sea, and the hunters to the forest. Other men were engaged in the building of houses or canoes, in which the art of the carver was utilised, or in the making of stone implements or weapons, whilst the women of rank directed and actively took part[Pg 14] in the domestic arts—garment weaving, mat and kit plaiting, etc.

No individual was idle; to be so was a reproach, and a failing not tolerated. The whole idea pervading the community was the public weal, and each individual did his or her “bit,” not for individual profit, but pro bono publico.

At sundown the people withdrew to their villages for the night. The gateways were closed, and sentries were posted on the parapets. By their watch-songs and calls throughout the night, the sentries answered one another from village to village.

Within doors the communities, by night, amused themselves and their visitors with dancing, songs and folk-tales of ancestral doings. Such relaxation is, indeed, the feature of Maori village life at the present day.

The burial-places of the people were the caverns of the Isthmus, each sub-tribe and family having its own place of sepulchre. In some cases these were in remote places of the forests of Waitakerei, or other secluded localities. Of the many other aspects of ancient Maori social economy, religious[Pg 15] rites, etc., and, above all, of the customs connected with war, I must refer those interested to the many excellent books dealing with the subject.

The above sketch will, however, give an idea of the social status of the people in those ancient times, when the events hereinafter described were enacted.

The Wars of Tamaki

It is hard to ascertain the actual causes and the chronological sequence of the wars which followed the arrival of the fleet, and only an outline is attempted here.


This chief, Maki, came from Ngati-Awa of Taranaki. Coming northward with his people he seemed to have gradually worked his way via Kawhia and Waikato to Tamaki, capturing the Rarotonga (Mount Smart) pa, where for a time he dwelt. Here he was visited by the chiefs of Kaipara, descendants of Titahi. They requested his assistance[Pg 16] in warfare against the Kawerau, an ancient aboriginal people, who had become intermixed with the Tini-o-Toi. Responding to this invitation, and reinforced by a large section of Tamaki people, he invaded Kaipara with great success, attacking ultimately, like Strongbow of old, the people whom he had come to assist. He then turned his attention to the Waitakerei and Mahurangi districts, with like results, and extended his doings to the outlying islands—Tiritiri, Kawau and Waiheke, finishing up at Maraetai. Afterwards he departed as he came, returning, it is said, to the southern districts of Taranaki.


This affair resulted from some tribal differences in the Waitakerei-Kaipara borderland, about 1680. Kawharu (who was a chief connected with the Northern Ngati-Whatua) attacked the tribes in those districts, driving all before him. He assaulted also many of the Tamaki villages, continuing his campaign until he reached as far as the Paparoa headland, east of Howick. Capturing and destroying the pa there, he returned to Kaipara.

[Pg 17]

Interior of a Maori Pa, about the year 1840
After a painting shown at the Colonial Indian Exhibition, London


To the south-east were the powerful Hauraki coastal tribes, who, like those of Tamaki, had gone through much the same history. Also descended from the Patu-paiarehe, they had gradually incorporated their pedigrees with those of the Tainui, Arawa and other people. The earliest warfare on record of Tamaki with these people originated (so says the legend) when the Tamaki tribes slew the pet seal belonging to the Hauraki people. Strange to say, this animal (named “Ureia”) was on a visit to Manukau Harbour, at the invitation of the Tamaki people, and there it met its untimely end. Surely the most unusual of Maori casus belli. Maru-tuahu, as the tribes of the Hauraki district were called, then invaded Tamaki. They attacked among other places the Maunga-whau (Mount Eden) pa. After various other successes they returned homewards.


Subsequent to this affair was the warfare resulting from the murder of Kahurautao, his son Kiwi, and other Maru-tuahu chiefs. These people were[Pg 18] returning from Waikato by canoe via Manukau and Tamaki. They had visited the Tamaki chiefs at Mount Eden and other places, and on their return to their canoes at the Tamaki River they were waylaid and murdered near where St. John’s College now stands, hence the name of that place, “Paru-tahi”—killed together. The Maru-tuahu tribes, under Kahu’s son Rau-tao, thereupon invaded Tamaki. They attacked with success the riverside pas at Tamaki, also those at Mount Eden, One Tree Hill and Orakei. Crossing to Takapuna, they scoured along the coast as far as Mahurangi. Apparently all those people, being Ngai-Tai, were of one tribal identity. This was not the last time these coastal tribes suffered in this way.


Thereafter occurred the affair of Kapetawa. When a mere lad, this chief, while on a visit from Waiheke to his sister, who had married Taramokomoko, a chieftain of Kohimarama, got into several scrapes, as boys were much the same then as ever, but when he, as the ringleader with kin[Pg 19]dred spirits, plundered the kumara store of his brother-in-law, he got into disfavour with Taramokomoko, who marooned him on the Bean Rock off the shore. Being rescued by his sister, he returned home, where he grew to manhood among his own people, the Ngati-Paoa, at Waiheke. He then organised a war party to avenge the long-remembered insult. Surprising the pas at Kohimarama, Orakei, etc., he crossed to Takapuna, destroying several villages there and along the outer coast, where the erring brother-in-law, the cause of all this trouble, was caught and killed at Raho-para—a pa on the northern headland of the Wairau Creek (Milford).

Kiwi Tamaki (1720-1750)

We now come to the era of Kiwi Tamaki, the last, and undoubtedly the most notorious, of the olden Tamaki chiefs. He was so called to distinguish him from other men of that name.

His parents, Te Ikamaupoho and Te Tahuri, united in their ancestry all that was aristocratic[Pg 20] in lineal descent from the ancient Patu-paiarehe, Nga-Oho (People of Toi), Ngati-Awa, Arawa, Tainui, etc. Despite the many repeated invasions and incessant warfare within their territories, the Tamaki people at this time were apparently in their “golden age.”

The family home was the citadel of One Tree Hill. The mother, Te Tahuri, was renowned for her hospitality and industry. The resources of the district and the extent of the fortifications and cultivation were famous far and near. On the Manukau and Waitemata, large fleets of canoes for fishing and war purposes were maintained. Hence the proverb “Te pai me te whai-rawa o Tamaki”—the luxury and wealth of Tamaki.

The many previously described wars had ere this earned for the Isthmus the appropriate motto “Tamaki-makau-Rau” (i.e., The spouse contested for us by a hundred lovers).

Surrounded by all this Maori opulence, Kiwi grew to manhood. He early developed an arrogant and turbulent disposition. When on a visit to Ngati-Whatua to attend a funeral feast held near[Pg 21] Helensville, Kiwi treacherously slew several of the local chiefs and a prominent chieftainess, named Tahataha. Following this up with other murders on his homeward journey, he reached the supposed safety of his tribal domains. The Ngati-Whatua promptly retaliated, and before Kiwi realised their intentions, they arrived in canoes from Pitoitoi (Brigham’s Creek, near Riverhead) and successfully attacked the Waitemata foreshore villages. Kiwi then advanced, and met a Kaipara war party coming overland, at Titirangi. After some skirmishing, they defeated Kiwi, who returned to One Tree Hill. The Ngati-Whatua then advanced to the Tamaki Heads, where they captured the Taurere pa, and again returned to Kaipara, losing some of their chiefs in ambush near Remuera.

Returning, however, in greater force, one party crossed the Manukau and attacked the Tipitai (Awhitu) and other villages.

Kiwi had meanwhile organised his tribesmen, and, reinforced from the southern districts, he advanced against the Kaipara. The forces met again at Titirangi. After much skirmishing, ending in[Pg 22] a feigned retreat, the Ngati-Whatua advanced rapidly. The retreat became a “debacle,” only ending on the shores of the Manukau, where at Paruroa (Big Muddy Creek) Kiwi fell. All the important Tamaki chieftains fell that day, hence the name of this Maori Bannockburn, “Te Rangi-hinganga-tahi” (The day when all fell together).

This battle took place about 1750. Tamaki was now at the mercy of Ngati-Whatua, who advanced, easily disposing of such defenders as remained to dispute their progress.

Having depopulated Tamaki, Ngati-Whatua then returned to Kaipara. On their departure, some of the Tamaki refugees again returned to the Waitemata and re-occupied several villages on the harbour side. Ngati-Whatua, hearing of this, sent another expedition, which attacked and finally drove these people away. Tuperiri, the Ngati-Whatua leader, and his tribesmen, then returned to Tamaki and made their home at One Tree Hill and other places. After capturing the last remaining forts at Mangere, they held undisputed sway over this land. Most of the Tamaki people had[Pg 23] been slain. Some were enslaved, and a remnant fled into Waikato and Hauraki.

Thus ends the story of the ancient tribes of Tamaki.

The Ngati-Whatua Era in Tamaki

Ngati-Whatua were now installed in possession of Tamaki. They soon found that might was the only right to their new territory. To the south were the powerful Waikato and Marutuahu tribes, who by sea and land were a continual anxiety to the new lords of Tamaki. They were closely related to the late victims of Ngati-Whatua. Many of the refugees, indeed, had gone to those districts to live, and no doubt instigated many a surprise attack. Ngati-Paoa appear to have always maintained several fortified villages on the Tamaki River unmolested by Ngati-Whatua down to European times.

Quarrels arose with Ngati-Paoa at last as the result of a marriage of a Waikato chieftainess to[Pg 24] Te Putu, a Ngati-Paoa chief. Land on the Tamaki River had been given to cement a tribal peace and in honour of the union. Shortly thereafter, at a fishing expedition off Mahurangi, Ngati-Paoa and Ngati-Whatua quarrelled. The former attacked the latter and killed Tara-hawaiki, son of Tuperiri. Ngati-Paoa followed this up by invading Tamaki, having in alliance with them the other Hauraki tribes. The invaders were defeated by Ngati-Whatua at Pu-ponga on the Manukau Harbour and again at Rangi-mata-rau (Point Chevalier Beach).

On a later occasion a party of Ngati-Paoa were surprised whilst shark-fishing at Kauri Point,[2] the survivors being left on the pinnacle rock (Niho-Kiore) off there to drown.

Thereafter Ngati-Whatua, now in alliance with Waikato and Manukau tribes, attacked Ngati-Paoa at Putiki (Waiheke). In a final battle at Tamaki West Heads, Ngati-Paoa were defeated, and thus was ended that warfare. This event is placed about 1793, and permanently established Ngati-Whatua’s prestige and their possession of Tamaki.

[Pg 25]

At this time, Tamaki had become a rather unsafe place of residence, and does not appear to have been extensively occupied. In fact, Mount Eden and many of the large hill forts had long been abandoned, and their elaborate defences were already in ruin and overgrown with scrub and fern.

About this period, also, came a great epidemic remembered as the “Rewharewha.” It was probably an influenza outbreak, and swept throughout the land. No doubt this visitation further reduced the Tamaki population, and therein lies the reason why many of the old-time villages were abandoned and passed out of history. The remnants of the people, though still numerous, were unable to hold the large hill fortresses against an enemy. Smaller and easier defended positions only were maintained.

Tuperiri continued, however, to live at One Tree Hill, and died there in the latter part of the eighteenth century. Ngati-Paoa still resided in various Tamaki River pas, but nothing remarkable appears to have happened in Tamaki itself. About this year (1793) there came the first of the Ngapuhi[Pg 26] raids, the precursor of many such subsequent affairs, which ultimately involved the Ngati-Whatua of Tamaki. The cause of the first invasion by Ngapuhi of these parts is not certain. The Ngapuhi war party, after attacking the Hauraki people, appeared to have come to the Tamaki Heads, and there, at the West Head again, a battle was fought. Ngapuhi were defeated at the hands of the local people, only two canoe parties of their fleet escaping.

The event was followed up by a Hauraki invasion of the northern districts via Kaipara, in which Ngati-Whatua also took part. They returned after many successes in the north, and thus closed the Tamaki history of the Eighteenth Century.

The Nineteenth Century (1800-1840)

Of this, the final epoch in the Maori history of Tamaki, I will give but a brief sketch.

Of the years from 1800 to 1810 we know little. In the latter year a second great epidemic swept over these districts. This no doubt brought about[Pg 27] a further depopulation of the Isthmus. About 1810, Ngati-Paoa again began to reside on the Tamaki shores, and erected fortresses at Mauinaina and Mokoia (Panmure).


In 1820, Marsden passed through the district on his way northward. Going by Ngati-Paoa canoe to Riverhead, he met the Ngati-Whatua chieftain Kawau, who escorted him safely to Kaipara. Returning to Tamaki with Kawau, he visited the Ngati-Paoa villages at Tamaki, and met their chieftain Te Hinaki, between whom and the Hauraki chiefs Marsden succeeded in arranging a meeting, the result being a tribal peace between these people.

This peacemaking occurred aboard the ship Coromandel, in the Waiheke Passage. After again visiting the Mokoia pa at Panmure, Marsden finally left for the north overland.


In the same year (1820), the Waitemata was visited by Major Cruise aboard the ship Prince Regent, ten days after Marsden’s departure. He[Pg 28] was invited to the Tamaki settlements, and there met the chief Te Hinaki. Cruise gives much detail in his Journal of the local natives and their homes.

Now began in earnest the dreadful era of the Ngapuhi raids. Their war parties were now armed with the destructive firearms obtained by bartering with the early traders to these coasts.


A Ngapuhi chief had arrived at Tamaki in 1820, apparently to attack Ngati-Paoa and Hauraki generally. Ngati-Whatua came to assist Ngati-Paoa, and the Ngapuhi attack on Mauinaina was repulsed. Then Te Koperu was invited into the fortress to make peace. There he was treacherously murdered by Te Paraoa-rahi, a Ngati-Paoa chief.

This event was followed almost immediately by Te Koperu’s brother, Te Morenga, attacking the Tamaki pas, and he severely punished Ngati-Paoa, amply revenging Te Koperu’s death.


The following year (1821) saw yet another attack on the people of Tamaki. Hongi Ika himself[Pg 29] first then came on the scene. He had just returned from England, and had met Te Hinaki in Sydney, whence they both returned to New Zealand. Te Hinaki had been warned in Sydney by Hongi as to his intentions; he therefore prepared his fortifications at Mokoia and Mauinaina for the storm about to break upon his people. The Ngapuhi duly arrived and began a blockade of the Tamaki forts. After a long siege, accompanied by much skirmishing, the Mokoia fort was captured. Te Hinaki himself was slain, with a great number of his people. After the incidents usual to such affairs had been fully enacted, the Ngapuhi departed, to carry on the war in the districts of Hauraki and the south.

For some years after the Ngapuhi invasion, the Tamaki Isthmus appears to have been altogether abandoned as a permanent residential area. It was during this time a kind of “no man’s land.” Ngati-Whatua retreated to the forest wilderness of Waitakerei and Kaipara, or into the recesses of the Waikato.


In 1827 D’Urville visited the Waitemata. He[Pg 30] ascended Takarunga (Mount Victoria, Devonport). Looking westward towards the Tamaki, he says there were no signs whatever of any inhabitants. Crossing the harbour, he found a deserted village (perhaps Orakei). He also attempted to ascend what was probably Mount Eden, but had to abandon the attempt. The denseness of growth of fern and scrub since the time of the Ngati-Whatua conquest of the last century had obliterated all the old native tracks. The greater area of the Isthmus had become little better than a jungle of vegetation.

D’Urville also describes his visit to the villages at Tamaki, where a namesake of the late ill-fated Hinaki was then head man.


In this year (1827) was fought the last tribal battle in Tamaki. The Manukau and Ngati-Whatua people in alliance came in canoes down the Tamaki River to give combat to Ngapuhi. That people, crossing from Waiheke, “captured” the apparently abandoned canoes of the local people at the West[Pg 31] Tamaki Head. While Ngapuhi were quarrelling over the supposed “spoils of war,” the allies returned and surprised them, with such success that only one small Ngapuhi party of twenty men returned home to tell the tale.


Christianity was now beginning to show its influence among the war-weary tribes of New Zealand, and from now on until 1835 much inter-tribal peacemaking was the order of the day.

In that year Ngati-Whatua began to return to the Isthmus, but none of the old hill forts were re-occupied. The decrease in population, the introduction of firearms, and the general change in the modes of life had made those elevated places of abode impracticable under the new conditions which arose.

Okahu (Orakei Bay) became the headquarters of the Ngati-Whatua; they had also a large village at Mangere, where also lived Kati, younger brother of Te Wherowhero,[3] the paramount Waikato chief.[Pg 32] His wife—Matere Toha—was a Ngapuhi chieftainess of high rank, being a niece of the great Hongi Ika.[4] Apihai Te Kawau, head chief of Ngati-Whatua, took up his residence at Orakei, and other villages were established and occupied on the shores of the Waitemata and Manukau.

This was the position in 1840.

The days of local inter-tribal warfare had now passed away for ever. In this year the purchase of the site of Auckland City took place, and the British Flag was unfurled at Fort Britomart. Thus closed the long and troublous history of Tamaki-Makau-Rau.

[Pg 33]

Auckland, 1840, showing the Tents of First Settlers
All the bays have been reclaimed and the Point demolished



[Pg 34]
[Pg 35]

Chapter I
Foundation and Settlement (1840-1850)

The City of Auckland was founded on the 18th September, 1840, by Captain William Hobson, R.N., Lieutenant-Governor of New Zealand. Captain Hobson, on his arrival in New Zealand, made his headquarters at the Bay of Islands, at that time the most populous place in the colony, as far as white people were concerned, for here both missionaries and traders had settled in greatest numbers, and here, also, Mr. Busby, British Resident, was located. The Bay of Islands did not meet with the approval of the Lieutenant-Governor, and, in his first conversation with the Rev. Henry Williams,[5] he asked for his opinion as to the most suitable place to erect the capital of the young colony. The Archdeacon recommended the Tamaki or the Waitemata. The Surveyor-General, Mr. Felton Mathew, visited both these localities, and favoured Tamaki, which, if his recommendation had been adopted,[Pg 36] would have placed the seat of Government where Panmure now stands. Captain Hobson, however, decided to investigate the sites himself, and in company with Mr. G. Clarke, Protector of Aborigines, and Captain David Rough, who was appointed “Harbour Master at Waitemata” in August of this year, he sailed in the Revenue cutter Ranger, commanded by Captain Carkeek, from the Bay of Islands at the end of June, 1840. After inspecting the channel at the Tamaki, the Lieutenant-Governor decided against that site. He then visited the upper reaches of the Waitemata Harbour, and was again dissatisfied with the channel. However, as Captain Rough had left the vessel to take soundings near the Ponsonby shore, and on the report of these being satisfactory, Captain Hobson expressed his approval of the Waitemata as the site of the capital, but did not commit himself to a particular spot, and returned to the Bay of Islands. In a despatch to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, dated 15th October, 1840, Captain Hobson gives his reasons for “forming the seat of government on the south[Pg 37] shore of the Waitemata,” and continues: “In the choice I have thus made, I have been influenced by a combination of circumstances: First, by its central position; secondly, by the great facility of internal water communication by the Kaipara and its branches to the northward, and the Manakou [sic] and Waikato to the southward; thirdly, from the facility and safety of its port, and the proximity of several smaller ports abounding with the most valuable timber; and finally, by the fertility of the soil, which is stated by persons capable of appreciating it, to be available for every agricultural purpose....” In a later despatch, dated 10th November, 1840, the Lieutenant-Governor states that he had “lately returned from a visit to the Waitemata, where I found the officers of the Government, and the mechanics and labourers under their orders, proceeding with the necessary works for establishing the town which I contemplate being the future seat of Government, and which I purpose distinguishing by the name of ‘Auckland.’”[6]

Hobson’s choice of the capital was strenuously[Pg 38] opposed by the New Zealand Company, and its agents endeavoured to have Wellington made the seat of Government. The controversy between the Governor and the Company lasted until 1842, when Queen Victoria signified her approval of the Governor’s selection, notification of which appeared in the “New Zealand Government Gazette” of November 26th, 1842. Auckland remained the capital until February, 1865.

In September a move was made to occupy the new site, the ship Anna Watson (Captain Stewart) conveying the Government officers from the Bay of Islands to the Waitemata, where they arrived on the 15th. The vessel anchored off Freeman’s Bay, moving on the following day to an anchorage near Point Britomart, where the deepest water was found, and which was afterwards named Commercial Bay. East of Point Britomart the officers of the expedition took up their location in a pretty little bay, which was named Official Bay, and in the next bay, which received the name Mechanics Bay, the tradesmen found accommodation. Here the making of the city began.

[Pg 39]

The following extract from The New Zealand Advertiser and Bay of Islands Gazette of September 24th, 1840, sets forth in detail the ceremony attending the establishment of the city:—“The barque Anna Watson, having on board several officers of the Government, mechanics, labourers, etc., anchored in the Harbour of Waitemata on Tuesday, the 15th instant, and the site for the intended Settlement on its shores having been selected by the Surveyor-General, on Friday, the 18th September, at 1 p.m., the ceremony of taking formal possession in the name of Her Majesty was duly performed. The whole party having landed, the British Flag was hoisted on a staff, erected on a bold promontory commanding a view of the entire harbour. The Flag was immediately saluted by twenty-one guns from the Anna Watson, followed by a salute of fifteen guns from the barque Platina, after which Her Majesty’s health was drunk at the foot of the flagstaff, and greeted by three times three hearty cheers. The Anna Watson then fired a salute of seven guns in honour of His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor, which was responded to[Pg 40] by three hearty cheers, and ‘one cheer more’ from those on shore. The party then returned to the Anna Watson, and, after partaking of luncheon, a regatta took place between a five-oared gig belonging to the Surveyor-General and a six-oared gig belonging to the Anna Watson, both pulled in excellent style by amateurs. This was followed by a match for a purse of five pounds between two whale-boats pulled by sailors, and by another between two large canoes paddled by Natives. And thus concluded the ceremony of founding the first British Settlement established under the auspices of the Government in this part of New Zealand; a ceremony the more interesting, as this settlement is intended for the future Capital of what we may venture to predict will one day become a mighty empire. The Officers of the Government present on the occasion consisted of the [7]Police Magistrate, the [8]Colonial Surgeon, the [9]Harbour-master, the [10]Superintendent of Works, the [11]Sub-Protector of Aborigines, and the [12]Surveyor-General and his lady.”

Facsimile of the original Deed of Purchase of the site of the City of Auckland

[Pg 41]

Auckland City had now begun its career. On the 17th October, Captain Hobson again visited Auckland, but did not make an official landing until 14th March, 1841, when he was received with such honours as the small community could furnish. There was a guard of honour in attendance. A procession was formed, and the Lieutenant-Governor was escorted to the newly-erected official residence. Shortly after the Lieutenant-Governor had taken up his residence in Auckland, New Zealand was proclaimed, on 3rd May, 1841, to be independent of New South Wales, and Captain Hobson continued in office, becoming Governor instead of Lieutenant-Governor.

Captain Hobson did not long survive the foundation of Auckland. He died on September 10th, 1842. His remains were interred in the burial-ground at Symonds Street, all the officers of the Government, as well as the civilian population, being present at the funeral. In a political sense we have no interest in Captain Hobson, but the[Pg 42] question of the choice of the Waitemata as the capital has an interest for us. We feel constrained therefore to pay tribute to the man who chose, with the instinct of a city-maker, the site upon which Auckland now stands. He discarded the Tamaki, for its obvious defects; he rejected the upper reaches of the Waitemata, and he chose the situation which has proved to be the most natural and effective for a new and constantly-increasing city. Other men, such as the late Sir John Logan Campbell, may have more substantial claims in actual work for the community and in precedence of time to the title of “Father of Auckland”; for Logan Campbell had settled in the Waitemata before Captain Hobson had fixed upon Auckland as the site of the city, but in actually making the choice, Hobson is, I claim, entitled without opposition to be called the father of Auckland.

Auckland in the early ’forties had a very different appearance from the city of to-day. Indeed, it is one of the fascinations in writing about Auckland to follow its growth from untamed natural country to a city state; it is also one of its draw[Pg 43]backs, for changes have been so rapid and thorough that the original condition is completely obliterated.

The boundaries of the original town (see Land Deed of the City of Auckland, f. p. 40) were as follows:—It commenced at Cox’s Creek and followed the coast until Hobson’s Bay was reached at a point where Brighton Road now meets the waterfront, thence inland in an irregular line to Mount Eden, and from there back to Cox’s Creek. The waterfront naturally shows the greatest alteration. Commercial Bay was the principal part of the waterfront. At that time the sea came right up to the foot of Shortland Crescent. Commercial Bay then swept eastward to a headland, which was first called Flagstaff Hill, but was renamed Point Britomart, after H.M. brig Britomart. Later still, when the promontory was utilised as a military station, the “Point” was changed to “Fort.” Continuing in the same direction were Official and Mechanics Bays. On the western side the most prominent bay in proximity to the city was Freeman’s Bay. The appearance of the waterfront at this period was more picturesque than at the[Pg 44] present time; the bays were prettier, and the vegetation covered the land right to the water’s edge.

Sir John Logan Campbell, in the interesting account[13] of his pioneer experiences, gives a graphic picture of Auckland a few weeks after the Lieutenant-Governor’s visit, when he settled the site of the capital. “The capital!” he writes—“a few boats and canoes on the beach, a few tents and break-wind huts along the margin of the bay, and then—a sea of fern stretching away as far as the eye could reach.”

The first consideration of the Government officials and mechanics was to provide housing for themselves and then to make buildings for the requirements of the young community. The eastern side of the town was the first to show growth. In 1842 (see map f. p. 48), there were a considerable number of houses along the waterfront as far as Mechanics Bay. Both sides of Shortland Crescent (now street) had houses built on it. Queen Street also had a number of build[Pg 45]ings, which diminished in number as the street continued southward, and practically finished at Victoria Street, with an isolated dwelling here and there beyond. The sketch of Auckland in 1843 (f. p. 53), reputed to have been made by Captain D. Rough, conveys a good impression of the town at that date. It is the earliest existing picture we have of Queen Street, and depicts the condition of living in those days. The roads are unformed, the houses are all built of wood, and there is no wharf. Outside the Court House are to be seen stocks, in which wrong-doers did penance for their evil deeds.

Sir John Logan Campbell provides us with a picture of the social and economic conditions of the early days in the book[14] from which I have already quoted. “My large establishment, representing not only the firm’s business premises, but the resident partner’s place of abode, consisted as of old, of the historical tent. It had been pitched where a little trickling thread of water ran past, and I had dug a little well, which gave me a plenti[Pg 46]ful supply, and got hold of an old flour-barrel to put in the hole. I had also fenced myself off from the gaze of passengers, as the great thoroughfare from Store [Commercial] to Exclusion [nickname of Official] Bay passed in front of my tent. I had stuck up some poles and clothed them with ti-tree, so that I might have a screen behind which I could carry on all my domestic duties.... I used to get up at sunrise, often before it, and go away foraging for wood, which I brought home from a not far-distant patch of brushwood.... At the back of my fence I had rigged up a triangle, from which hung a hook on which to suspend my gipsy-pot, and the fireplace was backed round with large blocks of scoria stone, to prevent my fence from being burned down. Here I did my modest cooking to the oft-told MENU, pork and potatoes—not a sheep or herd of oxen had yet reached the capital, neither butcher nor baker had yet appeared on the scene. We all were still our own cooks and drawers of water, and jolly and well and happy every one of us looked.... Very primitive were our ways, as I have already stated. We had par[Pg 47]sons without churches, and magistrates without courts; but we scrambled through our divinity and our law somehow or other.... For instance, here is an entry of date 15th May [1841]. ‘To-day saw Mr. —— sitting in front of his whare administering justice under the canopy of heaven.’”

Another interesting description of Auckland in its cradle days is given in the Diary of Mr. Robert Graham, one of the immigrants by the Jane Gifford, which arrived in Auckland on October 9th, 1842. Under the date October 12th, he records:—

“The town of Auckland lies in a hollow, and the houses are built close down to the beach. Some of them are very ‘natty’. Shortland Street appears to be the principal street. In the meantime, the first shop is a grog shop; the next is Mr. McLennan’s; the third a shoemaker’s; the fourth a baker’s; then a grog shop; next a pork stand; and then another grog shop. There seems to be a grog shop for every three of all the other trades put together. Shortland Crescent is a pretty steep hill. On the top of it is the church, the Customs-house, bank and the public buildings, and adjacent the[Pg 48] barracks. A road leads to Manukau, a distance of ten miles, where a coach can run the whole way. Mr. Gould and I went out this road four miles to a place called Epsom. There is a little cultivation going on there, but none nearer the town. Saw some nice cottages and fine gardens, and two farms of about ten acres, each under cultivation in wheat and barley. There were also two herds of cattle with bells on their necks to indicate their whereabouts when in the fern, which is everywhere around. Observed one plough at work, drawn by two bullocks. The Maoris to be seen about are seemingly quite happy, fond of smoking; and appear to have pork, fish and potatoes in abundance. They are intelligent looking, have most pleasant countenances, and are all mostly tatooed, the chiefs in particular being elaborately so.”

Plan of Auckland, 1842
At this date the waters of the Waitemata Harbour reached Lower Queen Street at a point opposite Shortland Street where a streamlet known as the Ligar Canal ran into the Bay.
After the original in the Old Colonists’ Museum

The following tables, taken from Charles Terry’s “New Zealand; Its Advantages and Prospects as a British Colony” (pp. 60-61), show the cost of living at that time, and make an interesting comparison with the cost of living at the present time:—

[Pg 49]

Price of Provisions at Auckland, July, 1841

  s. d.
Beef per lb 1  4
Mutton " 1  0
Pork " 0  7
Flour " 0  5
Bread " 0  7
Cheese, English " 2  0
Butter, Irish " 2  6
Tea " 10  0
Coffee " 2  6
Sugar, brown " 0  6
Sugar, refined " 1  0
Rice " 0  4
Potatoes, per cwt. 8  0

Rents and Lodging

Wooden Houses, unfurnished Two small rooms and kitchen, £60 to £80 per annum
Lodgings, unfurnished One small room, £1 per week
Board and Lodging Board, being without malt or spirituous liquors, and Lodging, a bed in a room with others, £2 per week


Carpenters 16s. to 20s. per day
Brickmakers 10s. per day
Labourers 8s. per day
Men Servants £4 per month, and board
Maid Servants £36 per annum, and board
Boys 10s. per week, and board

After the Government had established itself at Auckland, one of the first duties which it undertook was to provide settlers with land. On April 19-20,[Pg 50] 1841, the first sale of town lots by auction was held, and the figures realised were stupendous, due to jobbing, which land sharks from Sydney and other parts of Australia had fostered. According to the official “Gazette,” only 116 allotments were sold, the total area comprising 38 acres 1 rood 28 perches, realising £21,299 9s. In addition, twelve allotments measuring 5 acres 3 roods 2½ perches were reserved for Government officers, and realised £2,976 8s. 9d.

Among the names of the purchasers will be found some of Auckland’s most respected citizens, who had the confidence, even in those early days, that Auckland was destined to be a big city.

The size of the town allotments varied from approximately a quarter to half an acre. The plan of the town was the work of Mr. Felton Mathew, Surveyor-General, its principal features being a circus where Albert Park now stands, balanced on the western side of Queen Street by a square, into which Hobson Street and Victoria Street now intersect. The sections were designed so that they had a double front, one to the main street, the other[Pg 51] to a lane. Some of these lanes survive to the present, for example, High Street. The principal streets were 66 feet wide, the secondary streets 33 feet, and the lanes somewhat less. Unfortunately for the city’s future, the owners of sections subdivided their lots, and the lanes automatically became important thoroughfares. To-day these narrow streets are completely congested with the traffic, and widening operations must inevitably take place. O’Connell Street, one of those lanes (where the first wooden house[15] erected in Auckland stood for some eighty years), has just undergone this process of widening, and others must follow.

Following upon the sale of town lots, selections of Government land comprising suburban allotments, cultivation allotments and sections suitable for small farms were offered for sale on September 1st of the same year. The first group of sections was situated eastward of Mechanics Bay[Pg 52] proceeding towards Hobson’s Bay, which approximates roughly to the Parnell district of to-day. These allotments were each about four acres in size. Of the twenty-five lots offered, eighteen were sold, and realised £2910, the average price per acre being £45 14s. 3d. The ten cultivation sections were intended for market gardens, and were situated “about one mile to the southward of Mechanics Bay, on low, swampy ground under Mount Eden.” Of these, ten were put up and eight sold, the total revenue being £318, or an average of £13 5s. an acre. The farm sections were situated on the flat between Mount St. John, One Tree Hill and the Three Kings, and varied from four to twenty-three acres in extent. Thirty-eight sections were sold, those fronting the proposed Manukau Road selling readiest and realised £1598, the average price per acre being £3 8s.

One of the consequences of this series of sales was the subdivision and reselling by buyers of their sections, with the idea of opening suburban districts. Two of the places were named Parnell and Epsom, which names still survive; but two[Pg 53] others, named Anna and Windsor Terrace, have passed from local knowledge. Charles Terry, author of “New Zealand: Its Advantages and Prospects as a British Colony,”[16] published in 1842, caustically remarks: “The towns of ‘Anna,’ ‘Epsom,’ etc., with reserves for churches, market places, hippodromes, with crescents, terraces and streets named after heroes and statesmen, were then advertised with all the technical jargon with which colonial advertisements are characterised.”

Queen Street in 1843, showing Stocks in front of Gaol
After an original water colour in the Old Colonists’ Museum

The population of Auckland in 1841 was estimated by the Colonial Secretary of the day, Mr. Andrew Sinclair, to be 1500 persons. In 1842 it had grown to 2895, due to the influx of settlers following upon the foundation of the capital, and also to the arrival of 500 immigrants by the ship Duchess of Argyle (667 tons, R. G. Tait, captain) and the barque Jane Gifford (558 tons, Captain Paul). These vessels arrived in the harbour on the same date, October 9th, 1842. They were the first ships to bring British immigrants direct to Auckland. Their port of departure was Greenock, and,[Pg 54] naturally, the Scottish element predominated among the new arrivals. The Scottish sentiment, which is quite a feature of Auckland, may be traced back to those immigrants. The passengers of these two ships held reunions every tenth year from 1852 to 1892 on the anniversary—10th October—of their landing in Auckland. Out of these gatherings has developed the Old Colonists’ Association, membership of which is confined to colonists of fifty years’ standing and their descendants. The meetings have been held annually since 1898.

The Government was not prepared for such a large influx of immigrants as these two ships had brought. The domestic servants and some of the men were able to obtain employment, but the families were not so fortunate, and they had to be content with the rough accommodation which hastily-built whares could give them. The ship St. George[17] arrived soon after, with over ninety boys from Parkhurst Prison on board. They were placed under the care of Captain Rough, in his capacity[Pg 55] of Immigration Agent; but he found them less agreeable subjects to deal with than the earlier immigrants. On the 31st March, 1843, the ship Westminster brought to Auckland a very good class of immigrants, mostly English, and on this occasion the Immigration Agent was better able to provide for their reception than formerly.

The conditions of the young city in its earliest years were not enviable. The work of pioneering was exceedingly strenuous. Employment was difficult to obtain, for none of the settlers had much capital to work upon, and the Government had little enough in the Treasury, and none to spend on public works. Despite discouragements and disappointments, the settlers were patient, endured the hardships—and hoped. By 1844, with the advent of Governor Fitzroy (December 23), steps were taken to absorb those, who had not received private employment, upon road formation. Captain Rough, whose name we have already mentioned as Harbour Master and as Immigration Officer, might as well have borne the name of Pooh Bah, for to him was given charge of this work. In[Pg 56] his reminiscences, he says: “As there was at that time no superintendent of works, I was asked to take the business [of road making] in hand, and though little acquainted with such matters, yet, by getting an intelligent and practical foreman, and letting out divisions of the work to be done by contract to parties of immigrants, we managed in the course of eight or ten months to cut down the upper part and fill up the lower part of Shortland Street, to form and metal Princes Street and Queen Street, which previously were almost impassable in wet weather; and also to clear and make the roads to the Tamaki and Onehunga districts, as well as to blast and to cut through a spur of Mount Eden, filling up an almost insatiable swamp, and thus opening and forming the road to Newmarket called the Khyber Pass, the terrible massacre of British troops in Afghanistan being much in mind at that time. The improvements executed in the course of twelve months found employment for the immigrants and were very cheering and satisfactory to the town people and to country settlers. To myself the superintendence was a somewhat arduous addi[Pg 57]tion to my duties afloat, but still I look back at it as having been one of the most interesting and useful occupations of my life in New Zealand.”

In 1843, the first conflict with the Maoris took place at Wairau, and in the following year Hone Heke’s rebellion began. These events are outside the scope of this sketch, except in so far as they react upon the city’s history. The destruction of Kororareka by Heke’s followers caused many of the settlers to come to Auckland, and created consternation and panic in the town itself. It was feared that the rebels would follow up their success in the Bay of Islands by attacking the capital. The defences of the barracks were improved, and entrenchments made, while the citizens were prepared for eventualities by being drilled. As it happened, the tide of war swept northward, and did not reach the city. The consequence, however, as far as the capital was concerned, was to retard its progress. We do not need to enter into the details of the war, except to anticipate its results. Governor Fitzroy’s conduct of the crisis was unsatisfactory. He was recalled, and his successor,[Pg 58] Captain George Grey,[18] arrived in Auckland on 14th November, 1845, and took steps which speedily ended the war in the north. As Governor of New Zealand and citizen of Auckland, he did much for both. He was twice Governor (1845-53 and 1861-68), Superintendent of the Auckland Province, 1875, and he is the only Governor who subsequently became a member of Parliament and Premier of the Colony over which he formerly governed. The greater part of his official and private life is associated with this city. On his retirement from the governorship, at the expiration of his second term, he acquired the island of Kawau, and there made his home. From then until 1894 he was closely identified with Auckland’s development, and it may be taken for granted that he held the former capital in high esteem when he chose to bequeath to it his collection of rare and valuable books and manuscripts, as well as his pictures and an ethnological collection of no little value. He is to be ranked as one of Auckland’s makers and benefactors. A statue erected to perpetuate his[Pg 59] memory stands near the Town Hall. It was unveiled on December 21st, 1904, by the Governor, Lord Plunket. Mr. W. J. Speight, who was chairman of the Memorial Committee, presided at the ceremony.

The Maori Festival which took place in May, 1844, on the outskirts of the city, near Mount St. John, forms a contrast to the troubles which the Government was having with the natives in the North. This was a gathering of some two or three thousand Maoris collected “from various remote districts of the Island ... for the purpose of still more cementing that friendship and good feeling which their now superior knowledge teaches to be essential to their comfort and happiness.” The Governor (Captain Fitzroy) visited, on May 11th, the ground where the festival was held, and was well received by the natives, who danced hakas in his honour. The following note on the feeding of these thousands is taken from The Southern Cross of May 18th, 1844. “The preparations made for the feast were enormous. A wall of potatoes in baskets extended nearly for a quarter of a mile, covered on the top with several thousand dried[Pg 60] sharks and dog fishes. Opposite to this potato wall was a shade of the same length, covered over with blankets, which were intended as presents to their guests. The number of the blankets could not be short of five hundred.” The correspondent adds: “Some of our English manufacturers would have relished such a sight.” From what we have learned from our investigations into those early days, almost any of the settlers would have relished the sight still more. At the time the population of Auckland was only 2754 persons, and such a gathering, while the native war in the North still continued, must have caused no little concern both to the authorities and the settlers.

A year after the capture of Ruapekapeka, on January 11th, 1846, which ended the war in the North, an attempt was made by Hone Heke to instigate an attack on Auckland, and for this purpose invited the Kaipara and Waikato chiefs to join him. He sent messengers to Mangere, where they met the Waikato chiefs, including Potatau (Te Wherowhero), Kati, Te Wherepu, Taka-anini, Tutere, Ngapora, and others. After conveying the[Pg 61] presents which Hone Heke had sent, and having stated the object of their mission, Potatau consulted with the assembled chiefs, and on the following day returned a bag of bullets, which had formed part of the gift Hone Heke had sent to him, and declined to take part in the suggested attack upon the Pakeha, stating that the chief of Ngapuhi would have to dispose of his shadows first. Tuhaere agreed with Potatau, saying, “My word is one with thine, O Potatau.” The messengers returned home, but Heke did not venture to attack with the other tribes hostile, and so the project failed.

Commercial Bay, 1844
Showing Shortland Street and St. Paul’s Church
After a drawing by Lieut. Godfrey, R.N., M.R.C.S. (H.M.S. Urgent) in the Old Colonists’ Museum

Among the earliest events of a domestic character in the development of the city, the newspaper must take a prominent place. The first newspaper was born on 10th July, 1841, and was named the New Zealand Herald and Auckland Gazette. It consisted of four pages of very much smaller size than a newspaper of to-day, and cost a shilling a copy. Its circulation was 250 copies. Its career was brief, the last issue being April 2nd, 1842. The editors of the Herald were successively Charles Terry, William Corbett, and Dr. Samuel McDonald[Pg 62] Martin, a fiery Highlander, whose trenchant articles brought about the demise of the paper. It was succeeded in a week’s time by the Auckland Standard, which had even a shorter career, four months (April to August) being the extent of its vitality. Its editor was William Swainson, who had come to New Zealand to fill the position of Attorney-General. The Auckland Chronicle and New Zealand Colonist made its initial appearance on 8th November, 1841, but after a month’s run it was suspended. It revived in November of the following year, and continued to appear until July, 1843. After another suspension of two months it again appeared and survived until 1845, when it finally disappeared. Messrs. Kitchen and Barrow were the editors, and Mr. John Moore was the printer. On September 5th, 1842, the Auckland Times made its début. On its first appearance it was printed by Mr. Moore from type which had been used by the printer of the New Zealand Herald and Auckland Gazette. This type had been purchased by the Government on the winding-up of that paper. For some reason the Government forbade the use of[Pg 63] the type to Mr. Henry Falwasser, the editor and proprietor of the Times. Mr. Falwasser was not deterred by this refusal, and collecting all sorts and sizes of types, and with the aid of a mangle, he continued to bring out his paper under such unique conditions for about thirty successive issues. Dr. T. M. Hocken, whose researches in the byways of New Zealand bibliography are of such value to students, and to whom I am indebted for much information, remarks that if the production was “not a confusion of tongues, it was certainly a confusion of letters.” The last of these curious issues appeared on the 13th April, 1843. It reappeared on November 7th in conventional form, and continued until its one hundred and fifty-ninth number, 17th January, 1846.

With the Southern Cross and the New Zealander we arrive at something like stability. The promoter and first editor of the former was Dr. Martin, whose association with the first Auckland paper has been mentioned. The proprietors were Messrs. Brown and Campbell, who as business men were pre-eminent, being interested in practically every[Pg 64] local commercial venture. The Southern Cross, New Zealand Guardian, and Auckland, Thames, and Bay of Islands Advertiser, to give the paper its full title, appeared on April 22nd, 1843, and continued regularly until its one hundred and sixth number (April 26th, 1845), when it was suspended because it proved unprofitable. It resumed publication in July, 1847, with the title shortened to The Southern Cross and New Zealand Guardian. In June, 1851 (No. 415), it was enlarged, and in May, 1862, it appeared daily. Shortly after its change to a daily it was sold to Mr. (afterwards Sir) Julius Vogel, and again resold, in 1876, to Mr. Horton, who amalgamated it with the New Zealand Herald, which had been founded in 1863.

Auckland, Circa 1852
P. J. Hogan, delt.

The New Zealander commenced its career on 7th June, 1845, during the suspension of the Southern Cross. It was owned by Mr. John Williamson, for many years Superintendent of the Auckland Province and the Government printer of the day. Shortly after the advent of the paper, Mr. Williamson was joined by Mr. W. C. Wilson, and they became partners in its publication. The[Pg 65] partnership lasted until 1863, when Mr. Wilson retired, owing to his dislike of his partner’s philo-Maori policy at the outbreak of the Taranaki campaign. Mr. Wilson then started the New Zealand Herald. The Herald immediately gained an ascendancy over the New Zealander, which ceased publication on the destruction by fire of its premises in 1866.

The new paper continued to enlarge its hold and influence, and in 1876, when Mr. Wilson died, it was firmly established. He was succeeded by his sons, and they were joined in partnership by Mr. Horton, who had become the owner of the Southern Cross, and ever since the name of Wilson and Horton has been on the Herald’s imprint. The Auckland Weekly News, which was commenced just two weeks after the Herald, holds the record in New Zealand for a weekly paper, and has attained a high place among the weekly journals. Many men of outstanding ability have been editors of the Herald, and contributions have been made to it by the best writers the Dominion has produced.

[Pg 66]

The Herald was first printed in temporary premises in Queen Street, near Durham Street East. Nine months later it was removed to Wyndham Street, and from then (1863) until 1912 extensive additions have been made at different times to meet the increasing business which the firm has to handle.

Between the ’forties and the present day many other papers have been launched, and after brief careers, have passed out of existence, but beside the New Zealand Herald only the Auckland Star (originally the Evening Star) needs mention, and may be most fittingly dealt with here. The suggestion for the commencing of the paper came from Mr. William Tyrone Ferrar, who enlisted the interest of Mr. George McCullagh Reed, and on the 8th January, 1870, the first issue appeared. Two months later they were joined in partnership by Mr. Henry M. Brett, who became, in 1876, sole proprietor and later managing director. In 1872 the paper was so firmly established that the Evening News and Morning News gave up business, and were purchased by the proprietors[Pg 67] of the Star. Mr. G. M. Reed retired from the editorship in 1876, and was succeeded by the present editor, Dr. Thomson W. Leys. The Star commenced operations in Wyndham Street in the building now occupied by the Observer; in 1884 it removed to Shortland Street, and in 1916 was enlarged by the addition of a nine-storey building in Fort Street.

Among the earliest institutions to be founded in the town’s history were the churches. Auckland’s first church was St. Paul’s Anglican church, the foundation stone of which was laid by Captain Hobson on July 28th, 1841, the consecration taking place two years later, on March 17th, 1843, at which Bishop Selwyn, who arrived in Auckland on May 30th of the previous year, officiated. This building was situated in Emily Place, and is easily located to-day by the monument erected in memory of its first minister, the Reverend John Frederick Churton, which stands in the reserve where the church formerly stood. In the ’sixties this building was demolished, except for the front gable and tower, and was replaced by another structure in[Pg 68] the Gothic style of architecture. Colonel Mould, of the Royal Engineers, was the architect of this church, which was a pleasing structure, both externally and internally, but the commercial expansion of the city spelt its doom. After having served as a place of worship and a landmark for more than fifty years, it was completely demolished in 1895, and the present church at the corner of Symonds Street and Wellesley Street was opened on November 1st of that year. Mr. W. H. Skinner was the designer of the new building, and Mr. McLean was the contractor.

The first Roman Catholic church was St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the foundation stone of which was laid by Bishop Pompallier in 1846. The building was located in Wyndham Street, and was completed in 1848. It was dedicated on the Feast of St. Joseph by the Reverend Dr. Viard, Coadjutor-Bishop. Additions were made to the structure in 1884, amounting almost to a new building, and again in 1908.

Auckland, 1852, from Hobson Street
Showing the Harbour, North Shore and islands. The Albert Barracks and the principal buildings of the city are also shown
P. J. Hogan, delt.

The Presbyterian Church had no church building until 1850. Prior to this it held its services in[Pg 69] buildings designed for less spiritual purposes. In 1843 the adherents of this Church used the Supreme Court, Queen Street, where, it is said, the ruling elders sat in the dock as their bench of honour! The first church—St. Andrew’s—was commenced in 1847, and opened for divine service on April 7th, 1850. It cost £3500. Originally it was a very plain building, but with later additions, including the tower, which was erected in 1882, it has now quite a commanding appearance. The additions and alterations were made from the plans of Mr. Matthew Henderson, and cost £3000. Mr. J. J. Holland was the contractor. The Rev. A. G. Panton was the first minister. The Presbytery of Auckland was formed six years later, on October 14, 1856, the Rev. John Mackay being appointed first Moderator.

The Wesleyan denomination commenced its ministration early in the ’forties, and, in 1843, a small weatherboard church was erected in High Street, on a site granted by the Government. The building was a modest one, costing £246. It was superseded by a brick church, which was erected and opened in 1848.

[Pg 70]

Commercial development rendered a banking concern a necessity. The first bank to be opened in Auckland was the New Zealand Banking Company, which had commenced its career at Kororareka. In July, 1841, a branch was instituted at Auckland in premises which were situated in Princes Street, near the site occupied by the Grand Hotel of to-day. Mr. Alex. Kennedy was the manager. Beyond these meagre details, the writer has not been able to obtain satisfactory information about this bank’s subsequent history.

Auckland, 1852, from Smale’s Point
Showing Commercial Bay, Fort Street, Fort Britomart, Shortland Street and old St. Paul’s Church
P. J. Hogan, delt.

The Auckland Savings Bank commenced its career on June 5th, 1847. The trustees transferred their property to the Government in 1848, and under its auspices continued to operate, an office in the Union Bank of Australia being used, and here it remained until 1854, when a room adjoining the Colonial Bank of Issue was granted by the Government for the use of the Savings Bank. In 1859 a site in Queen Street, being part of the site upon which the bank still stands, was acquired from the Provincial Council, and obtaining additional land by purchase, the trustees decided, in 1860, to[Pg 71] erect a building of their own. The year 1876 saw the inauguration of the Penny Savings Bank. The present premises were opened in 1884 by the Governor, Sir William Drummond Jervois. The architect and contractor were respectively Mr. Edward Bartley and Mr. J. Heron.

The establishment of a branch of the Union Bank of Australia in 1848 in Auckland was an indication of the commercial progress of the city. The building in Princes Street, used at the foundation of the bank, still stands next to the Northern Club. Later the business was removed to offices at the corner of Shortland Crescent and O’Connell Street. In 1864 the present building in Queen Street was occupied. The architect was Mr. Leonard Terry, and the contractor Mr. Charles Brown, both of Melbourne. The contract price was £9000, but with extras the building cost approximately £10,000.

Early in 1842 (January 5th) the first race meeting held in New Zealand took place at Epsom. At what exact location this event was held the writer has not ascertained, nor can he give any information about the event itself. Despite this,[Pg 72] it is of interest to record the beginning of a sport which has grown to such enormous dimensions.

The Supreme Court was opened on 28th February of this year (1842), and occupied a site at the corner of Queen and Victoria Streets. Here, a week later, the first execution which took place in Auckland was carried out on March 7th. The victim of the law was a native, by name Maketu, who was found guilty on a charge of murder. It is related that a Government land sale was postponed for an hour so that purchasers could witness the event. The Court House was used until the present building in Waterloo Quadrant was finished in 1867. This building was commenced in 1863 by Messrs. Amos and Taylor, and completed by Messrs. Mathews and Bartley. Mr. Edward Rumsey was the architect.

The Auckland Hospital, reputed to be the first hospital opened in the Dominion, was erected on the site of the present Costley wards about 1845. Dr. F. M. Philson was the first regularly appointed medical officer. Up to the year 1883 the Hospital was under the control of the Provincial and Gen[Pg 73]eral Governments. In this year the management was delegated to a local committee, which administered the institution until the passing of “The Hospitals and Charitable Institutions Act, 1885,” when it vacated office to the newly-constituted authority, consisting of representatives of local bodies of the district, to which the financial responsibility and management of the institution was transferred.

The main block of the present Hospital was erected in 1875-76. Mr. P. Herepath was the architect and Mr. John Taylor the contractor. The contract price was £19,249. The next notable addition to the Hospital was made in 1898, when the Costley wards were erected, at a cost of £5600. The chief operating theatre, attached to the Costley block, was built in 1905, and cost £2753. Subsequently a surgical wing was added to the Costley block. The Princess Mary Hospital for Children was erected in 1917. The furniture of the Children’s Hospital was provided by the Auckland Vaudeville Employees’ Association as a war memorial, the association collecting a sum of £3152 for the pur[Pg 74]pose. The typhoid wards, erected as a temporary building in 1887 to cope with the severe typhoid outbreak which occurred in that year, and the Nurses’ Home are the other principal buildings of the Hospital.

The Costley Home, One Tree Hill, which was erected from funds bequeathed by the late E. Costley, was opened by the Governor, the Earl of Onslow, on April 23rd, 1890, and cost £8650 to erect. The infirmary, adjoining the home, which cost £5000, was opened on December 9th, 1907. An addition to the latter building, which was made in 1916, cost about £6300. The home is administered by the Hospital Board.

During the war the Hospital had to meet heavy demands made by the return of sick and wounded soldiers. One of the Exhibition buildings, which had been kept intact, was formed into an annexe, while a house in Domett Avenue, Epsom, and the residence of the late A. R. D. Watson at North Head, were utilised as convalescent homes. The Point Chevalier Hospital was also used for military purposes in 1915.

[Pg 75]

Auckland, 1852, from Britomart Barracks
Showing Commercial Bay, Lower Queen Street, and new Queen Street Wharf, Wyndham Street, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Smale’s Point. (The steamboat in the foreground is the Governor Wynyard)
P. J. Hogan, delt.

Another institution which came into being during the first decade of the city’s history was the Auckland Mechanics’ Institute and Library, which was opened on 30th September, 1842. In addition to a hall, which for many years was the only place for meetings the town possessed, there was a library, a reading room and official’s residence. In this humble building practically all the important meetings of the town were held, and in it many of the city’s institutions and societies were born. The building was situated in Chancery Street.

The first ship propelled by steam to arrive in Auckland was H.M.S. Driver. She steamed into the Waitemata on January 20th, 1846, the vessel being in charge of Commander C. O. Hayes. Her tonnage was 1058, and her horse-power 280. She mounted four large guns, and carried a complement, including marines, of 175. The first merchant steamer to visit Auckland was the Juno, from Sydney, which reached the Waitemata on July 7th, 1847.

The earliest fire of importance recorded in Auckland was that which destroyed Government[Pg 76] House in June, 1848. The building was constructed of wood, which was brought out in sections from England, and in appearance resembled an ordinary cottage. Fortunately, a sketch by Baron de Thierry survives, and is preserved in the Auckland Old Colonists’ Museum. The destroyed building occupied a site within the grounds of the present Government House property.

[Pg 77]

Auckland, 1852, from Queen Street Wharf
Showing Queen Street and corner of Shortland Street, the Wesleyan College (now the People’s Palace) and the Windmill, Karangahape Road, still a city landmark. (The two uniformed men in the foreground are native policemen)
P. J. Hogan, delt.

Chapter II
Development: 1851-1870

The advent of the second decade of Auckland’s history finds the town passing from the cradle stage to one of more independence. Until the year 1851 Auckland had been variously described as “the town,” “the seat of government,” or “the capital.” In other words, it had been fostered by the Government. Now, by a Proclamation of the Governor, Sir George Grey, it was elevated to the position of a borough, with a corporation—the first to be created in New Zealand—to which was given the powers of self-government on all matters of local interest. The elections were held on November 18th, and resulted in the return of the following gentlemen:—Messrs. Edwin Davy, Archibald Clark, Patrick Dignan, F. W. Merriman, A. B. Abraham, James O’Neill, S. Norman,[Pg 78] T. M. Haultain, J. A. Hickson, A. Macdonald, Joseph Newman, William Powditch, William I. Taylor, and W. Mason. On November 25th the councillors were sworn in, the event taking place at the Court House, Auckland, before the Chief Justice (Sir William Martin), and in the presence of Lieutenant-Governor Wynyard and the naval, military and civil officers of the Government, as well as the officers of the 58th Regiment, the clergy, a numerous assemblage of ladies and a great concourse of burgesses, the day being observed as a special public holiday in honour of the occasion. To the accompaniment of a flourish of bugles the names of the gentlemen chosen to be first Mayor and aldermen of Auckland were announced as follows:—Mayor, Mr. Clark; aldermen, Messrs. Dignan, O’Neill, Powditch and Mason. Thereafter the Charter of Incorporation was read, and the Lieutenant-Governor delivered an address, in which he stated to the councillors that “it cannot fail to be a matter of gratifying personal distinction to yourselves to be selected from upwards of fourteen hundred burgesses to fill the office and discharge[Pg 79] the duties of the first Council of the first Corporation established in this country, under the immediate sanction of the Royal authority.” The ceremony ended with the guard of honour presenting arms, while the band played the National Anthem, and a salute of twelve guns from the battery at Fort Britomart was fired. The first meeting of the Council took place a week later in the Legislative Council Chamber, which had been placed at the disposal of the Corporation by the Government.

The Borough Council did not last long, owing to the disallowance in England of the “Land Fund Appropriation Act,” upon which the Corporation depended chiefly for its revenue, and on the passing of the Constitution Act of 1852, its existence terminated. Despite its short life, it is worthy of record as an historic fact.

Auckland’s municipal history during the remainder of this period is not of much interest. In 1854 “An Act to Provide for the Municipal Government of the City of Auckland” was passed by the Provincial Council. This Act was repealed in 1856, and the powers contained therein transferred[Pg 80] to the Superintendent of the Province. The next attempt to develop local government was made in 1862, when the “Town Boards Act” was passed by the Provincial Council; it was repealed the next year, and was superseded by the “City Board Act, 1863.” Finally, “The Municipal Corporations Act, 1867,” was passed, and under this Act the city was constituted by Proclamation on April 24th, 1871. It has continued to be governed by that Act and its amendments up to the present time.

MAYORS OF THE CITY OF AUCKLAND. First Row:—Arch. Clark (1851-52); P. A. Philips (1872-74); H. H. Isaacs (1874); F. L. Prime (1874-75); B. Tonks (1875-76).
Second Row:—W. J. Hurst (1876-77); H. Brett (1877-78); T. Peacock (1878-80); J. M. Clark (1880-83); W. R. Waddel (1883-86).
Third Row:—A. E. T. Devore (1886-89); J. H. Upton (1889-91); J. H. Gunson, C.M.G., C.B.E. (1915—); W. Crowther (1891-93); J. J. Holland (1893-96).
Fourth Row:—A. Boardman (1896-97); P. Dignan (1897-98); D. Goldie (1898-1901); Sir J. Logan Campbell (1901); Alf. Kidd (1901-03).
Fifth Row:—Hon. (afterwards Sir) E. Mitchelson (1903-05); Hon. A. M. Myers (1905-09); C. D. Grey (1909-10); L. J. Bagnall (1910-11); Hon. C. J. Parr (1911-15).

The boundaries of the Borough of Auckland, as originally proclaimed, were wider than they are now, and stretched across the Isthmus from the Waitemata to the Manukau, and from the Whau Creek to the Tamaki, an area of about 58,000 acres. The population of the borough was between seven and eight thousand persons. W. Swainson[19] gives an interesting account of the state of the city at this time. “The principal streets are Princes Street, Shortland Crescent, Queen Street and Wakefield Street. The first is a broad, straight, spacious,[Pg 81] well-made street on a gentle slope; St. Paul’s Church, the Treasury and the Bank, and the Masonic Hotel, are its principal buildings. Shortland Crescent, which connects Princes Street with Queen Street, is built on a rather steep ascent. It is less broad than Princes Street, but much longer. On one side [the right hand side going up from Queen Street] it is almost wholly built upon; shops and stores are here to be found of every description and of various forms and style ... with few exceptions, all are of wood. The roadway of the street is an even macadamised surface, but no attempt has yet been made to form footpaths on a general level. Some of the shops would not disgrace a small provincial town in England; though, taken altogether as a street, Shortland Street is irregular and unfinished. Queen Street is the least built upon; but in other respects, it is the best and most considerable street in Auckland. It is about half a mile long, nearly level, and almost straight, and terminates at its northern extremity at a pier or quay which runs into the harbour, and alongside of which small craft can land their cargoes.[Pg 82] At its southern extremity it is overlooked by the Wesleyan Seminary [now the People’s Palace] ... a spacious brick-built and substantial structure. The gaol[20] is badly situated, and is by no means a conspicuous building; but by a diligent search it may be found on the west side of Queen Street [at the corner of Victoria Street], partly screened from view by the Court House and Police Office, which abut immediately upon the street. Several shops of superior description, two and three storeys high, have recently been erected, and Queen Street, besides being the longest, is certainly just now one of the most improving streets in Auckland. Wakefield Street ascends from its southern extremity until it joins Cemetery Road, and is the newest and most increasing street in the town. Many of the houses are built of brick, and it already bears a considerable resemblance to a new street in the outskirts of a modern English town.” The same writer continues (p. 31):—“The most considerable public buildings are the Britomart and Albert Barracks, having together accom[Pg 83]modation for nearly 1000 men. The former are built on the extremity of the headland dividing Official from Commercial Bay, and form a conspicuous but by no means an ornamental feature. The buildings are solid and substantial, mostly of scoria—a dark, grey, sombre-coloured stone—square, heavy-looking and unsightly. The Albert Barracks,[21] the larger of the two, are built upon the same ridge, but about a quarter of a mile inland. The Stores, Hospital, Magazine and Commissariat Offices are built of scoria. The rest of the buildings are of wood, plain in style, and of a sombre colour. The various buildings, together with the parade ground, occupy several acres,[22] the whole of which is surrounded by a strong scoria wall, about ten or twelve feet high, loop-holed and with flanking angles ... the site, in a military point of view, is not happily chosen.”

[Pg 84]

From the same informative book (p. 64 et seq.) we obtain an interesting description of the social life of the town, in which, of course, the military element predominated. The author found that Auckland resembled an English watering-place. The houses were small and inconvenient, and many of the people felt that they were only temporary residents. The military part, with their families, were always on the move. There was little formality, little extravagance, and no ostentation; intercourse was freer; originality more obvious than in English towns; gossip more pronounced, but less harmful than in the Old Country; political animosities and religious bickerings were practically non-existent; and, except that the dress of the people was somewhat behind the fashion, one could not believe that the English watering-place was so very far away. As to amusements—“Once a week, during the summer, a regimental band plays for a couple of hours on the well-kept lawn in the Government grounds; and with the lovers of music and those who are fond of ‘seeing and being seen,’ ‘the band’ is a favourite lounge. Three or four[Pg 85] balls in the course of the year, a concert or two, an occasional picnic or water party, a visit to the goldfield or to the Island of Kawau, a trip to the Waikato or the lakes of Rotorua, are among the few amusements which aid in beguiling the lives of the Auckland fashionable circle; while dissipation in the milder form of temperance and tea-meetings, school feasts, stitcheries and lectures suffices for the greater portion of the Auckland community. To sportsmen the place offers few attractions; the annual race meeting is the great event of the year. Of hunting there is none; and wild ducks, pigeons and curlew afford but indifferent sport for the gun. Riding, boating, cricket and bush excursions are the favourite outdoor amusements. Once in the year nearly the whole of the ball-going portion of the community are brought together at a ball given by the Queen’s representative on the anniversary of Her Majesty’s birthday.”

Sir George Grey, K.C.B. (1812-1898)
Governor of New Zealand, 1845-53 and 1861-67. Superintendent of Auckland, 1875. Premier of New Zealand, 1877-79.

The cost of living is also dealt with. “Almost everything necessary to comfort and convenience may now be procured in Auckland. Although[Pg 86] cheaper than Wellington, Auckland is by no means a cheap place of residence; certainly not more so than an English town of the same size. House rent and servants’ wages are at least double what they are in England; but there are no taxes, rates or dues of any kind. Clothing of all kinds is also, of course, dearer in New Zealand than in England. Wine, spirits and groceries are, for the most part, cheaper. Bread and butcher meat are about the same. The fish caught near Auckland, although of but moderate quality, is plentiful and cheap. Vegetables are also abundant; during the summer of 1852 there were brought into market by the natives, in canoes alone, upwards of 1100 kits of onions (about twenty tons), upwards of 4000 kits of potatoes (more than one hundred tons), besides corn, cabbages and kumeras. Peaches grown by the natives and sufficiently good for culinary purposes are very abundant and cheap; during the present summer upwards of 1200 kits were brought into Auckland by canoes alone. Those who cultivate a garden are well supplied with peaches, strawberries, apples, figs, and melons; while[Pg 87] plums, pears, gooseberries and cherries are by no means uncommon, although less abundant than the former.”

The economic conditions existing in Auckland at the beginning of the ’fifties is stated and reflected in a most succinct form in a [23]Memorial sent to the Governor (Sir George Grey) by members of the Provincial Council of Auckland, setting forth the reasons why they consider it a matter of justice to Auckland that meetings of the General Legislature of New Zealand should for the present be held here. The memorandum is couched in the following terms:—

“That of the population of these islands, native and European, estimated to amount to 130,000, about 80,000, or three-fifths of the whole, reside within the limits of the newly-constituted Province of Auckland; and that of the European population of the Colony upwards of one-third of the whole number are settled within a radius of ten miles of the City of Auckland.

“That since the foundation of the Colony, nearly the whole of the proceeds of the land sales paid into the Colonial Treasury have arisen from the sale of lands[Pg 88] within the Province of Auckland, the proceeds of land sales in other provinces having been paid to absentee companies, and expended by them independently of any control or audit on the part of the Colony.

“That during the last twelve months upwards of £19,000 have been realised by the sale of Crown lands in Auckland and its neighbourhood alone.

“That the shipping frequenting the ports of the Province of Auckland exceeds the aggregate amount of the shipping of the other five provinces into which New Zealand is divided; and, without taking into consideration the shipping resorting to the Bay of Islands, Mongonui, Hokianga, and the other harbours of the northern province, upwards of 740 vessels, foreign and coastwise, entered the single port of Auckland in the course of the past year.

“That of the shipping belonging to the various ports of New Zealand, upwards of 100 vessels are registered as belonging to the port of Auckland alone, besides an equal number of licensed smaller vessels under fifteen tons.

“That exports of the value of upwards of £78,000 were shipped from the port of Auckland alone during the last year ended January, 1852.

“That the revenue arising within this province is nearly equal to the revenue collected within the whole[Pg 89] of the provinces of Taranaki, Wellington, Nelson, Canterbury and Otago; that of Auckland for the year ending June 30, 1852, amounting to £35,318, and of the five other provinces to £37,915.

“That, without reckoning the very extensive native and other cultivations in various parts of the province, there are, within fifteen miles of Auckland, upwards of 20,000 acres of land, substantially fenced, in high cultivation.

“That, in addition to the various other valuable resources of the province, gold in its natural state of deposit has recently been discovered over an extensive district within forty miles of the capital, on and near the shores of a large, safe and commodious harbour,[24] and in other districts in an opposite direction, even much nearer to the town.

“That the large native population of the province are rapidly increasing in wealth, and advancing in the arts and usages of civilised life; that they are producers of the greater part of the wheat grown in the province; the owners of a large number of mills, worked by water power, and of numerous small vessels engaged in the coasting trade, navigated by themselves, and employed in carrying native produce.

“That, in short, in shipping, commerce, agriculture,[Pg 90] revenue, population and wealth, the single Government Province of Auckland nearly equals in all respects, and surpasses in most, the aggregate of the numerous settlements planted in New Zealand by the New Zealand Company and the Canterbury Association, both of which bodies have now altogether ceased their colonising operations, if not wholly ceased to exist.”

In 1851 there occurred an incident, which, ending happily, might have had serious consequences. The beginning of the affair was the apprehension of a native named Ngawiki, of the Ngati-Tamatera (Thames) by the police for the theft of a shirt. An attempt was made by the chief of the Ngati-Paoa and some others to rescue the criminal, and a street row ensued, in the course of which a native constable struck the chief with his staff several blows on the head, and succeeded in holding the prisoner. The fracas resulted in a native expedition from Waiheke on April 17th against the town. This force, which consisted of 250 armed men, was led by a chief named Ngakapa. They landed at Mechanics Bay, where they danced hakas and used threatening language. With reinforcements, which they expected, they hoped to number from 600 to[Pg 91] 800 men. As the military and naval forces within the capital did not amount to 400 men, the situation looked serious, and Governor Sir George Grey at once took steps to ward off the danger. He sent a message by the Commissioner of Police (Captain Beckham) to the natives, “informing them that they must either return to their homes within the space of two hours, or give up their arms, and that in the event of their non-compliance with these terms measures would be taken to disarm them at the expiration of the time specified.” This ultimatum proved effective, and the party retired to Okahu (Orakei). There the war party met with some reinforcements, but the failure of the invading force, combined with the efforts of the Ngati-Whatua chiefs of Orakei, who advised the newcomers not to take part in the insurrection, resulted in the reinforcements deciding not to participate further in the affair. Instead, they ridiculed the men who had taken part in the expedition “for having been compelled at low water to drag their canoes over the extensive mud flats in the vicinity of this town.” The incident ended with an expression[Pg 92] of regret by the principal chiefs of the war party, and the voluntary surrender of their greenstone meres to the Governor. The preparations for the defence of the town were made by Lieutenant-Colonel Wynyard, in co-operation with Captain Oliver, commanding H.M.S. Fly. The pensioners in their several villages placed themselves under arms. Sir George Grey, in a special despatch, gives “especial credit to Major Kenny, of the first battalion of pensioners, who arrived in Auckland with a reinforcement of 200 pensioners in a shorter period of time than I believed it possible for them to have assembled and to have performed a march of about six and a half miles.”

The pensioners mentioned above were a body of time-expired regulars, who had been brought to New Zealand, the pioneers of the force having arrived in Auckland on August 5th, 1847, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Bolton, R.E., and Captain Kenny, named in the above despatch.

Auckland, 1862
Maori War Canoe Race (Annual Regatta) in progress
F. R. Stack, delt.

The native constables who took part in this incident did not long survive the event. It may, in fact, come as a surprise to many that there ever were[Pg 93] native policemen, and it may be interesting to describe the appearance of these officers of the law. Their attire was a semi-military, blue uniform, resplendent with buttons, white facings and side stripes. They carried substantial bludgeons, which, as shown, they knew how to use, and did not scruple to do so. Two of these defenders of the peace are depicted in one of Hogan’s views (f. p. 77).

The discovery of gold at Coromandel, in 1852, was an important event in the history of Auckland and in the development of the resources of the province. The gold finds in Victoria gave the impetus to New Zealand, and prospecting parties began to work. But it was not until a “Reward Committee” was formed at Auckland, with Mr. Frederick Whitaker as chairman, that any steps were taken to prove the rumours that gold was available in New Zealand. In October, 1852, a reward of £500 was “offered to the first person who should discover and make known to the ‘Reward Committee’ ‘a valuable gold find’ in the northern district of New Zealand. Within less than a week the reward was claimed by Mr. Charles[Pg 94] Ring, a New Zealand settler, recently returned from California, who asserted that he had discovered gold in the neighbourhood of Coromandel Harbour.”[25] Mr. Ring’s claim was thereupon investigated, and a sub-committee visited the locality (Driving Creek). On their return, the committee was able to announce that the sub-committee’s report “is satisfactory, in so far as the existence of gold is concerned, but that the question of its being sufficiently abundant to be profitably worked is yet in abeyance.”[26] As native rights were involved in connection with the land, negotiations had to be entered upon before the gold could be worked. The Government therefore stepped in, and were successful in their efforts with the natives, of whom the chief was Taniwha, an old man, who in his boyhood had met Captain Cook, and on November 30th an agreement was signed regulating the management of the goldfield. On 11th December the first sale of gold was held by Messrs. Connell and Ridings, Auckland, and realised £32 1s. In[Pg 95] a short time a ‘rush’ to Coromandel took place, and about 3000 miners were at work on the diggings. Between 1857 and 1860 a slump took place, but a revival was experienced in 1861. During the Maori war another slack period was felt, but after hostilities had ceased, work was resumed, and has continued ever since.

Although Coromandel never produced the gold expected from it, it opened up a new industry, which has grown to a considerable extent, and has been the means of attracting population to the province, and has indirectly affected the growth of Auckland, the chief city of the province.

1853 stands forth a memorable year in the history of New Zealand; for on the 17th January Governor Grey proclaimed the Constitution Act of 1852, passed by the Imperial Parliament, by which the Dominion obtained representative institutions. The Act provided for a General Assembly for the whole Colony, consisting of a Legislative Council and a House of Representatives. It also abolished the Provinces of New Ulster and New Munster, which had been set up under the Charter[Pg 96] of 1847, and replaced them by six new provinces, viz, Auckland, New Plymouth, Wellington, Nelson, Canterbury and Otago. The Councils were elective and were presided over by a superintendent; they had legislative powers within certain limits. The Provincial Councils lasted until 1876, when they were abolished by an Act of the General Assembly.

The first session of the Auckland Provincial Council, under the superintendence of Lieutenant-Colonel Wynyard, was held on June 30th, 1853, Mr. Thomas Houghton Bartley being appointed Speaker. The maiden session of the Legislative Council and the House of Representatives took place simultaneously, on May 24th, 1854, the Queen’s Birthday, in the newly-erected Parliament Building. As befitted the day and the occasion, the ships in the harbour were decorated. At mid-day a salute of twenty-one guns was fired at Fort Britomart, and was followed by a feu de joie delivered by the 58th Regiment in the square of Albert Barracks. The Speaker of the Upper House was Mr. William Swainson, and of the Representative chamber, Mr. (afterwards Sir) Charles Clifford.

[Pg 97]

New Zealand’s First Parliament Building, Erected 1854
The front portion (first gable) was the parliament building. It was afterwards extended and used by the Auckland University College.

It is outside the limits of this work to attempt anything like a parliamentary history, but it may be interesting to remark that the first Parliament Building erected in New Zealand was situated at the corner of Eden and Parliament Streets, and that it served Parliament as a meeting place from the beginning of its career until the removal of the capital to Wellington. The building continued to be used by the Provincial Council until the abolition of the provinces, in 1876. It was afterwards acquired by the Council of the Auckland University College, by which body it was enlarged, and it served its purpose in the educational work of the city until 1918, when the buildings were taken over by the City Council in connection with the proposed new city outlet from Customs Street. Upon examination, with a view to re-erecting this historic building on another site, it was found that the condition was so bad that demolition was the only course. The city trams now run over the site of New Zealand’s first Parliament Building.

Notwithstanding the prosperity which Auckland and the Colony were experiencing at the opening[Pg 98] of the ’sixties, there was serious trouble threatening with the Maoris. The origin of the dispute, which ended in warfare, was the land question, some natives refusing to sell land to the settlers. One result of this dissatisfaction between the Maori and the pakeha was the conference, which was held at Kohimarama in July and August, 1860. On the first day of the conference, 112 chiefs took their seats, and all the principal tribes were represented, with the exception of the Taranaki tribes, owing to the unsettled state of that province. Prior to this conference, it had been found necessary to make arrangements for the defence of Auckland “against any possible contingency.” In a despatch to the Duke of Newcastle, the Governor, Sir Thomas Gore-Browne, outlined the steps which he had taken with this object in view. “The town,” he states, “is divided into five districts, each of which is to furnish a company of militia. Those who have arms of their own will form an inlying picket, and the remainder will be required to ballot for such arms as the Government is able to supply. At the present we[Pg 99] can furnish sixty stand of arms to each company.... In addition to the militia, a volunteer force of nearly 400 men, a mounted volunteer troop of about 43 men, 110 [men] of the 65th Regiment and 40 marines will form the garrison of the town. Blockhouses, or houses rendered musket-proof, will be established round the town ... and H.M. frigate Iris is now anchored in the harbour. The outer defences are as follow:—H.M. steam frigate Niger, attended by a gunboat furnished by the local government, is anchored in the Manukau. Lieutenant-Colonel Kenny ... has been placed in command of the settlement of Onehunga, and has been directed to protect the Whau portage and river.... At the portage itself a blockhouse is in course of erection.... Lieutenant-Colonel Nixon ... has been placed in command of the pensioner settlement of Otahuhu, Panmure and Howick, and has been directed to protect the line of the Tamaki from the Waitemata to the Manukau. A blockhouse is in course of erection on the narrow neck of land leading to the village of Otahuhu. Five hundred stand of arms ... have[Pg 100] been supplied to this outpost and three hundred to the outpost on the west....”

The Taranaki campaign, which arose out of the dispute over the Waitara Block, lasted from March, 1860, to April, 1861. The trouble moved eastward, the Waikato campaign breaking out in July, 1863, and only ended with the magnificent defence by the Maoris of Orakau on April 2, 1864. Finally the war was concluded at Tauranga with the engagement at Te Renga, and on October 25th a proclamation of the Governor officially closed these wars.

At no time did the scene of hostilities reach the town of Auckland, but in July, 1863, Mr. Meredith and his son were murdered in barbarous fashion, and on October 26th of the same year two sons of Mr. Trust were killed near Howick, about fifteen miles from Auckland.

During the years 1863-64 the entire adult male population of Auckland was enlisted for compulsory service either in the militia, volunteers or fire brigade, and had to undergo military training. Some of the conscripts remained in the barracks[Pg 101] both day and night, while others did duty at the various blockhouses placed on points of vantage overlooking the district. The blockhouses were situated where the Auckland Hospital now stands, and at Domain Hill, Parnell, Newmarket, Karangahape Road, Great North Road, and Freeman’s Bay. The coast-line was also guarded. On July 22nd, 1863, the Auckland First Class Militia and Volunteers joined the field force, and did duty on the Wairoa River. In February, 1864, the Second Class of Militia, comprising business and tradespeople, were ordered on active service, and a contemporary newspaper feared that, if the enlistments continued, the shops of the town would have to close and put up notices: “Gone to the front.”

The electric telegraph was introduced into the Auckland Province during the war of 1863, when a line was erected under great difficulties between the important military stations at Drury and Queen’s Redoubt. Covering parties were engaged to protect the workers, who were also armed, in case of emergencies. The first telegraph office erected in Auckland was a wooden hut, located in the Albert[Pg 102] Barracks, just inside the barracks wall, Symonds Street. This was the terminal of a single wire which General Cameron had from his office to the Otahuhu Military Camp near Anne’s Bridge. The first operator was Mr. Alex. Brodie, of the Royal Engineers. About 1866, this office was removed to the Post Office, Princes Street. By October, 1864, there were 160 miles of telegraph lines in the province, but communication with Wellington and the South Island was not established until 1872. Four years later Australia and Great Britain were brought into telegraphic connection with New Zealand.

One of the happy results of the war in the Waikato was the discovery of coal on the banks of the Waikato River, in July, 1863, which was immediately used on the river-boats engaged in the war. After hostilities had ceased, the coal fields were exploited, and the beginning of the successful coal-mining industry at Huntly established. In March of the following year coal was discovered at Kawakawa, and from these sources were obtained supplies for the domestic use of Auckland residents[Pg 103] and for the commercial needs of the town and province.

Another direct result of the war was the inauguration of the railway system of the North Island, although such a step would have taken place in due course. The initial movement was made by the Provincial Council in 1863, when a report was adopted recommending the construction of a railway between Auckland and Drury, with a branch line to Onehunga. Tenders were accordingly invited in the following year, the offer of Messrs. Brogden and Sons, an English firm, being accepted. The work commenced on 17th February, 1865. Parnell Hill was pierced by a tunnel on July 31st, 1872, and the Auckland-Onehunga portion of the line was opened on December 24th, 1873. The Auckland station was then situated on the harbour at the eastern side of Point Britomart, near the end of Custom-House Street [now Customs Street]. The growth of the railway system of the province was slow, and by the end of 1877 only 93 miles had been completed. With the demolition of Point Britomart the railway station was removed to its[Pg 104] present location, being completed on October 26th, 1885. It would be interesting to trace step by step the extension of the railway system, as, obviously, it is part of the history of Auckland, but, in so brief a sketch as this, detail is impossible. It is worth mentioning, however, that the first Main Trunk train from Wellington to Auckland arrived on November 6th, 1908, and that the daily express between here and the capital was inaugurated on February 14th, 1909.

Travelling overland prior to the introduction of railways, and for many years after, was conducted by coaches. In the earliest days this means of locomotion was restricted, but increased with the opening up of the province and the development of the roads. Thus, in 1867, there was established a daily service of coaches to Hamilton. The coaches were of the type known as “Cobb & Co.”, an exceedingly picturesque vehicle, with dickys for the driver and for passengers at the rear. The most extensive and famous line of coaches were those owned by Messrs. Quick Bros.

The city and suburban conveyances were at first[Pg 105] busses, and, later, horse-drawn Albert cars. As early as 1864 there was a half-hourly service of busses to Onehunga.

Early in the ’sixties a regular service of communication was inaugurated with the North Shore, which has been maintained and developed until the present time. The first name associated with this service is Mr. A. Alison, the present manager of the Devonport Steam Ferry Company, who, in 1861, inaugurated a ferry in open boats, making two trips a day, which obtained until superseded by a three-trip service introduced by Messrs. Holmes Bros., who owned the hotel at Devonport, and subsequently formed a company to run the steamer Waitemata in 1864. The following year the Enterprise was launched. This boat, small in size as compared with a modern ferry, was capable of carrying 200 passengers, and had accommodation in her two saloons for fifty persons. She did the trip from Auckland to the Shore in twenty minutes, and kept up a regular service between 7.30 a.m. and 8 p.m. The earlier boat, Waitemata, was enlarged by having her bow and stern cut off and[Pg 106] replaced, and was then put into commission as Enterprise No. 2. Soon afterwards she was sold to a Thames company for work in connection with the gold discovery. Holmes Bros., in turn, met with opposition from a company styled the Auckland and North Shore Ferry Company, which built and ran the Takapuna and other boats, ousting them and acquiring their plant. There were also other rivals, who did not, however, last long. In 1881, Messrs. Quick and Alison formed an opposition company, and commenced building the Victoria. They also invited tenders for a second vessel, but before the tenders were received the Auckland and North Shore Company sold out. Messrs. Alison and Quick did not remain long in partnership, and in the same year the Devonport Steam Ferry Company was formed, and has carried on the ferry services ever since, which now include practically all parts of the harbour.

The effects of the war were felt in Auckland in various ways. At first there was confusion and consternation among the inhabitants, which feelings were allayed by the arrival of troops and the[Pg 107] passing of the danger of invasion. Notwithstanding the business and commerce of the city continued to increase. At the conclusion of the war a reaction set in, and distress through unemployment became acute, especially among newly-arrived immigrants. The population of the city at the census taken in December, 1861, was 7989 persons, and three years later had grown to 12,423, a very large increase in so short a time. The rush to the Otago goldfields, however, began to draw numbers of the population south, and the removal of the seat of Government, in 1865, was responsible for the loss of the Government officers and civil servants. During the two following years, 1866 and 1867, most of the Imperial regiments which had taken part in the Maori wars returned to England, taking with them their wives and families, further reducing the population. The last of the troops to leave Auckland was the 18th (Royal Irish) Regiment, which departed at the beginning of 1870. The survivors of this regiment hold a reunion annually in Auckland on July 4th, the anniversary of their arrival in New Zealand.[Pg 108] By 1867 the inhabitants had decreased to 11,153. Auckland was passing through a bad period, while its rival on the Cook Straits, and Dunedin and Christchurch were progressing rapidly.

The record of the banks which opened business in this period shows clearly the progress which the city was making. In 1861 two new banks began operations. The Bank of New South Wales was opened in Shortland Street on 11th June, and continued to carry on the business of the branch of the Oriental Bank Corporation, which had been established in the city some years previously. On February 21st, 1884, the building in Queen Street was opened, where the business is still carried on. The architects were Messrs. Armson, Collins and Lloyd, of Christchurch, and the contractor Mr. Philcox, of Auckland. The building cost £11,500. The Bank of New Zealand, an entirely local concern, commenced business on 16th October. A contemporary newspaper emphasised this aspect, and stated that the business was being conducted “with colonial capital, with colonial shareholders ... and with colonial customers in every city and province of[Pg 109] New Zealand vitally interested in its success.” The initial capital was £500,000. Mr. A. Kennedy, formerly manager of the New Zealand Banking Company and of the Union Bank of Australia, was its first manager. The original premises were in Queen Street, near Durham Street East, formerly occupied by T. S. Forsaith. The building now used was opened towards the end of 1867, and ranks as one of the finest examples of architecture in the city. The architect was Mr. Leonard Terry, of Melbourne, and the builder was Mr. R. Dickson. Mr. Richard Keals was supervising architect. The first twenty-five years of the bank’s history were years of prosperity. A strained situation was revealed in 1887, and for the next seven years the bank underwent a series of reverses, ending in the loss of the whole of the capital and reserves and one-third of the reserve liability. In 1894 the Government came to the rescue of the bank, and since then its progress has been well maintained, and it now occupies an assured position. The head office is now in Wellington; there is, of course, a London office, and, in addition to branches everywhere in New Zea[Pg 110]land, there are offices in Australia, Fiji and Samoa. Three years later, 1864, two other banks made their advent. One of them, the Bank of Auckland, was another local undertaking, which did not meet with the success that the Bank of New Zealand was to experience. It was opened for business in the premises formerly occupied by the Union Bank in Shortland Street, but collapsed at the end of March, 1867. The other was an Australian company, the Bank of Australasia, which opened its head branch in New Zealand here, occupying premises in Shortland Street adjoining the Post Office. Later it removed to Queen Street, where it still carries on business.

Another indication of the growing business prosperity of Auckland was shown in the establishment of the New Zealand Fire and Marine Insurance Company, which came into existence on May 26th, 1859, as the result of the enterprise of some of Auckland’s leading business men. The original capital was £100,000, which was guaranteed by the first shareholders, in sums of from £2000 to £5000. To detail the history of this concern, which has grown to world-wide dimensions, would neces[Pg 111]sitate more space than could be afforded; but it is worth relating that its first office was located at the corner of Shortland and Queen Streets in premises known as Fraser’s Buildings. From 1871 till 1915 the business of the company was carried on in a two-storeyed building, over which was erected a clock tower, which became quite a feature of Queen Street. In the latter year this building was demolished, and upon its site was erected the present handsome edifice of seven storeys. Mr. W. H. Gummer, A.R.I.B.A., was the architect, and Messrs. Grevatt and Sons the contractors. The building cost £110,000.

The shipbuilding industry of Auckland appears to have commenced somewhere in the late ’forties, but the records of this interesting subject are either negligible or non-existent. Amongst the earliest boatbuilders mention must be made of Messrs. Henry Niccol, Holmes Bros., Alex. Duthie, Wm. J. Brown, Captain McCoy, and Mr. Stone, whose yards seem to have been kept busy. To the latter belongs the credit of building the first steamboat in New Zealand, which was launched at Freeman’s[Pg 112] Bay on December 24th, 1851. She was named (contrary to her sex) Governor Wynyard. Her dimensions were as follows: Length over all, 60 feet; beam, 13 feet 6 inches; depth of hold, 6 feet; burthen, 43 tons; draught of water with engines and fuel, 2 feet 6 inches. She was propelled by two steeple engines of 4 horse-power each. The designers were Messrs. Stone and Gardiner, the engine being constructed by Mr. Bourne. The steamer made her first trip to Panmure on January 19th, 1852, in very trying weather, and acquitted herself satisfactorily to all concerned. She developed a speed of eight knots. From a commercial point of view the boat was not a success, and was sold later in that year to a Melbourne firm. On the Yarra she proved a great “moneymaker,” as she earned as much as £80 in a day.

Auckland, 1876
Showing Fort Britomart in course of demolition
W. C. Wilson, delt.

At what date Mr. Niccol commenced his business the writer has not been able to find out, but he was engaged on shipbuilding in the ’fifties, during which period he built a vessel named the Moa. He also constructed a number of vessels for Australian owners and for the proprietors of the[Pg 113] Circular Saw Line. One of the boats belonging to the latter, of which we have knowledge, was the barque Novelty, which was launched from Mr. Niccol’s yard, Mechanics Bay, on 11th October, 1862. She was the largest vessel built in Auckland up to that time—a record which still holds in local shipbuilding, as far as the writer’s knowledge obtains. Her dimensions were: Length over all, 147 feet; beam, 27 feet 6 inches; depth of hold, 14 feet 9 inches; registered tonnage, 376 tons. The christening of the vessel was performed by Miss Macfarlane, daughter of one of the owners, in traditional fashion, and the event, as befitted its importance, was celebrated by a banquet. The Novelty was a well-designed and faithfully-built vessel, and did good service for her owners. She did the voyage from Auckland to Sydney in five days.

No sketch of Auckland’s shipping history would be complete without some reference, however brief, to the Circular Saw Line, which was established by Messrs. Henderson and Macfarlane, two of Auckland’s pioneers. Mr. Henderson arrived in New[Pg 114] Zealand in 1842, and some years later he was joined by Mr. Macfarlane. About 1846 they established a timber business at Henderson, and later erected a mill there. Among the places to which they exported kauri was Mauritius, the vessels which took the timber returning with cargoes of sugar. It may have been this enterprise which encouraged them to establish the fleet some time in the ’fifties. Commencing with the brig Spenser, Mr. Henderson made the first trip to Melbourne. While there he purchased the schooner Will o’ the Wisp, and established the inter-colonial trade. The brigs (of which class of vessel he owned six) and barques (of which no fewer than fifteen flew the flag of this line) were employed in the inter-colonial and ’Frisco services. The schooners, numbering fourteen, did the Island trade. Before the dissolution of the line in 1875, four steamers were added to the fleet, which were bought from the Panama Company. These vessels were placed in the New Zealand coastal service, plying from Onehunga.

In the ’fifties and ’sixties there were a num[Pg 115]ber of cutters and schooners, owned and manned by Maoris, which traded between Auckland and various ports on the East Coast, sailing as far south as the Bay of Plenty. White traders also participated in the coastal trade, amongst whom was Mr. H. J. Wadham, stevedore, of Auckland, who owned a number of fine vessels, drawings of which have recently been presented to the Old Colonists’ Museum.

During the first two or three decades of the port’s history, most of the shipping was by sail, and as the movements of these sailers were erratic, a continuous record is a rather difficult matter. With the advent of steam in the ’fifties, and its development in the following years, a more satisfactory account is possible.

Besides the Circular Saw Line we have records of other ships.[27] The Wonga Wonga, a steamer of 67 tons, was owned by a number of Auckland merchants, who placed the vessel on the Whangarei service in 1857. After a few months running she was sold to the Wellington Steamship Company[Pg 116] and placed in the Wellington-Nelson service; later, during the Taranaki war, she was chartered at £60 a day to carry despatches between Onehunga and Taranaki. Her career ended on 22nd May, 1866, when she was wrecked off Greymouth. Early in the ’sixties the Rangatira arrived in Auckland, having been built at Home for local owners. Shortly afterwards the steamers Corio and Ahuriri entered the Auckland-Napier trade. In 1864 services were opened to Coromandel, North Auckland, and the Waikato (via Onehunga). Altogether, there were in 1868 fourteen steamers trading from Auckland. The opening of the Thames goldfield in 1867 gave an impetus to the trade of the port, and Mr. S. Hague Smith placed a number of steamers on this run, including the Duke of Edinburgh (Captain W. Farquhar) and Royal Albert (Captain Alex. Farquhar), the latter vessel having been built at Niccol’s yard, North Shore, her engines being taken from the Prince Alfred, and her boiler manufactured at Sydney, from plans prepared by Mr. James Stewart, of Auckland, civil engineer. Other boats engaged on this service were[Pg 117] the Favourite, the Williams (218 tons), and the Golden Crown. In 1873 Mr. Smith sold his fleet to the Auckland Steam Packet Company.

The first regular inter-colonial service between New South Wales and New Zealand was inaugurated by the William Denny (595 tons), in 1854. She was wrecked at North Cape, March 3rd, 1857. In 1859 the Inter-Colonial Royal Mail Steamship Company took up the Australian run, the Prince Alfred (1100 tons) being one of the fleet engaged. This company maintained the service until 1866, when the Panama, New Zealand and Australian Line superseded it, absorbing its fleet. The object of the new company, which held a monopoly of the mails, was to connect Australia and New Zealand with the continent of Europe, via Panama. A rearrangement of the inter-colonial service was made, so as to connect with the trans-Pacific steamers. This arrangement lasted till 1869. The year following a temporary service between Sydney and San Francisco was inaugurated, Auckland being the port of call, the following ships being engaged in it, viz, Rangatira and Balclutha, which were[Pg 118] soon replaced by the City of Melbourne and Wonga Wonga.

The year 1854 also saw the establishment of a regular inter-provincial steamer service. The Nelson (330 tons, Captain Martin) was the pioneer vessel, Dunedin and Onehunga being the terminal ports, and New Plymouth, Nelson, Wellington and Lyttelton ports of call. In 1855 the Zingari (150 tons, Captain Milltown) replaced the Nelson. Other steamers engaged during this period on the coastal routes were the Claud Hamilton and the White Swan, which was wrecked on June 29th, 1862, a number of public records belonging to the Government being lost.

The Inter-Colonial R.M.S. Company met with opposition in the coastal service from the New Zealand Steam Navigation Company, which had been formed upon the liquidation of the Wellington Steamship Company, in 1863, the following steamers being used in the running of the service, viz, Stormbird, Wellington and Queen.

Another line which traded between Dunedin and Auckland was the Adelaide, Melbourne and Otago[Pg 119] S.N. Company, which placed the Alhambra (642 tons) and Aldinga (446 tons) on this run.

The wreck of H.M.S. Orpheus on the Manukau Bar on February 7th, 1863, was the most appalling disaster associated with Auckland’s shipping annals. The Orpheus (Commodore W. F. Burnett) was a corvette of 1706 tons, which had been detailed for service on the New Zealand station. She sailed from Sydney on January 31st, and reached the Manukau Heads on 7th February. In attempting to cross the bar the vessel “struck hard, and orders were given to back astern full speed. The engines never moved; the ship fell off broadside to the rollers, the sea knocking away her stern post, port bulwarks and boats, and making a clean sweep over all.” A cutter containing the ship’s records, and a pinnace got safely away. After the pinnace had left the ship, “the launch was got over the side with forty men to lay out anchors, in the hope of making grapplings to haul into smooth water. The ebb-tide, unhappily, swept her under the bows, where she was stove, and nearly all on board drowned.” The pinnace, however, was able to get[Pg 120] into touch with the steamer Wonga Wonga, and later with H.M.S. Harrier, and the few survivors from the wreck were picked up by the former vessel. About 6.30 p.m. the masts went, and the ship parted in halves. A contemporary account of the disaster states that the officers and men underwent the terrible ordeal in heroic fashion, and “when the masts went the crew gave three cheers, as if taking farewell of life.” Out of a ship’s company of 256 officers, seamen, boys and marines, only 71 survived. The remains of some of the crew, including the commodore, which were washed ashore, were interred in Symonds Street cemetery. The disaster created consternation in the city, and a day of mourning was observed in memory of those who lost their lives.

Auckland buildings of the ’fifties and ’sixties were, with few exceptions, constructed of wood, and fires were of constant occurrence. In those days, fire-fighting appliances were of a most elementary character, consisting of buckets, and, later, of reels and what would now be considered very primitive fire engines. There was a volunteer[Pg 121] fire brigade, and water could only be procured from wells or from the sea. Under such circumstances, it is not surprising that fires were common events; indeed, had the town been completely wiped out by fire it would not have been too great a surprise, considering the conditions. What is remarkable is that no fatalities attended the outbreaks.

The most serious fire which had occurred up to this time was that which broke out at two o’clock on the morning of the 7th of July, 1858. It originated at the Osprey Inn, High Street, and, fanned by a strong north-easterly gale, the fire soon covered an area bounded by Chancery, High, Shortland and O’Connell Streets. But for a providential change in the direction of the wind and the coming of rain, which soaked the adjacent buildings, the fire might have caused even greater damage. As it was the conflagration was only arrested in Shortland Street by the voluntary blowing up of Mr. Keesing’s house, thus making a gap in the direction the fire was taking. Before dawn the flames had consumed fifty houses, mostly belonging to trades[Pg 122]people, rendering their plight deplorable. So rapid was the progress of the fire that the inhabitants had merely time to save themselves, in many cases clothed only in night attire. Although the damage was so considerable, the Volunteer Fire Brigade and the officers and men of the 58th Regiment earned credit for their expeditious and willing help. The fire-fighters carried out their work wrapped in blankets, over which water was constantly poured to save them from the heat of the flames.

The second large fire experienced in Auckland took place in the early hours of January 17th, 1863. Commencing in the premises occupied by Messrs. Morrin & Co., at the corner of Queen Street and Durham Street East, it spread rapidly, and soon stretched to Victoria Street and High Street. In its course it destroyed the Thistle Hotel, the Greyhound, Y.M.C.A., the old theatre, and other buildings. It even threatened the buildings on the opposite sides of Queen and High Streets. The Volunteer Fire Brigade was assisted by military from the barracks, and the sailors from the French[Pg 123] warship Bonite earned well-deserved credit for their services and daring deeds. Fortunately, a light wind was blowing, or the losses, which were serious enough—amounting, it was estimated, to £60,000—would have been greater. Many of the sufferers by the fire were succoured and accommodated in the barracks for a time.

Two years later (January 18th, 1865) another big fire broke out in Queen Street, in premises occupied by Mr. J. S. Macfarlane, known as Henderson and Macfarlane’s Buildings. Luckily, the outbreak was confined to the two upper storeys, which were, however, completely gutted. The fire was both brilliant and spectacular, and attracted enormous crowds, which had to be kept back from the building by soldiers with fixed bayonets.

Queen Street was again the scene of a fire which fills the annals of 1866. This conflagration commenced about 10 p.m. on August 28th in Lower Queen Street, on the western side, almost on the waterfront, and in less than fifteen minutes from the alarm being given twelve buildings were in flames. The fire was noticed first in the premises[Pg 124] occupied by Messrs. Malcolm, sail makers, but so swift was its progress that in the short period mentioned it had obtained a hold of so many buildings. The flames ignited the buildings on the eastern side of Queen Street, but this incipient outbreak was rapidly suppressed. The damage was estimated at £20,000. The newspapers of the time give praise to the Volunteer Fire Brigade, whose engines and equipment had become improved.

On 31st March of the same year a gale, accompanied by heavy rains, which caused floods, did a very great amount of damage, estimated also at £20,000. It was the severest gale which the town of Auckland had experienced. Nine vessels and a coal hulk were sunk in the harbour, and many others were severely damaged, or caused injury to the wharves. The heavy seas which broke on the waterfront destroyed property, particularly at Mr. Stone’s shipbuilding yard at the Strand. The town suffered from the rain, which, gaining entrance to stores and cellars, damaged merchandise and stores.

On April 15th, 1865, lighting by gas was intro[Pg 125]duced into Auckland. It was an event of great importance to the citizens of the time. The New Zealand Herald describes how the innovation was received:—“A large proportion of the city population had assembled in the streets to welcome the advent of the ‘New Light,’ and the début of the much-longed-for novelty may be considered to have been quite as brilliant as that of any star that has appeared among us for a long time. In fact, Queen Street was thronged until an advanced hour of the evening with moving crowds of gazers, who seemed never to weary of staring at the unwonted spectacle presented to them, while there were occasional ‘rushes’ into some of the other streets, as the report spread of some particularly effective illumination or of some establishment whose meter had come to grief, and left it in sudden and ignoble obscurity.”

Previous to the introduction of gas for lighting, oil and candles had been used. In the Old Colonists’ Museum there may be seen an apparatus for making candles. Every household had one of these.

The first Royal visit to Auckland took place[Pg 126] in 1869, when Prince Alfred, the second son of Queen Victoria, better known as the Duke of Edinburgh, arrived in the Waitemata, on May 8th, on board H.M.S. Galatea. He was even more popularly known as the Sailor Prince. The Galatea was the largest ship which had visited the harbour, her tonnage being 3227 tons. She employed both sail and steam. The visit naturally created excitement amongst the population of the city and district. As became the occasion, the city was beflagged and decorated with bunting, greenery, triumphal arches, and with illuminations known as transparencies. The harbour, too, presented a picturesque appearance. The fleet in port numbered 92 vessels, totalling 9252 tons, exclusive of H.M.Ss. Challenger, Galatea and Virago, and small sailing craft. All were gaily decorated.

On Monday, the 10th, the official landing took place. Military detachments, both regulars and volunteers, were present from various parts of the province and from the city. Conspicuous among the people congregated on the wharf were a large number of Maoris from the West Coast, who had[Pg 127] assisted the Imperial troops in the recent wars. The 18th (Royal Irish) Regiment, with its band, formed the guard of honour.

Owing to a disturbing wind, a marine demonstration which had been projected was abandoned. The weather, however, did not deter the Maoris, in native costume, from embarking in their canoes and welcoming the Duke in traditional fashion.

A Royal salute of twenty-one guns announced the departure of His Royal Highness from the Galatea, and in a short time he reached the wharf, where he was welcomed to Auckland by the Governor, Sir George Ferguson Bowen, who was attended by the naval and military officers, members of Parliament, officials, the clergy, citizens, and natives. An address of welcome was read by Mr. John Williamson, Superintendent, on behalf of the Province of Auckland, which was followed by an address of welcome by the Chief Paul on behalf of the natives. As the Duke walked along the wharf, a contingent of between 500 and 600 Maoris danced a haka in honour of the Royal visitor.

At Custom-House Street the City Commissioners[Pg 128] presented, through their chairman, an address of welcome on behalf of the citizens. The formalities having been thus observed, a procession was formed, and the distinguished visitor drove through streets gaily decorated, to receive a popular welcome. At Government House, where the cavalcade came to its destination, members of friendly societies and other organisations were drawn up to welcome the Prince. Here, also, some 1500 school children sang the National Anthem. Later in the day a levée was held.

Only one incident occurred to mar the rejoicings. During the firing of the salute on the Galatea a sailor was blown overboard. Sub-lieutenant O’Connor jumped into the water and rescued the unfortunate man, who was found to have had his right arm so injured as to necessitate amputation. His left hand was entirely blown away, except one finger.

The Duke remained in Auckland until June 1st, delaying his departure in the hope of being able to assist in settling the native trouble. However, he had to leave without any result accruing from[Pg 129] his well-intentioned purpose. He was fêted in the usual way, but the most important public function with which his name is connected was the opening of the Auckland Grammar School.[28]

Auckland in 1884
View taken from Hobson and Wellesley Streets

The Auckland Grammar School, which was a most unpretentious affair, was opened by the Duke of Edinburgh on May 17th, 1869. The building, which was situated in Howe Street, off Karangahape Road, had been used as an Emigrants’ Home. The staff consisted of the Head Master, the Rev. Robert Kidd, B.A., LL.D., and five other masters. On May 1st, 1871 the school was transferred to the Albert Barracks, into the building subsequently used as Police Barracks. At this transfer Mr. Farquhar Macrae became Head Master, with Dr. Kidd as Classical Master, the total staff being increased to nine. Here the school remained till June, 1878. On July 8th of this year the school was removed to the District Court, Eden Street, now demolished, but the building proved inadequate, and extra accommodation had to be found in an old Maori Chapel in Parliament Street, and[Pg 130] in St. Andrew’s School, Symonds Street. During Sir George Grey’s premiership a grant of £5000 was made for erecting a new building, which was supplemented by £3000 from Grammar School funds. With these combined sums the Symonds Street building was erected in 1879, and was opened by Sir George Grey on 5th February, 1880. In 1882 Mr. C. F. Bourne succeeded Mr. Macrae as Head Master, which position he held until 1892. The following year the present Head Master of the school, Mr. James William Tibbs, M.A., was appointed. In 1888 the Girls’ College, founded by Mr. Neil Heath, and carried on by him for some years in the old Wesley College, Queen Street, was united to the Grammar School, and the girls were transferred to the Symonds Street building. Here the girls remained under Mr. Tibbs until 1906, when the Board of Governors decided to place them under a Head Mistress, and to erect a building for their sole use. Miss Whitelaw was appointed to the position, and on April 8th, 1909, the new school in Howe Street, known as the Girls’ Grammar School, was opened[Pg 131] by the Hon. George Fowlds, Minister of Education. Miss Whitelaw retired from the Head Mistressship in 1910, and was succeeded by Miss Butler in the following year. Miss Butler held the position until 1920. Miss Picken is the present Head Mistress. The increase in the number of students attending the school was so large that another school was opened at Epsom in 1917. Miss Morrison is in charge of this school.

The Boys’ Grammar School also continued to increase, and about 1910 steps were taken to obtain a larger site and a modern building. In 1915 the Government granted a site occupying 15 acres in Mountain Road, on which the present building was erected. It was officially opened on 26th April, 1916, by the Governor, the Earl of Liverpool. In addition to class rooms, etc., designed to accommodate about 800 boys, it has ample playing grounds. Messrs. Arnold and Abbott were the architects, and Mr. W. E. Hutchison the contractor for the building, which cost £31,450 to erect. Although only five years have elapsed since the opening of the new school, the accommodation is[Pg 132] inadequate for the number of boys desiring secondary education, and a new school is under construction at Mount Albert to meet the demand.

Another institution of an educational character began its career in this period. This was the Auckland Museum, which was opened on October 24th, 1852, in a small four-roomed cottage in Grafton Road. Dr. Andrew Sinclair was the moving spirit in the young museum, and upon his death its activity languished. In 1859 Dr. Hochstetter renovated the collection, but it again fell into neglect. Captain F. W. Hutton resuscitated the museum, and under his supervision it was removed, in 1867, to the Provincial Government Offices (where the Northern Club now stands). The following year it was amalgamated with the Auckland Institute, which had been established in 1867. Through the influence of Mr. Justice Gillies a site at the corner of Princes Street and Eden Crescent, with the buildings which had been used as a Post Office, was secured, and to these inadequate premises the collection was removed. In 1876 the present building was opened. The increase of the collection has[Pg 133] rendered this building unequal to the development of the museum, and a new building, which will combine the purpose of a War Memorial and Museum, is to be erected in the Domain.

Church development was a feature of this period. St. Matthew’s Church was constituted a parish in 1853, the school which stood on the site of the present church being used for the purpose. Later a wooden building was erected, which was superseded in 1905, when the new church was opened on March 7th of that year. This building, which occupies one of the most commanding positions in the city, was designed by Mr. F. L. Pearson, F.R.I.B.A., and cost £27,000 to erect. The foundation stone was laid on the 23rd of April, 1902, with full Masonic honours. Messrs. Malcolm and Ferguson were the contractors, and Mr. E. Bartley supervising architect. The stone used in the construction came from the Oamaru and Mount Somers quarries. The principal dimensions are: length, 151 feet; width (transept), 100 feet; height from floor to ceiling, 70 feet; height of tower, 147 feet.

St. Mary’s pro-Cathedral, Parnell, was dedi[Pg 134]cated by Bishop Selwyn on October 14th, 1860, Archdeacon G. S. Kissling being the first incumbent. The foundation stone of the present building was laid by the Primate (Bishop Harper) on February 6th, 1886. The building was not completed until 1898, when it was dedicated by Bishop Cowie, Archdeacon Macmurray being the vicar. The church was designed by Mr. B. W. Mountfoot, and was built by Mr. R. R. Ross.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was established in 1865 in a temporary building on land adjoining the Auckland cemetery. In 1881 the present building in Khyber Pass Road was opened, on 29th June, by Bishop Cowie. It cost over £5000. Messrs. Mahoney and Sons were the architects, and Mr. James the contractor.

All Saints, Ponsonby, was opened on December 21st, 1866, by Bishop Selwyn, who was responsible for the services for some time afterwards. The building has been enlarged since the original structure was erected.

After the erection of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, no additions to the Roman Catholic churches were[Pg 135] made until 1866, when Bishop Pompallier built the Church of S. Francis de Sales in the cemetery, near the corner of Symonds and East Streets. This old church was replaced by St. Benedinct’s Church, which was opened on July 23, 1882, Dr. Redwood, Bishop of Wellington, officiating at the consecration. The building, which was constructed of kauri, was built by Mr. T. Colebrook, from the plans of Messrs. Mahoney and Sons, and cost over £6000. It was destroyed by fire on 18th December, 1886. In a little over a year the present brick church was completed, and was opened by Bishop Luck, in the presence of Dr. Redwood, on 22nd April, 1888. Messrs. Mahoney and Sons were again the architects, and Mr. J. J. Holland the builder. The interior decorations in both buildings were the work of Father Luck. The cost of the land upon which the church is built was £1150, and the building, excluding furniture, £5950.

For ten years after the opening of St. Andrew’s, the Presbyterians did not add to their number of churches. The first outgrowth of St. Andrew’s was St. James’s, Wellington Street, which was erected[Pg 136] to a charge in 1860, the services being carried on in the school house. The present building was opened on March 26th, 1865. It was designed by Mr. T. B. Cameron, and was built by Mr. Andrew Clow, the contract price being £2500.

St. David’s Church has had an interesting history. In 1864 the session of St. Andrew’s erected a preaching station at the junction of Khyber Pass Road and Symonds Street, and named it St. David’s Church. Rev. James Wallis was the first minister, and under his care the church flourished until 1867, when a division arose in the congregation, leading to its abandonment. After a lapse of ten years it was re-established and re-opened on 10th March, 1878. Shortly afterwards St. David’s was elevated to a session. In 1880 the present church was erected in Symonds Street, in the allotment at the front of the old building, by Mr. James Heron, from the plans of Mr. E. Bartley. It was removed to its present location in 1902.

The first Baptist Church in Auckland was formed in 1855. A chapel and schoolroom were erected in Wellesley Street at the corner of Chapel Street.[Pg 137] About 1880 Mr. Thomas Spurgeon, a son of the famous evangelical preacher, became pastor. The congregation had now grown to such dimensions that the Choral Hall was requisitioned for the Sunday evening service, and proved too small. It was thereupon decided to build the Tabernacle. This building was opened on May 12th, 1885. The building, which is Corinthian in style, was designed by Mr. Edmund Bell, the contractor being Mr. J. J. Holland. It cost £14,000, including furnishings.

The Wesleyan denomination erected two churches during this period, one in Pitt Street, the other in Grafton Road. The former was opened for worship on the 4th of October, 1866. Wesley Hall, adjoining the church, was erected in 1877, and is used as a schoolroom. Including the parsonage, the buildings belonging to this church cost £20,000 to erect. The Grafton Road Church was erected in 1866, and was replaced by a new building, which was dedicated to public worship in July, 1885. The Helping Hand Mission was instituted in the early ’eighties, and in 1885 the hall in Drake Street was opened.

[Pg 138]

The Congregational Church was founded in 1851, and the first church was situated in High Street, and existed till 1876. The premier church, however, is Beresford Street Church, which was established in March of the following year, the services being held in Shamrock Cottage, Albert Street. A church was erected close to this cottage in 1854, and was called the Albert Street Congregational Church. The present church was erected in 1876, and is reputed to be the first concrete building erected in Auckland. The Newton Church, Edinburgh Street, was founded in 1864.

The first Primitive Methodist Church was built in Alexandra Street in 1851, on a site given by Governor Sir George Grey. Prior to union with the Wesleyan denomination there were two circuits in connection with this Church, of which the Alexandra Street Church was the chief centre; the other centre was the Franklin Road Church. Upon the union taking place the Church became The Methodist Church of New Zealand.

The Jewish community opened its first church in Emily Place in 1858. Rabbi Elkin was the[Pg 139] first minister. He was succeeded in 1881 by the present minister, Rabbi Goldstein. The Synagogue in Princes Street was opened in 1885.

The Auckland Y.M.C.A. was founded by Mr. R. B. Shalders, and its first building—a mere four walls—was erected in the founder’s garden, Chapel Street, in 1855. Next year the association procured larger premises in Durham Street, which were destroyed by the fire of January 17th, 1863. The third building was erected in 1868 at the corner of Albert and Wellesley Streets, and occupied two floors. On the same site the fourth building (a four-storeyed one) was erected in 1886. Mr. P. F. M. Burrows was the architect. The present building was opened by the Governor, the Earl of Liverpool, on April 30th, 1913. Mr. Alex. Wiseman was the architect, and Messrs Grevatt and Sons the contractors. The sister institution—the Y.W.C.A.—was not founded until 1878. From that date until 1903 the association used rented premises. In 1903 a building, originally designed for a warehouse, was acquired in Wellesley Street East, where it carried on its activities until the[Pg 140] present premises in Upper Queen Street, designed by Mr. W. H. Gummer, A.R.I.B.A., were opened in 1918.

[Pg 141]

Chapter III
Progress and a Slump: 1871-1900

The three decades from the ’seventies to the ’nineties are characterised by distinct features. At the opening period the city, which was just recovering from the effects of the Maori War, was making steady progress. This advance culminated in a boom in the ’eighties, which brought forth the usual sequel in the following decade—a financial crisis, from which it recovered before the opening of the new century. The official census reflects these features. The population of the city in 1871 was 12,937, an increase of 4948 over the figures of 1861. In 1881 the number had risen to 16,664, an increase in ten years of 3727. Five years later the residents of Auckland City totalled 33,161, an accession to the population of a hundred per cent. In 1891 the number had diminished to 28,613, but was again on the up-grade in 1896, the population at that date being 31,424, and before[Pg 142] the end of the ’nineties it had approximated to the number of people which the city contained in 1886, fourteen years previously.

The phenomenal increase in the population of New Zealand in the mid-’seventies was due largely to the control of immigration passing from the provincial councils to the general government, and the vigorous policy inaugurated by it. In 1874 and 1875 no fewer than 50,000 immigrants arrived in the Dominion. Judging by the census returns, the city did not gain largely by this influx of immigrants, although the provincial figures show that the country profited by it. The South Island was the greater gainer during these years, due mainly to the prosperity following upon the discovery of gold and to the better social and economic conditions which existed there. The South Island had no Maori War to unsettle it.

The first half of the ’eighties, however, found the Auckland Province booming, and in this prosperity the city shared. The progress, however, was too rapid to be healthy; it was not built upon steady work, but was in the nature of speculation, particu[Pg 143]larly in land, which could not be characterised as wise. The inevitable happened; financial undertakings, great and small, became involved, and many succumbed. Amongst such institutions, the Bank of New Zealand, with its New Zealand shareholders, was numbered. Its failure would have brought ruin or serious hardship to many people, and the manner in which the Government of the day came to the rescue has already been indicated (p. 109). During the depression many residents sold out and emigrated to Australia, or elsewhere, some permanently, others temporarily. Houses and shops everywhere became vacant, and rents became absurdly low. In some cases people shut up their houses, boarded over doors and windows, and went away. The young city was experiencing the most serious reverse in its history, but the speed with which it recovered itself demonstrated its vitality.

With the advent of the ’seventies, Auckland may be said to have arrived at the modern period; the previous thirty years being now looked upon as the colonising era. In 1871 the city was constituted[Pg 144] by Proclamation under “The Municipal Corporations Act, 1867,” and in the same year the Auckland Harbour Board, to which the administration of the port was delegated by an Act of Parliament of the previous year, held its first meeting.

The boundaries of the city had been defined in “The City Board Act, 1863,” and were confirmed in the Proclamation of 1871. They were as follows:—Stanley Street, Symonds Street, Karangahape Road, Ponsonby Road, and Franklin Road. From this small area—some 623 acres—it has grown by the amalgamation of adjacent districts. The first addition was made in 1882, when the highway districts of Ponsonby (755 acres), Karangahape (139 acres) and Grafton (88 acres) were annexed to the city. Until 1913 the boundaries remained stationary, but from that date the following districts have joined the city:—Arch Hill, 1st January, 1913 (154 acres); Parnell, 15th February, 1913 (490 acres); Grey Lynn, 1st July, 1914 (900 acres); Remuera, 1st March, 1915 (2520 acres); Eden Terrace, 1st October, 1915 (95 acres); Epsom, 1st February, 1917, (860[Pg 145] acres), and Point Chevalier, 1st April, 1921 (1220 acres). The city now extends over 7844 acres.

Calliope Dock, opened 16th February, 1888
H.M.Ss. Calliope and Diamond in the dock

The urgency and necessity of a satisfactory system of local government may be estimated by the unhappy condition of the city with regard to its water supply. The only water obtainable prior to 1869 (apart from rain-water stored in barrels, etc., by householders) was drawn from the various wells, fed by springs. In January, 1872, owing to a drought, water was sold in the streets by hawkers. This state of affairs resulted in the Corporation arranging to pump 30,000 gallons of water daily from Seccombe’s Well, Khyber Pass Road. The water was stored in a small reservoir, situated on the top of the Domain Hill, the remains of which are still visible. Later, in 1875, the City Council purchased, for £20,000, Western Springs, from which source the city’s water supply was obtained for many years. At this period the Council did not embrace the same wide field of activity which it does now; road formation, water and sewerage being the principal undertakings.

[Pg 146]

New City Markets were opened on June 20th, 1873, the foundation stone having been laid on November 11th of the preceding year. The Mayor (Mr. P. A. Philips) performed both ceremonies. The building cost £10,000, and was used until the present markets were completed in 1917 and 1918.

Auckland’s first trams, which were horse-drawn, and were conducted by a company, commenced running on August 11, 1884. The route traversed was from the Waitemata Hotel by Queen Street to the Ponsonby reservoir, and the fare was threepence.

The building of the Public Library and Art Gallery was an event in the history of the city, and was indicative of the desire for knowledge and advancement which was a feature of the time. The Mechanics’ Institute had fallen on evil days, and the City Council acquired the premises, stock and freehold in 1880. The building, part of which was then some 38 years old, was not in good repair, nor was it large enough for the purposes of an up-to-date library. Two years after the founding of the Public Library, Sir George Grey offered to[Pg 147] present his books, pictures and curios to the city. The City Council thereupon decided to erect a building which would suitably house these and other collections. Designs for a library and art gallery building were invited, and that of Messrs. Grainger and D’Ebro, of Melbourne, was accepted. The foundation stone was laid on 4th June, 1885, by the Mayor (Mr. William Richard Waddel), and the Library was opened on March 26th, 1887, Mr. A. E. T. Devore, Mayor, presiding. Messrs. James Malcolm and William Price were the contractors. The contract was let for £21,851. The Art Gallery was opened a year later, on February 17th.

The growth of the Public Library and Art Gallery has been both rapid and interesting. At its inception the stock consisted of some 6000 volumes, the majority of which were acquired from the Provincial Council Library. At the opening of the new building the collection numbered 15,000 volumes, the increase being largely due to the accession of Sir George Grey’s library. From 1887 until 1898, Sir George kept adding to the library, enriching it to such an extent that the Auckland Library[Pg 148] obtained what is, perhaps, an unique position among municipal libraries throughout the world. Among the 15,000 volumes which he presented are many rare and interesting early manuscripts, some being illuminated, a valuable array of incunabula, including three Caxtons, and a number of literary treasures, amongst which the first, second and fourth folios of Shakespeare, as well as the “Poems” of Shakespeare, 1640, are worthy of special mention. The Grey collection also contains an interesting series of autograph letters.

Later bequests to the Library include the J. T. Mackelvie collection, the McKechnie collection, the Fred Shaw collection and the Henry Shaw collection. The last-mentioned runs on somewhat similar lines to the Grey collection, and contains many Oriental and other manuscripts, a large number of Fifteenth and Sixteenth Century printed books, and a splendid collection of works in general literature in best copies. The section dealing with arts and crafts is especially noteworthy. There are also a number of grangerised books, the “Edinburgh Folio Shakespeare,” which has over 3000[Pg 149] illustrations added to it, being the most important. Further particularisation of these collections is impossible here, but these brief remarks may give some slight idea of their literary, artistic and bibliographical value. Of monetary bequests, mention should be made of Mr. Edward Costley’s gift of £12,150.

Auckland Public Library, 1880
Formerly the Mechanics’ Institute and Library, established 1842

Public Library, Art Gallery and Old Colonists’ Museum, to-day
The progress illustrated in these pictures may be taken as typical of the growth of the City’s Institutions in general

The Art Gallery has been equally fortunate. The nucleus of the gallery, consisting mainly of old masters and other pictures, was given by Sir George Grey, and other public spirited citizens have followed his example. The most notable bequest, however, was that of the late James Tannock Mackelvie, who bequeathed, in 1885, his valuable art collection, along with a large sum of money, in trust, to establish and maintain a Museum of Fine Art for the people of Auckland. By an arrangement between the trustees and the Corporation, an addition was made to the Art Gallery building, and the collection deposited there. It now contains a well chosen selection of modern British and Continental pictures and objets d’art. Altogether, the Auckland Art Gallery takes the premier position[Pg 150] among institutions of its kind in New Zealand. To provide accommodation for the rapidly increasing number of pictures, a further addition was made to the Gallery in 1916, and was opened by Mr. J. H. Gunson, Mayor, on December 6th, but already the room has proved insufficient for the growth of the collections. The city authorities have specialised in New Zealand art, and this section contains an interesting group of paintings by local artists.

The Old Colonists’ Museum, which is housed in the Library and Art Gallery building, was opened on March 22, 1916, by the Mayor (Mr. J. H. Gunson). It contains an extensive collection of pictures, maps, plans and mementoes illustrating the early days of New Zealand, especially North Auckland and the city.

The Elam School of Art, which was established by the will of the late Dr. J. E. Elam, who bequeathed a sum of £6500 for the purpose, was located in the Public Library building from 1890 until 1915; in this year the school was moved to a new building which had been erected in Rutland Street.

[Pg 151]

The work of the Harbour Board, as far as the city is concerned, has been devoted principally to reclamation and wharves. Prior to the constitution of the Harbour Board, the port was under the control of the Provincial Council. Some reclamation had been carried out by that body, for at the time of the transference of the control from the Provincial Council to the Board considerable alteration had taken place on the foreshores. In the ’forties, Commercial Bay swept round from Britomart Point along a beach, which subsequently became Fort Street, to a headland known successively as Stanley Point and Smales Point. This promontory stood in the vicinity of Albert Street and Customs Street West. By 1870 the foreshore had been reclaimed, and Customs Street East added to the city’s highways. At that date Customs Street ended at the foot of a cliff, and a long flight of steps, known as “Jacob’s Ladder,” led up to Emily Place. On the western side of Queen Street, Customs Street finished at the waterfront opposite Albert Street.

The wharf accommodation in 1870 was very[Pg 152] small indeed. The first Auckland wharf was the Wynyard Pier, which was built in the ’forties, and was situated in Official Bay in a direct line from Short Street. Commercial Bay had from the first been selected as the shipping centre of Auckland, and by 1852, one can gather from Hogan’s engraving (p. 72) that considerable work has been expended upon the improvement of the facilities for loading and unloading vessels. The Queen Street Wharf has always been the principal wharf, but in 1852 there was a small pier leading from the lane which ran from the Victoria Hotel to Shortland Street, and east of Graham’s Bond (a stone building which still stands in Fort Street, but at that time was right on the waterfront) there was a landing stage. Between 1852 and 1870 a new wooden wharf replaced the Queen Street one, another was erected opposite Gore Street, and a breakwater had been built from Britomart Point.

This was the state of the waterfront when the Harbour Board undertook the management of the port.

One of the earliest tasks the Board undertook was[Pg 153] the demolition of Point Britomart, which occupied several years to accomplish. The spoil was used for reclamation between that point and Queen Street, and on this area the railway yards, electric power station, cold stores, and other establishments have been built, adding Quay Street to the number of city thoroughfares.

To the west of Queen Street the reclaimed area can be easily distinguished on account of the regular low-lying nature of the streets comprised within it. If one follows a route from Queen Street along Customs, Sturdee, Fanshawe, Halsey, Patteson and Beaumont Streets, where the last named street junctions with Fanshawe Street, this would give roughly the foreshore as it existed in 1870. The reclamations, which include the area now occupied by Victoria Park, were completed about 1900.

The Harbour Board is still engaged upon reclamation work, adding considerably to the city and port’s facilities.

The wharves did not alter much during the first thirty years of the Board’s control. In this period the Queen Street Wharf was practically rebuilt[Pg 154] and considerably enlarged, and the Railway Wharf erected. At a later date, Hobson Street Wharf, the Quay Street Jetty and other jetties were built. In the ’eighties Gore Street Wharf was demolished in connection with the Quay Street reclamations, and extra wharf provision was made parallel to this street. All these wharves were constructed of wood. In 1900 the comprehensive scheme of wharves in concrete was commenced, and has been steadily pushed forward. At the present time the port’s wharves are a credit to the authorities, alike in size, number and equipment, and, although the accommodation for ships has been greatly increased, the Board is occupied with further extensions, to enable it to keep pace with the growth of the port’s shipping.

Docking accommodation for the repair of vessels was also put in hand by the Harbour Board. On May 1st, 1876, the Auckland Graving Dock, which was situated opposite Hobson Street, was commenced, and was opened on August 20th, 1878. This dock was used for small vessels. It was abandoned in 1913 and the site filled in.

[Pg 155]

The Calliope Dock, on the North Shore, was opened by the Governor (Sir William F. D. Jervois) on February 16th, 1888, in the presence of Admiral Fairfax, commander of the fleet on the Australasian station. The day was made the occasion of a public holiday. Bunting was to be seen everywhere: in the city, at Devonport, and on the vessels in the harbour. Two of her Majesty’s ships of war, the Calliope and Diamond, steamed into the new dock, the former cutting the ribbon stretched across. The dock was, when opened, the largest graving dock possessed by any colony, and had cost up to that date £135,000. It required an additional expenditure of £20,000 to make it as complete as possible. Mr. Pierce Lanigan was the contractor, Mr. W. Errington the engineer, and Mr. Swainson clerk of works.

H.M.S. Calliope, which, as has been mentioned, was the first vessel to enter the dock, became famous in the annals of seamanship only a month later, when, during the great storm of 16th March, 1888, which struck Samoa, she sailed out from Apia under the command of Captain Kane. All[Pg 156] the vessels which remained in the harbour were wrecked.

Queen Street Wharf, 1887
After the painting by A. E. Gifford, in the Old Colonists’ Museum

A hoax perpetrated by Mr. D. M. Luckie, editor of the Southern Cross, which for the time being created consternation and serious excitement in the city and district, occurred on the morning of February 17th, 1873, when the Daily Southern Cross printed a report purporting to be a description of the capture of Auckland by the Russian man-of-war Kaskowiski. The article described in detail the capture “of the British warship lying in the waters of the Waitemata,” the seizure “of our principal citizens as hostages,” the demand of “a heavy ransom for the city,” and the emptying of “the coffers of the banks of all the gold and specie they contained.” Although the report had a foot-note stating that it was taken “from the Daily Southern Cross of Monday, the 15th May, 1873,” quite a large number of people were deceived by it. One woman, the New Zealand Herald stated, became hysterical on reading the account, while a gentleman made preparations for the flight of himself, his wife and family to their farm at the Hot[Pg 157] Springs. A Queen Street shopkeeper, after reading the report, put up his shutters and reappeared, fully armed, “ready for the fray.”

The trouble Great Britain was having in India, in which Russia was implicated, gave a semblance of probability to the report. At the same time, it is surprising that such a palpable hoax could have misled anyone. The purpose which the newspaper had in producing the article was stated in the next issue to be to “direct attention to the necessity of these colonies being properly protected.”

Eight years later, on 12th December, 1881, the Russian cruiser Africa visited Auckland without causing consternation among the citizens. Better relations now obtained between the two nations, and Admiral Aslanbexoff, who was in command, was welcomed to the city by the civic authorities, and dined with the Mayor and Mayoress (Mr. and Mrs. J. McCosh Clark) on the evening of the ship’s arrival.

Educational matters received long-delayed attention in this period. As we have already mentioned, the Grammar School commenced its career in the[Pg 158] last year of the ’sixties, but, until the passing of “The Education Act” of 1877, elementary education had been carried on by private and denominational schools, the latter system being introduced in 1847 by Sir George Grey, who realised that the only organisations fit to undertake the work of education were the churches. When the education system passed into the care of the Provincial Council, that body passed, in 1857, an Act for the better regulation of education, but the Council was too hard pressed financially to be able to do much. The Act of 1877, however, placed the education of children on a stable basis, providing for free, compulsory and secular teaching. Following the passing of this Act, a number of private schools came under the national authority. Since then the system has developed, and at the present time there are eighteen primary schools within the city boundaries which supply instruction to over 11,000 children.

Apart from the primary and secondary education systems, Auckland was noticeably deficient in the higher branches of education and in the educa[Pg 159]tional facilities provided for the working man. In fact, except for the Mechanics’ Institute, there was no provision for general or technical education available. Much credit is due to this Institute for what it did in the thirty-eight years of its existence to stimulate interest among, and provide opportunities of self-improvement to, the youth of the community. In glancing through the early files of newspapers, the Institute would seem to have been the Mecca of all things intellectual. During these years it carried on series of lectures by the best lecturers available, and in 1873 classes of instruction were founded, to which sixty men were joined. Among the subjects taught were arithmetic, mathematics, architectural and mechanical drawing, and, more interesting still, there was a class for the study of Maori. These classes were successful, and the Committee of the Institute arranged an exhibition of Fine and Useful Arts, which was opened by the Superintendent of the Province, on Boxing Day, 1873. A few years after this exhibition, the Mechanics’ Institute began to experience difficulties, which ultimately led to its extinction. During the[Pg 160] ’seventies and ’eighties the Y.M.C.A. carried out courses of lectures in the winter months, which were popular and well patronised.

After the closing of the classes at the Mechanics’ Institute, technical education in Auckland seems to have fallen into neglect until 1896, when the Auckland Technical School was founded, and carried on its work in Rutland Street. In 1900 “The Manual and Technical Instruction Act” was passed, and the following year the Education Board took over the control of the school, and appointed Mr. G. George director. So rapidly did the school develop that a new building became essential, and the promise of a contribution of £10,000 towards its erection having been made by the Auckland Savings Bank in 1905, steps were taken to carry out the proposal. On August 17th, 1909, the foundation stone of the present college was laid by the Governor, Lord Plunket, and the building was opened in 1913 by Sir James Allen, Minister for Education and Defence. Mr. John Mitchell was the architect, and Mr. Stanley Jeffreys the builder; but, owing to the lack of funds, the build[Pg 161]ing as planned was not finished. Additions to meet requirements are now in course of erection. The progress of the college may be estimated by the figures of attendance. In 1902 the number of pupils was thirty. At the opening of the new school (1913) there were 1627 individual students in attendance at day or night classes.

In 1872 Sir George Maurice O’Rorke, whose whole life was associated with the Auckland University College, and who was Chairman of the Council from its inception until his death on 24th August, 1916, made an unsuccessful effort to institute a university in the city. Five years later another agitation was set in being, and resulted in the appointment of a Royal Commission on University and Secondary Education, which reported in July, 1879. Its recommendations were embodied in the “Auckland University College Act, 1882.” The Bill was introduced by Mr. J. A. Tole in 1881, when it was shelved, but received legislative sanction in the following year. To accelerate the opening of the college, the Premier sent instructions to the Agent-General in London to appoint[Pg 162] professors, and upon the arrival of the staff the college was opened by the Governor, Sir William F. D. Jervois, on May 21st, 1883, in the buildings in Eden Street, formerly used as a District Court House, and the old Admiralty House, Short Street.

Shortly afterwards the Council came into possession of the Parliament buildings, which had latterly been used by the Provincial Council, and, with additions along Eden Street, these premises, rich in historic association, but wholly inadequate and unsuitable for a college, had perforce to serve their purpose until 1917, when the buildings were taken over by the City Council in connection with the Anzac Avenue roadway, forcing the College Council to find other quarters. These were found in the old Grammar School buildings, Symonds Street, where provision was made for the Arts, Law, Commerce and Music faculties; the Science departments were accommodated on a site adjoining Government House grounds, which belonged to the College, and here a two-storey building was erected, in the design of which the architects, Messrs. Goldsbro’ and Cumming utilised the old[Pg 163] Choral Hall. The building was officially opened on June 7th, 1919, by the Acting-Premier, Sir James Allen. The contract for the building and alterations was let for £14,767. Fittings and scientific equipment absorbed another £10,000.

The one thing which has stood in the path of the progress of the college has been local disruption with regard to the site. This question has been discussed time after time. The dispute is now settled, and the ground adjoining the Science block was secured in 1919. Competitive designs were invited for a modern building, and the plan of Messrs. Lippincott and Billson, Melbourne, which it is estimated will cost £97,000, was accepted. The building is expected to be completed in 1925.

Much credit is due to Mr. T. W. Leys, who succeeded Sir Maurice O’Rorke as Chairman of the College Council, for the position which now obtains in local university affairs, for it is largely due to his energy that the site question has been settled and the future of the college placed on a satisfactory basis. In recognition of his services to university education, the McGill University of Toronto,[Pg 164] in 1920, conferred on him the degree of LL.D.

The most important among the few endowments which the college has received was the gift of £3000 made by Mr. Thomas Bannatyne Gillies, a Judge of the Supreme Court, for the purpose of endowing two scientific scholarships, to be named respectively the Sinclair and Gillies Scholarships.

View of Auckland from Rangitoto Island (960 feet high)
Showing North Head, Devonport, in the middle distance and the City and Waitakere Ranges in the background

Fires between ’71 and ’90 were numerous, despite the fact that the early wooden buildings were being replaced by bricks and mortar, but only those representing damages of not less than £10,000 are noticed here. A serious outbreak happened a few minutes before midnight on the 19th November, 1872. It was supposed to have originated in Mr. Frank Scherff’s store, on the northern side of Fort Street, and developed first on the western side of that building, involving the Pacific Fire Insurance premises and another; it then spread in an easterly direction to the buildings occupied by the Waikato Transport Company, Messrs. Bucholz and Messrs. Webb, and although these were divided by brick walls, they were soon ablaze. The fire then crossed the thoroughfare and attacked[Pg 165] the Government buildings, including the Post Office, the Telegraph Office, the Customs House and the offices of the Provincial Council. The Fire Brigades, which were early on the scene, were blamed for allowing the Post Office to become ignited, but it is only just to state that the hoses were in a very bad condition, and handicapped the firemen in their work. The damage amounted to £50,000. The postal buildings, which were destroyed, cost some £30,000 to erect, and were not insured.

The most calamitous fire which had so far overtaken the city took place on September the 6th, 1873, causing the destruction of fifty-four buildings, mostly shops, business premises, and some dwellings, the damages being assessed at £70,000. The outbreak was reported to have commenced in Mrs. Powley’s millinery establishment in Queen Street, which occupied the site where Darby Street stands to-day, and so rapidly did the fire spread that in less than an hour the whole of the west side of the street, up to the United Service Hotel, at the corner of Wellesley Street, was ablaze; the fire then crossed Wellesley Street and its progress up[Pg 166] Queen Street to the Anchor Hotel was as rapid as in the other block. Before it ran its course it involved an area bounded by Victoria Street, the old markets site, Queen Street and Elliott Street. While the fire was at its height there was a mild panic, owing to the fear that the conflagration would burn down the city. A large amount of damage was caused by over zealous helpers, who, in their endeavours to save property from the flames, threw household furniture, including pianos even, out of doors and windows, where many of the articles were smashed against the pavement.

Later in the same year another fire occurred, on October the 14th. Commencing either in the back store of Mr. J. Macfarlane or in Messrs. Henderson and Macfarlane, which were adjacent, the flames completely destroyed both premises, and extended to the buildings occupied by Messrs. Stone, Leaning, Bucholz (who had been burned out in the fire of 1872) and Ellingham. The damage amounted to £40,000.

A row of the few remaining wooden buildings which still survived in Queen Street, situated at[Pg 167] the south-east corner of Victoria Street, were burned down in an hour and a half on May 10th, 1876. The fire extended as far back as Lorne Street, and caused damage estimated at £10,000.

Two timber mills were responsible for large fires, involving losses amounting to £10,000 each. The first of these occurred at the Union Sash and Door Company, Mechanics Bay, on July 25th, 1883; the other took place on January 10th, 1885, at the Auckland Timber Company’s mill, Customs Street, where half a million feet of timber was set on fire, creating a magnificent spectacle. The gas works, which were located near by, were carefully watched, in case of danger. At this fire the crew of the U.S. ship Iroquois rendered valuable help.

The last fire to occur within this period took place at the Phœnix Foundry, the business of Messrs. George Fraser and Sons, Stanley Street, on October 19th, 1893, causing damage amounting to five figures.

The weather was also the means of bringing about losses to the community, and the gale which struck Auckland on February 7th, 1874, caused[Pg 168] the death of seven persons by drowning, and damage to shipping and harbour works amounting to over £12,000. No fewer than twenty-five vessels were either damaged or sunk during the storm. On the waterfront the embankments were breached at several places, and sheds injured or destroyed. The owners of small craft sustained extremely serious loss. In comparison with the havoc done in the harbour the damage inland was negligible.

In the previous section the shipping of the port was sketched up to the temporary service that took the place of the Panama Company’s service, which ceased in 1869. In 1871 an agreement was made by the Government with Messrs. Webb and Holladay, owners of the California Line, to run a fleet of four paddle steamers, viz, Nevada (2145 tons), Nebraska (2143 tons), Dacotah (2145 tons)—all of which were fitted with beam engines—and Moses Taylor (1354 tons), from Sydney to San Francisco. Auckland was again the port of call, but for a few trips at the commencement of the service Port Chalmers was made the New Zealand port of call alternately with Auckland, on which occa[Pg 169]sions Napier, Wellington and Lyttelton were visited en route. In 1873 the United States withdrew the subsidy, and, as the line had become unpopular with the Australian and New Zealand Governments, the service was ended. Another temporary service was run by Mr. Hall, first by the steamers Tartar and Mongol, and later by the Cyphrenes and Mikado; a few trips were made by the City of Melbourne. The route followed was by Fiji (Kandavu). An offer of the Pacific Mail Company, in conjunction with the Fairfield Shipbuilding Company of Glasgow, was accepted, and inaugurated in 1875, the Fiji route being followed until 1877, when the Honolulu course was adopted. The ships engaged in this service were Vasco de Gama, Colima, City of San Francisco, City of New York, City of Sydney, Zealandia, and Australia. The contract expired in 1885. The next contract was divided between the Oceanic Company of America and the Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand. The Oceanic Company put into commission the Alameda and Mariposa (3158 tons), and the Union Company the Mararoa (2598 tons). The[Pg 170] latter was withdrawn, and was replaced in 1890 by the same company’s new liner Monowai (3433 tons). The Arawa substituted the Monowai in this service for a time, but in 1897 the Moana finally took up the run. In 1900, owing to the legislative enactment of the United States precluding any but American ships from plying between American ports, the Moana was transferred to the Vancouver service. The Alameda and Mariposa were also withdrawn, and were replaced by the Sierra, which inaugurated a three-weekly service from ’Frisco. She was followed by the Sonoma and Ventura. This service lasted till 1909, when the New Zealand Government followed the example of the United States, and withdrew the subsidy.

The New Zealand Shipping Company, a Dominion concern, was established in 1873, and ten years later a direct line of steam communication was inaugurated by the company’s steamer British King, which began the Government mail contract on January 26th, 1883, when the steamer left London, travelling via Cape Horn. Five steamers were built for this direct service. Since the Panama[Pg 171] Canal was opened, this company has used that route.

The Shaw, Savill and Albion Line about this time placed steamers in the New Zealand run, and the service has continued up to the present. Other lines, including the Tyser and White Star lines, have been engaged upon the New Zealand trade.

In the ’seventies, trade with the Islands attracted Auckland business men, and the Star of the South (Captain W. Farquhar) commenced a monthly service between New Zealand and Fiji.

The coastal services from Auckland developed rapidly in this period, and culminated in the formation of the Northern Steamship Company on May 11th, 1881. The company was formed to take over the steamers and trade of the Auckland Steam Packet Company, and other local steamers. It continued to absorb the other steamer services, including the Coromandel Steamship Company, and, in 1906, the Manukau Steamship Company. The Northern Steamship Company has now forty vessels in its fleet, trading to every part of the province.

[Pg 172]

A most serious shipping calamity took place on October 28th, 1894, when the Union Steamship Company’s steamer Wairarapa (1786 tons) was wrecked at Miner’s Head, Great Barrier, on her voyage from Sydney to Auckland. She left Port Jackson with 230 souls on board. Rounding Cape Maria van Diemen on Sunday morning, the ship ran into a fog. In the fog she mistook her course, and when she crashed on the reef she was twenty-five miles out of it. The death-roll was enormous, 127 passengers and crew, including Captain McIntosh, being drowned. The boats on the port side got away safely, but the starboard boats capsized, owing to the list, and the passengers were precipitated into the water, some of them being drowned. The survivors on the ship spent many miserable hours until dawn. As soon as daylight appeared efforts were made by the survivors to get off the ship. Mr. Leighton climbed to the mast-head and detached the signal halyard, with which the second engineer essayed to swim ashore, but failed. One of the stewards took up the heroic task. He succeeded, and along this thin line of life all passed[Pg 173] in safety, save two. The first person, a lady, who reached safety by this means, did so by moving hand over hand, but afterwards an endless line was fixed, on which the remainder of those on board made their escape.

Plan of Auckland Waterfront to-day
The heavy black line represents the waterfront in 1841

Three years later the Huddart-Parker Company’s inter-colonial steamer Tasmania was wrecked, on July 29th, 1897, while on a voyage from Auckland to Napier. The weather at the time was dirty and thick, and after sheltering for some time off Gisborne, Captain McGee decided to make for Napier. In the dark the vessel struck a rock off Table Cape, and the captain ordered the passengers and crew to take to the boats. Fortunately, everybody on board got away, and all the boats but two reached land safely. One of these, the carpenter’s boat, capsized off Kawakawa, and a passenger and one of the crew were drowned. The other boat contained eight members of the crew, all of whom were drowned.

A disaster connected with the coastal shipping occurred on March 31st, 1893, when the steamer Ruby was wrecked on Managawai Bar, 50 miles from Auckland, two lives being lost.

[Pg 174]

The commercial progress of the city was continued in the ’seventies, and is illustrated by the appearance of another insurance company of Auckland origin. The new concern was the South British Fire and Marine Insurance Company, which commenced operations in August, 1872, with an initial capital of half a million. Like its elder brother, the New Zealand Insurance Company, it soon extended its field of activity beyond the confines of the Dominion, but did not meet with the same success, and in 1890 a thorough reorganisation of the business took place, since when the advancement of the company has been uniformly consistent.

The advent of a new banking concern was another indication of the commercial prosperity of Auckland. The National Bank of New Zealand opened up business in 1874 in temporary premises on the eastern side of Queen Street, but later in the year it was removed to the present building, at the corner of Queen and Wyndham Streets. Messrs. R. W. Keals and Son were the architects.

The mercantile and industrial development which[Pg 175] Auckland had made since the financial crisis in the ’eighties was remarkable, and culminated in the Mining and Industrial Exhibition of 1898-99, the first modern exhibition that the city had undertaken. The object of the exhibition was to promote and develop local manufactures, mining and productive industries. Mr. Bartholomew Kent was the originator of the exhibition, and, on his suggestion, the Chamber of Commerce, of which he was president at the time, convened a meeting on June 3rd, 1897, for the purpose of forming a committee to carry out the proposal. Mr. Kent was appointed president of the executive, with Mr. W. R. Holmes, secretary. The work of planning and laying out the exhibition was entrusted to Mr. R. W. de Montalk and Mr. H. D. Griffiths, who were respectively architect and engineer to the exhibition. The buildings, which occupied five acres adjoining Government House grounds, were simple but tasteful in design, and cost about £5000 to erect. On the Symonds Street frontage of the grounds a sports area was located, which had cycle and running tracks, and accommodation for 6000 spectators.[Pg 176] The Choral Hall adjoining was utilised for the musical events. Mr. F. N. Meadows was the Director of the Exhibition.

The Exhibition was opened by the Governor, the Earl of Ranfurly, on 1st December, 1898, and continued until February of the following year. It was estimated that it was visited by a quarter of a million persons in that time. Financially and socially the Exhibition was completely successful.

Labour and union questions began to interest tradesmen about this period, and in 1872 the Trades and Labour Council was founded. Whatever disputes arose during these years appear to have been easily adjusted, for no strike of any importance is recorded to have taken place in New Zealand until the maritime strike of August, 1890, which involved the New Zealand members of these unions. The strike lasted until November, when conditions again became normal.

Auckland’s first Eight Hours’ Demonstration took place on April 19th, 1882. Like its successor, the Labour Day Demonstration, it took the form of a procession of unionists, some 500 in number,[Pg 177] who marshalled in the city and travelled to the Domain, where sports were indulged in. At night the festivities were continued with a supper and dance.

Auckland has always been a fortunate city in respect to benefactors, some of whom have been already noticed. Two others must be mentioned here. Mr. Edward Costley, who died on April 18th, 1883, bequeathed the sum of £84,700 in equal shares to the following city institutions:—Institute and Museum, Public Library, Hospital, Orphan Home, Costley Home for the Aged Poor, Sailors’ Home, and Boys’ Institute. Mr. James Dilworth, the other benefactor, died on December 23rd, 1894, leaving estate valued at £100,000, to be applied to the maintenance and education of orphans or of children of persons of good character and in straitened circumstances, the education to extend to secondary schools and the university if the children show fitness for such.

The Jubilee Institute for the Blind was founded on July 9th, 1890. The present site was purchased in 1891, and a dwelling which stood on it was[Pg 178] renovated and opened as a school. As the pupils increased, additions were made, including a workshop for blind men. Early in the history of the Institute a building fund had been inaugurated, with the view of erecting a permanent building. The bequest of £10,000 of Mr. Wm. Mason, who died in 1905, and the energy of Mr. John Abbott, enabled the trustees to realise their hopes earlier than otherwise would have been possible. The foundation stone of the new building was laid by the Hon. Geo. Fowlds, Minister for Education, in May, 1907, and on the 21st May, 1909, the building was officially opened by the Governor, Lord Plunket. Mr. E. Bartley was the architect, and Messrs. Philcox and Son the contractors, the cost of the building being £13,735.

The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria was celebrated in Auckland on June 22nd, 1897, and during the following week. For the occasion the city was elaborately decorated, every building and vantage point being utilised, and at night, illuminations, bonfires and fireworks were to be seen everywhere. Both decorations and illumina[Pg 179]tions surpassed anything of the kind ever previously attempted in Auckland. The formal celebrations comprised a magnificent procession, in which the navy, the army, the corporations of the city and suburban districts, the Harbour Board and other institutions took part, as well as the children of the public schools. The vehicles taking part were gaily decorated, and banners were conspicuous. The procession travelled from Queen Street to the Domain, where 20,000 people were congregated. Mr. P. Dignan, Mayor, delivered an address, and concluded by asking the school children, numbering about 2,000, to sing the National Anthem. The military part of the proceedings consisted of the firing of a Royal salute, a review and a march past, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Banks, in which all the regiments of the city, cadets and veterans took part. The review was followed by a military tournament, which was witnessed by over 15,000 people.

In connection with the celebrations a committee, with the Mayor as chairman, was appointed to take steps to commemorate the sixty years’ reign of the[Pg 180] Queen. The committee decided to erect a statue. On the 80th anniversary of the Queen’s birthday (24th May, 1899) this monument—the first statue of the Queen erected in New Zealand—which stands in Albert Park, was unveiled by the Governor, the Earl of Ranfurly. It was designed by Mr. Williamson.

Queen Street To-day

The closing years of Victoria’s reign were darkened by the outbreak of hostilities in South Africa, in 1899. The war was not at first considered to be a serious affair, but the Colonial Governments nevertheless at once offered their assistance to the Imperial authorities. Opinions differed then, as now, as to the wisdom of the war, and it is in no controversial spirit that mention is made here to the subject. It would, however, be impossible to pass over the event without referring to it as a matter of history. New Zealand sent ten contingents to South Africa, the first sailing on 21st October, 1899, and the last at the beginning of 1902. The total number of men despatched was upwards of 6000 of all ranks, and an equal number of horses. Auckland was well represented in these forces,[Pg 181] some of which sailed direct from the Waitemata.

The Veterans’ Home, Mount Roskill, which was opened by the Governor, the Earl of Ranfurly, on 10th December, 1903, was established as a national war memorial to the New Zealanders who died in the South African War, and to provide a home for aged veterans. The successful accomplishment of the project was due in a large measure to the energy of the Governor. The home has now passed into the control of the Auckland Patriotic and War Relief Association.

[Pg 182]

Chapter IV
Prosperity and Expansion: 1901-1920

The last twenty years of Auckland’s history have continued the prosperity which commenced in the late ’nineties, with the recovery from the slump. The rise in the population illustrates this clearly. The increase was slow, but steady, in the first decade; in the next it reached almost a record rate. At the 1901 census the population of the city was 34,213, a small increase of 2789 over the figures of 1896. Ten years later the numbers had risen to 40,536, and in 1916 to 64,951. At the recent enumeration, taken at the opening of the present year (1921), the city’s population totalled 83,467, an increase in the last ten years exceeding 100 per cent. The recent increase is partly attributable to the amalgamation of contiguous local bodies with the city, the details of which are given on p. 239, but the main cause of the city’s prosperity is due to the position which Auckland holds as the[Pg 183] principal city of the large and wealthy pastoral districts which surround it. The agricultural industry has made wonderful progress in these years, and the city, being the natural medium of exchange between the producer and the oversea markets, advanced rapidly as an important commercial centre. Auckland’s prosperity has been built upon its advantageous commercial position, and the present ratio of progress is a happy augury of the future.

The Twentieth Century opened auspiciously with the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, who arrived in Auckland—their first port of call in New Zealand—on the 10th of June, and remained here until the 12th. The heir to the throne and his princess were welcomed to the Dominion and the city by the Governor, the Earl of Ranfurly, the Rt. Hon. R. J. Seddon, Prime Minister, other ministers and members of Parliament, Dr. (afterwards Sir) John Logan Campbell, Mayor, and members of the City Council, the Chairman (Mr. Alfred Kidd) and members of the Harbour Board. The city was lavishly decorated,[Pg 184] the illuminations at night being a feature. On their journey from the wharf to Government House Their Royal Highnesses received a welcome, characterised by unparalleled enthusiasm, from the citizens, which included some 2500 school children, who formed a living Union Jack in Wellesley Street East. During his stay in Auckland the Duke was present at a military review at Potter’s Paddock, where he distributed medals to men who had served in the Boer War.

Two interesting events were associated with the Royal visit, the principal one being the presentation by Dr. John Logan Campbell of a park of 230 acres, which the donor invited His Royal Highness to accept on behalf of the people of New Zealand, and requested him to name it Cornwall Park, in commemoration of the visit; the other was the laying of the foundation stone of the Queen Victoria School for Maori Girls, Parnell, which the Duke performed on behalf of the Duchess.

The gift of Cornwall Park by the venerable doctor was the “crowning glory of his life,” as the donor himself said. Logan Campbell arrived in[Pg 185] New Zealand in 1839, and, pending the choice of the capital on the Waitemata, he settled temporarily on Motu Korea (Brown’s Island). As soon as the site had been fixed he moved over to the mainland, and was amongst the original buyers of land at the first Auckland land sale. He became Superintendent of the Auckland Provincial Council, 1855-56, and at different times represented Auckland and Parnell in the House of Representatives. He was associated with practically every movement to develop Auckland’s commercial interests, and every organisation which had for its object the social advancement of the city obtained his willing assistance. In 1901, prior to the Royal visit, he was appointed Mayor of Auckland, and no more suitable person could have been found than this pioneer, who had helped to build the city from its inception. The following year he was knighted. He died June 22nd, 1912, and was buried on the summit of Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill), the funeral being the most largely attended in the history of the city. Business was suspended, and thousands of persons lined the route as the[Pg 186] funeral cortége passed, bearing the mortal remains of the aged pioneer to its last resting place.

His benefactions during his life included the Kindergarten, the Crèche and the Nursery, all of which bear his name, and at his death he bequeathed to public institutions a total of £76,000.

Cornwall Park was formally opened on August 26th, 1903, the donor leading a procession of carriages, containing the public men and women of the city and district, through the new drive from Manukau road to the Huia Lodge. The Drive to the hilltop was completed and opened on January 29th, 1907, and the park was vested in a domain board. With a view to commemorating the gift of Cornwall Park and Sir John Logan Campbell’s other services to the community, it was decided to erect a statue of him at the entrance to the park. The work was entrusted to Mr. Fred Pegram, an English sculptor. The unveiling was performed by the Governor, Lord Plunket, on May 24th, 1906, Sir John himself taking part in the ceremony.

Later in the same year (1901) the distinguished Scottish general, Sir Hector Macdonald, who had[Pg 187] risen from the ranks, visited Auckland on November 8th, and remained in the city until the 11th. He was welcomed by the Mayor, Mr. Alfred Kidd, and citizens, the Scottish community in particular showering hospitality upon him. He spent a busy time in Auckland, and, amongst other things, inspected the cadets at the Domain. As a memorial of his visit, the Scotsmen of the city endowed a cot at the Hospital, which bears the name of this famous soldier, whose career closed a few years later under tragic circumstances.

Eleven years later two other famous generals, Earl Kitchener and Lieutenant-General Sir Robert S. S. Baden-Powell, visited Auckland. The former reached the city on March 1st, 1912. The object of his visit was of a military character, as he had been invited by the Government to prepare a scheme of defence for the Dominion. Lord Kitchener was received with enthusiasm, and during his brief sojourn he inspected the harbour defences, and reviewed 4000 cadets in the Domain.

Sir Robert Baden-Powell, founder and Chief of the Boy Scouts, came to Auckland in connection[Pg 188] with this movement. He arrived on May 28th, 1912, and received a civic welcome from the citizens, the Mayor, Mr. C. J. Parr, presiding. The hero of Mafeking spent a busy day, which included a review of 2500 cadets and 500 boy scouts at the Domain, the Governor, Baron Islington, taking the salute. In the evening Sir Robert delivered a lecture at the Town Hall.

Two years later Sir Ian Hamilton, Inspector-General of the Overseas Forces, came to New Zealand in an official capacity. He arrived in Auckland on May 12th, 1914, for the purpose of inspecting the military stations in the district, and the day following reviewed 4000 senior cadets at the Domain. He was accorded a civic reception, Mr. A. J. Entrican, Acting-Mayor, officiating.

During the same year two Australian statesmen visited the Dominion on official business. Mr. W. A. Holman, Premier of New South Wales, arrived in Auckland on February 9th, and Mr. Andrew Fisher, Premier of the Commonwealth of Australia, on December 28th, 1914.

View of Auckland’s Harbour Frontage taken from a sea-plane, showing the wharves

In the last twenty years the Waitemata has re[Pg 189]ceived a number of visits from various navies, the first of which was made by the Australian Squadron, which arrived in the harbour on February 28th, 1903, under the command of Vice-Admiral Arthur Dalrymple Fanshawe. The warships comprising the squadron were the Royal Arthur (flagship), Ringarooma, Wallaroo, Phoebe, Archer, Karrakatta, Sparrow, Lizard and Penguin. The fleet remained for a week in the harbour, and during its stay the annual fleet regatta took place. While on this visit, Admiral Fanshawe declined the offer of the use of Admiralty House, which had been erected by the Harbour Board at a cost of over £8500, including land.

The visit of the United States Navy, in 1908, was one of the gayest and most spectacular events in the history of Auckland. The fleet reached Auckland on Sunday morning, August 9th, and the Admiral and his men were welcomed by crowds estimated at 100,000 persons, who utilised every vantage point on the harbour front. The city and harbour were decorated in a most extensive manner, the illuminations, in which electricity was used[Pg 190] for the first time, being particularly elaborate. The official landing of Rear-Admiral Sperry and his officers took place on Monday, when they were received by the Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. J. G. Ward; members of the Legislature; the Mayor (Mr. Arthur M. Myers), and members of the City Council; the chairman (Hon. E. Mitchelson), and members of the Harbour Board, and others.

Thereafter a week of festivities, the like of which the city had never previously indulged in, took place, including banquets, receptions on land and aboard the ships of the fleet, reviews, race meetings and sports, both general and aquatic. Public and private organisations vied with each other in the entertainment of both officers and men. The population joined in all these proceedings, and made the occasion memorable for the visitors and a pleasure to themselves. “Fleet Week,” the name by which the event is now generally referred to, ended on August 15th, on which date the fleet steamed out of the harbour.

H.M.S. New Zealand, a battle cruiser of 18,800 tons, which was presented by the Government of[Pg 191] New Zealand to the Home Government, arrived, on a visit, in Auckland Harbour on April 29th, 1913, with Captain Lionel Halsey in command. The vessel and its crew received a great welcome from the citizens, and while in port she was visited by 94,616 persons. In the Great War the ship took part in the sea fights of Heligoland, Dogger Bank and Jutland. After the close of the war the battle cruiser revisited Auckland, on September 23rd, 1919, with Admiral Lord Jellicoe, who was engaged upon a report on Empire defence, in command. Another great welcome was accorded both ship and the distinguished sailor, who the year following returned to New Zealand as Governor-General. He made his first visit to Auckland in a gubernatorial capacity on October 30th, 1920.

During the war period two Japanese warships, Iwate and Azuma visited New Zealand, arriving here on July 9th, 1916. Admiral Matsumura, his officers, and the cadets who manned the ships, were received by the civic authorities, and were entertained during their stay in port. Both ships had[Pg 192] seen service in the Great War, but were now being used as training ships.

Fires are the commonplace events of a city’s history, and every city’s records are full of these occurrences. During the twenty years under review large fires alone, i.e., those causing damage to the extent of £10,000, destroyed property to the value of over half a million sterling. The first of these took place on January 13th, 1901, and completely destroyed three large buildings in Commerce and Customs Streets, and damaged two others. The principal losers by the fire were Messrs. Bond and Bell, L. D. Nathan and Co. (bond store), and G. W. Owen and Co. The origin of the fire was unknown, but owing to the inflammable nature of the goods in stock, the flames soon obtained a firm hold of the buildings, and in three hours had entirely consumed them. The loss sustained in the fire amounted to £90,000 (estimated). The Fire Brigades were unfit to cope with so large a conflagration, on account of the inadequacy of their appliances, although the water pressure was all that was required.

[Pg 193]

A characteristic of the fires which had occurred in Auckland up to this time was that, with one exception, no lives had been lost. The Grand Hotel fire of May 31st, 1901, was unfortunately responsible for the death of five persons—three children and two adults. The building was burned out, only the walls remaining. The damage was approximately £12,000.

A disastrous outbreak of fire took place on 4th May, 1904, in the warehouse belonging to Messrs. T. and S. Morrin, High Street, practically gutting the building and destroying a valuable stock of ironmongery. The damage was estimated to be in excess of £50,000. A number of firemen were injured by the collapse of a wall. After this fire had been brought under control, another outbreak in the retail premises of the same firm, which stood on the other side of High Street. Fortunately, it was confined to the roof.

The City Chambers, situated at the corner of Queen and Victoria Streets, was destroyed by fire in the early part of the evening of June 21st, 1906. All the storeys except the first were destroyed. The[Pg 194] damage to the building amounted to considerably over £10,000, and the loss on stock was also considerable, but difficult to ascertain, as the Chambers were rented as offices and occupied by many people.

Another serious fire, causing damage estimated at £100,000, destroyed the four-storeyed building in Queen Street, known as the Strand Arcade, on August 16th, 1909. So intense were the flames that in two hours the building, which had only been erected eight years, was reduced to a heap of ruins. It was due to the energies of the Fire Brigades that the hotels on either side of the Arcade were not involved in the conflagration.

One of the biggest fires ever experienced in Auckland broke out a few minutes before eleven o’clock on November 16th, 1911, in the premises of Messrs. Macky, Logan, Caldwell and Co., Elliott Street. The outbreak was first observed at the Darby Street end of the building, but in a very short time the whole front, from Darby Street to Victoria Street, was in flames. As a spectacle, it was one of the grandest fires seen in the city. It burned so fiercely that fears were entertained that[Pg 195] the whole block, which is bounded by Queen Street, would be involved. A right-of-way in Darby Street, combined with the efforts of the firemen, however, stayed the course of the fire, and in less than three hours the outbreak was under control, but not before damage estimated at £150,000 had been caused.

On 29th March, 1913, Endean’s Buildings, at the corner of Queen and Quay Streets, were destroyed by fire. The damage was estimated at £35,000.

A fire which took place on October 23rd, 1915, at the stables of Messrs. J. J. Craig Ltd., Parnell, totally destroyed the building, and caused the death of more than two hundred horses. So speedily did the fire spread that only two animals escaped alive.

The fire on February 6th, 1917, which occurred in Gleeson’s Buildings, High Street, was peculiar in respect of the amount of damage to goods in relation to the damage which the building sustained. Cinematograph films, stated to be worth £28,000, belonging to the Amalgamated Film Exchange of Australia (whose representatives occupied floors[Pg 196] in this building), were destroyed. The damage to the building did not exceed £1000.

Two outbreaks of fire took place at Messrs. Bycroft Ltd., Shortland Street within a month of one another. The first occurred on February 6th, 1919, gutting the part of the building fronting Shortland Street, and causing damage estimated at £15,000. The second fire broke out on March 8th in the rear portion of the building, destroying it and causing injury to the machinery. The damage on this occasion was about £12,000.

Another fire, which had fatal results, was the Thames Hotel blaze of February 19th, 1919. Two storeys were gutted, and one of the guests was burned to death. Others received injuries while escaping from the burning building.

Albert Park, formerly the site of Albert Barracks
J. H. Kinnear, Photo.

The most serious wreck of this period connected with the Port of Auckland was the disaster which overtook the Huddart-Parker steamer Elingamite (2585 tons), which was totally wrecked on the Three Kings, while on a voyage from Sydney to Auckland, on November 9th, 1902. The vessel, which was travelling slowly on account of a very[Pg 197] thick fog, had no warning of her danger, and when she struck, the engines were reversed without delay, but she had stuck fast. The boats and rafts were immediately launched, and all aboard, except the captain and chief steward, were taken off. Only one boat, however, reached the mainland, while others managed to make the Big King and the Middle King. The survivors on these islands underwent some hardships, until rescued by the steamer Zealandia, which had been intercepted by the master of a whaling boat, who conveyed the news of the disaster to the captain of that vessel. Later a raft was picked up by H.M.S. Penguin, but only eight out of sixteen found on it were alive. The survivors had undergone four days of terrible sufferings. One boat load of passengers was completely lost without trace. The total number of lives lost through the wreck was forty-nine.

A shipwreck of a more local character was the disaster which overtook the Kapanui inside the Heads on December 23rd, 1905. About nine o’clock in the evening the coastal steamer Kapanui, on its homeward voyage from Waiwera, was[Pg 198] rammed by another coaster, the Claymore, outward bound, between Devonport wharf and North Head. The Kapanui sunk in a few minutes, five persons being drowned. The collision was due primarily to the Kapanui’s port light becoming extinguished, but the Court of Inquiry also found fault with the captain’s handling of the vessel.

Another coastal steamer, the Kia-Ora, while voyaging to Onehunga, was wrecked at Kawhia, on June 13th, 1907. Captain J. C. Blacklock and two passengers were drowned.

An unusual shipping accident occurred in the Calliope Dock on November 27th, 1906, during the docking of the Shaw, Savill and Albion Company’s steamer Mamari (7062 tons), which resulted in the death of two men by drowning, and the injuring of thirty others. The accident was caused by the vessel lurching suddenly while there was still six feet of water in the dock. This unexpected movement of the ship sent the water swirling in the dock, taking men and loose timber with it, and causing the casualties stated. The ship had to be refloated without delay, as the[Pg 199] position she had got into was extremely dangerous.

Another Huddart-Parker liner, the Wimmera (3021 tons), was sunk on June 26th, 1918, off North Cape, after striking a submerged mine. At the time of the disaster she was on a voyage from Auckland to Sydney. After the explosion the life-boats were lowered, and five of them got safely away. One of the boats (No. 4) was stoved in against the ship, and most of its complement perished. Altogether, ten passengers and sixteen of the crew, including Captain R. J. Kell, were drowned.

The city’s municipal progress in the last twenty years has been most marked. The Corporation’s motto, “Advance,” appears to have been kept in mind and lived up to, and in no direction was this activity more noticeable than in the city’s streets. In 1902 Auckland possessed only one paved street; there are now thirty-three streets laid in either asphalt, wood blocks, or concrete, as well as a large number of macadamised roads. The failure of a supply of good road metal retarded Auckland’s progress in road making, but the substitution of concrete has had successful results, and[Pg 200] the Council has given authority for a large number of streets to be laid in this material, and the work is now being proceeded with. Another project which has engaged the attention of the Corporation was the widening of narrow streets, in order to carry the increased traffic which now passes over them. The improvements are most apparent on the waterfront, where the co-operation of the Harbour Board was obtained, and the largest and most costly undertaking of this class of work was the scheme known as the eastern outlet. This work necessitated the purchase of all properties between Beach Road and Jermyn Street, the widening of the first named from 66 feet to 110 feet, and the laying down of a new thoroughfare, named Anzac Avenue, 84 feet wide, from Beach Road to Lower Symonds Street. The making of this new highway was commenced in 1915, and the trams commenced running on it in February, 1921.

Auckland, from the North Shore

Auckland from the Ferry Buildings looking Eastward
Showing the wharves, Quay Street and Kings Drive (recently reclaimed). Devonport and Rangitoto on the left

The opening, in 1910, of the Grafton Bridge, which is constructed in ferro-concrete, and is notable as having the longest three-hinged arch in the world, was another important undertaking,[Pg 201] which provided easy access to the Hospital and Domain, and linked up Parnell and Newmarket with the western districts of the city.

The provision of parks in, and adjacent to, the city was another feature of this time. At the beginning of the period the only parks in the city were the Domain (194 acres), Albert Park (14 acres), and Western Park (6 acres). In 1901, on completion of the reclamations, Victoria Park (18 acres) was leased from the Harbour Board, and has been formed into an excellent sports and recreation ground, containing a children’s playing area, which has recently been equipped by Mr. John Court. Point Erin Park, Ponsonby (12 acres) was acquired ten years later, and soon after the amalgamation of Parnell with the city, the Corporation acquired the Gillies property and “Kilbryde,” formerly the residence of the late Sir John Logan Campbell, which adjoined. These two properties united were opened in 1915 and named Parnell Park (9 acres). In the same year Myers Park (6 acres) was opened. This park, which was presented by Mr. (afterwards the Hon.) A. M. Myers[Pg 202] in 1913, was originally an unsightly gully, overgrown with weeds; it has been transformed into a delightful and useful reserve, where one was much needed. At a later date Mr. Myers erected in the park (which has been equipped especially for children’s play) a free kindergarten. The building, which was designed by Messrs. Chilwell and Trevithick, and built by Messrs. Johns and Sons, was formally opened by the Governor, Lord Liverpool, on November 15th, 1916. Its cost, exclusive of equipment, was £5666. Three other parks, which lie outside the city boundary, on the shores of the Manukau Harbour, were also added to the city’s reserves by the generosity of various donors. Cornwallis Park (1927 acres) was bequeathed under the will of the late J. Mitchell McLachlan in 1911; Atkinson Park (30 acres) was the gift of the late H. W. Atkinson, two years later; and Kaiterakihe Park (761 acres) was presented by Mr. Wesley Spragg in 1918. Waiatarua Park (156 acres) is another large reserve, undeveloped at present, which the Council acquired by purchase, with a view to the future needs of the city.

[Pg 203]

Another form of recreation which the city has made provision for is swimming, and up-to-date outdoor baths have been erected at Shelly Beach (150ft. × 60ft.), and at Point Resolution, Parnell (194ft. × 149ft.). The former was opened in 1912 and the latter in 1914. The Hobson Street Tepid Baths, which are indoor baths, were constructed at a cost of £10,673 by Messrs. J. T. Julian and Sons, and were opened on December 17th, 1914. There are two ponds (100ft. × 50ft. and 60ft. × 30ft.), as well as private baths, dressing rooms, laundry, etc.

Some large engineering works have also been carried out during these years. The Waitakere dam, which stores 220,000,000 gallons of water, was finished in 1906. Two other reservoirs are under construction at Nihotupu, the upper designed to contain 69,000,000 gallons of water, and the main dam 540,000,000 gallons. The smaller dam is expected to be completed shortly, and the large one in 1923. A comprehensive scheme of drainage and sewerage for the city and suburbs was started on 25th October, 1909, and the main outfall works were opened on March 25th, 1914.[Pg 204] The work of linking up other districts has proceeded during the following years. Electrical supply for power and lighting was taken in hand by the Corporation in 1906, and the first supply was given from Freeman’s Bay in 1908. Since that date the department has grown considerably, although the war interfered with the supply of material and delayed the development of the scheme. An idea of the present extent of the undertaking may be formed from the fact that for the year ending 31st March, 1921, 10,496,060 units were sold, the revenue being £108,734. The electric tramway system was inaugurated on 24th November, 1902, powers having been given to a company for this purpose. The City Council took over the concern on July 1st, 1919. There are at present twenty-seven miles of lines and 154 cars in commission. For the year ending 31st March, 1921, the cars carried 45,820,939 persons.

Other activities which engaged the attention of the Council were the erection of new abattoirs at Westfield (opened in 1909), and large new city markets, which were completed in 1917 and 1918.[Pg 205] The Corporation also entered the fish trade, opening markets and providing trawlers to catch fish, and, besides supplying the trade, it retails this food at its own shop. The figures of last year’s working indicate the extent of this business. The total weight of fish received from all sources was 1040 tons, the sales amounting to £49,758.

The provision of houses by the municipality was commenced in 1915, when six houses were erected in Ponsonby. A larger scheme of dwellings, to be erected on the old abattoir site at Grey Lynn, was proposed in 1918, but, owing to financial difficulties, it could not be carried out. As an instalment of the proposal, ten cottages have been built on this site up to the present.

The Town Hall, with the Sir George Grey Statue

The erection of the Town Hall, which commenced in 1908, was significant of the position which the municipality had now attained. The question of a Town Hall had been under consideration from 1880, but until this time the Council had not been in a position to do anything. Prior to the opening of the Town Hall, the Council’s staff had no settled headquarters, the first Council offices[Pg 206] under the present constitution being located in rooms over Messrs. Upton and Co.’s book shop, Queen Street. As the Council’s affairs increased, further accommodation was found necessary, and the old Magistrate’s Court, at the corner of High and Chancery Streets, was obtained to meet the requirements. After the opening of the Public Library and Art Gallery, the Council utilised some of the rooms in this building as municipal chambers, and here the Council’s work was carried on until the Town Hall was ready for occupation.

The foundation stone of the Town Hall was laid by the Mayor, Mr. A. M. Myers, on the 24th February, 1909, and the building was opened by the Governor, Baron Islington, on the 14th December, 1911, Mr. C. J. Parr, Mayor, presiding at the ceremony which took place in the large hall. The festivities connected with the opening continued for a week, concerts, organ recitals, oratorios, and the annual reunion of the Old Colonists’ Association being held in the new hall. The building was designed by Messrs. J. J. and E. J. Clark, of Melbourne, and the contractors were Messrs. Ferguson[Pg 207] and Malcolm, of Auckland, whose contract for the work was £87,565.

The building is divided into two portions, one being devoted to administrative purposes, including the Council Chamber, and the other comprising the halls, of which there are two, with a supper room and ante-rooms. The large hall has seating accommodation for 2700, and the orchestral platform and chorus galleries can seat 350 performers. The Concert Chamber has seating capacity for 880 persons.

At the opening ceremony the Mayor formally acknowledged two splendid gifts, which had been made to the citizens and erected in the Town Hall. These were the pipe organ, the gift of Mr. Henry Brett, and the clock, which was presented by Mr. A. M. Myers.

The finances of the city show clearly the present position of municipal affairs, and the development which has been made in the last two decades. The city’s annual valuation in 1901 was £349,765; to-day it stands at £1,497,095. The Council’s revenue at the same date was £1,077,047, compared with £82,657 twenty years ago.

[Pg 208]

The spirit of civic progress was not confined to the municipal authority for the Harbour Board also embarked upon a huge programme of work, which is still going on, and which has completely transformed the waterfront, making it one of the most up-to-date ports in Australasia. It even permeated to individuals, as the record of benefactions amply demonstrates. Some of these benefactions have already been mentioned, but others remain to be described.

Mrs. E. A. Mackechnie, who died on November 7th, 1902, bequeathed by direction of her deceased husband, to the Auckland Institute and Museum the sum of £2500, of which £2000 was to endow a library and £500 to purchase cases of animals. A similar amount, £2500 was left to the Auckland Society of Arts to erect a gallery. The Institute received also by this bequest the late Mr. Mackechnie’s library.

The Leys Institute was founded by the will of the late William Leys, who died on the 5th October, 1899. The funds available being inadequate for the early realisation of the testator’s benevolent[Pg 209] purpose, Mr. Thomson W. Leys, a brother of the deceased, and one of his trustees, offered to defray one-half of the entire cost of erecting and equipping a building, and to furnish the institution with a library, on condition that the Corporation provided a suitable site. This condition was readily agreed to by the City Council, and on the 29th March, 1905, the institution was officially opened by the Mayor, the Hon. E. Mitchelson. Mr. R. M. Watts was the architect, and the cost of erecting and equipping the building, exclusive of books, was £3234. The Leys Institute consists of a reference library and reading room, a lending department, boys’ room and recreation rooms. The course of winter lectures and entertainments has been a feature of its work since the commencement. The gymnasium has recently been converted into a large boys’ hall, probably the largest boys’ institute in the Dominion. Mr. T. W. Leys has been president of the institute since its inception, and its success is due mainly to his personal interest and benefactions.

Charitable institutions were also fortunate in the[Pg 210] assistance they received from benefactors. By the will of the late William Arrowsmith, who died in 1902, a sum of about £23,000 was bequeathed, in equal parts, to the Orphans’ Home and Mrs. Cowie’s Women’s Home.

Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Smith presented in March, 1907 to the Hospital Board a property at Russell Crescent, Ellerslie, containing over three acres and a two-storey dwelling, formerly the home of the donors, for the purpose of founding a convalescent home for women and children, which was named the Alexandra Convalescent Home. At the time the gift was made the estate was valued at about £5000.

A number of Auckland institutions benefited by the will of Mrs. Knox, widow of the late Charles Knox, both pioneers, who arrived in New Zealand in the ’forties. Mrs. Knox died on the 19th October, 1908, bequeathing £70,000 to charities, including £20,000 for the erection of a building for the treatment of poor people suffering from incurable diseases. This institution, which bears the donor’s name, is situated at Tamaki.

[Pg 211]

The Leslie Presbyterian Orphanage was opened on the 21st October, 1911, although the bequest of £3485 of Mr. James Leslie, the founder of the institution, was made known at his death on 15th November, 1888. For some years after the date of the bequest the trustees did not feel justified in erecting a building, on account of the small sum at their disposal, but with the addition of £1000 bequeathed by Mrs. Birrell, and the bequest of Mrs. Knox of £500, they decided to carry out the original testator’s will. The home, which is situated on the harbour at Meadow Bank, was designed by the late E. Bartley, the builder being Mr. O. E. Farrow.

The Auckland Exhibition of 1913, which was officially opened on 1st December, 1913, by the Governor, the Earl of Liverpool, was a striking proof of the commercial and industrial advancement of the city and province. The opening ceremony was attended by a most representative gathering, including the Prime Minister (Rt. Hon. W. F. Massey), members of Parliament, and mayors and municipal representatives from the[Pg 212] whole Dominion. On the Governor’s arrival at the Exhibition grounds, he was received by Mr. George Elliot, chairman, and members of the Exhibition Executive, the Mayor of Auckland (Mr. C. J. Parr), and others. In the evening the Corporation gave a banquet to the distinguished visitors, at which the Mayor presided. In this manner the exhibition was inaugurated. The exhibition grounds occupied an area of 48 acres of the Domain, and the cost of erecting the buildings and laying out the grounds was £30,000.

Generally, the exhibition was run on conventional lines, being principally of an industrial and commercial character. Special features were introduced as far as Auckland was concerned, the principal one being the engagement of the Band of the Royal Regiment of Artillery of 45 performers, under the command of Captain N. P. R. Preston, with Mr. C. E. Stretton, musical director, this being the first occasion on which one of the great regimental bands of the British Army had visited New Zealand. The enterprise shown in bringing out the Royal Artillery Band was repaid[Pg 213] by the financial success which resulted, due in great measure to this attraction. The amusements provided in the exhibition, while not new to Auckland, were on a larger scale than had hitherto been attempted, and occupied 15 acres, named Wonderland Park. The art section contained a collection of 600 paintings, etc., collected and brought out to New Zealand from London by Mr. John Baillie, formerly of Wellington. The illumination by electricity of the buildings and grounds by night was another interesting and beautiful feature.

The exhibition remained open till April 18th, 1914, and during the four and a half months of its life it was estimated that 870,000 people visited it. From the social and business aspects the exhibition was a great success, and after expenses had been met a sum of £21,758 remained as profit. It had previously been decided that any surplus accruing from the exhibition should be used in beautifying the Domain, and this sum of money has since been expended on improvements carried out on the outer Domain, including the laying-out of paths, flower beds, playing areas, and the erec[Pg 214]tion of the winter-garden, which stands on the site of one of the exhibition buildings. The tea kiosk and the bandstand, near the main drive, are permanent survivals of the exhibition.

The principal officials were: Mr. George Elliot, chairman of executive; Messrs. Bamford and Pierce, architects; Mr. E. A. Pearce, supervisor of buildings, etc.; and Mr. W. R. Holmes, manager. Mr. Holmes, it is interesting to note, had filled the same position in the exhibition of 1898-9.

Another banking establishment was added to the number of these institutions in 1913, the Commercial Bank of Australia opening a branch in Shortland Street in October of that year, but later the business was removed to premises in Queen Street.

The principal overseas shipping of the port was brought up to 1909 in the previous section. For the two following years Auckland did not receive much consideration as a port of call for the trans-Pacific steamers, but in 1911 the Union Company reinstated Auckland as the way port in the Sydney-Vancouver service, the Marama (6437 tons) taking up the run, and arriving at Auckland on August[Pg 215] 5th. The Makura (8200 tons) and the Zealandia (now the Paloona, 2771 tons) were also commissioned for this service. In April, 1913 the Niagara (13,415 tons) replaced the Zealandia, and the Marama was withdrawn in July, 1914, since when the Niagara and Makura have maintained the running between Australia and Canada.

The P. & O. Company established a service to New Zealand via Suez Canal in 1910, the Mongolia arriving in Auckland on November 23rd. With the sailing of the Macedonia, on April 12th, 1913, the service was discontinued.

The latest line of steamers to inaugurate a New Zealand service is the Canadian Government Merchant Marine, Ltd., the first steamer of this line to reach Auckland being the Canadian Raider, which arrived on 3rd April, 1920. The undertaking is interesting, having been created by the Canadian Government with the purpose of extending the commerce of that dominion. The steamers, which are designed to carry general and refrigerated cargo, number seventy, and trade to all parts of the world via the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, monthly calls[Pg 216] being made at Auckland, where the head office for Australasia is situated. The marine service is worked in conjunction with the Canadian National and Grand Trunk railway systems.

The inter-colonial service has been carried on regularly by the Huddart-Parker and the Union lines, while the latter has practically gained a monopoly of the inter-provincial and the Island services.

Photograph of Auckland taken from a seaplane, showing the City’s position between the two harbours, the Waitemata in the front and the Manukau in the background
W. A. Waters, Photo.

An industrial disturbance, which ended in a general strike, paralysing the trade of the Dominion, occurred at the end of 1913. The trouble began with the miners in 1912, but the strikes of the Wellington shipwrights and the Huntly miners, which took place simultaneously in October, 1913, brought out other trades, including the waterside workers, and for some weeks the commerce and industry of the Dominion were at a standstill. Even the city trams ceased running. After a fortnight, free labour became available and rapidly grew in extent. Within a month the city became normal. One of the features of the strike was the introduction of special police, who were enlisted to protect[Pg 217] the free labourers. The Auckland special police included over 800 mounted men, who camped in the Domain. Although feeling between the unionists and the strike-breakers ran high, there was no conflict at any time.

During the following years there were a number of industrial disputes, but in the war period strikes were not resorted to. The “go-slow” policy was, however, introduced during the later stages of the war, and caused considerable inconvenience. In 1919 the strike reappeared and coal supplies became so short that public conveniences, such as gas and electricity, were affected, and their curtailment became frequent. The railway services were also affected, only the briefest time-tables being carried out. In 1920 complete suspension of both trams and gas supplies occurred, owing to lack of fuel. On two occasions the trams ceased running—from January 31st to February 13th, and from September 25th to October 11th. Almost simultaneously with the second suspension of the trams the gas supply was entirely stopped, the period being from September 30th until October 14th.

[Pg 218]

Another strike, which was not appreciated by the public, was the butchers’ strike, which lasted from November 15th to December 6th, 1919.

The jockeys’ strike, which took place at the Avondale races on April 10th, 1920, was a small affair in itself, and would not merit mention if it were not for the events which followed it. On June 3rd the tramwaymen detailed for duty on the race cars refused to run the “race specials” and were suspended. The other tramwaymen, out of sympathy with these men, ran their cars into the depôts. The City Council, which had taken over the system from the Auckland Tramway Company, considered that the men had struck, and the service was not resumed until June 8th, when the dispute was settled.

Between the jockeys’ strike and its sequel—the tramways dispute—the railwaymen came out, on account of dissatisfaction with their conditions. The strike commenced on April 27th, and the dispute threatened to be a most serious affair. It lasted for less than a week, the men returning to duty on May 2nd. If the dispute had not been thus[Pg 219] speedily settled, the results, both economic and commercial, would have been disastrous to the community. This event took place when the Prince of Wales had just commenced his tour of New Zealand. He was then at Rotorua, but the men on the train agreed to bring the Royal visitor back to Auckland. This unscheduled hold-up of the tour was taken in a philosophic spirit by His Royal Highness.

The European War, which fell on the world with such suddenness, soon became felt on this side of the globe. The report at first brought consternation to New Zealanders, with which was mingled the usual display of patriotic ardour. Bands of youths and young men paraded Queen Street, singing patriotic songs and demonstrating. To many business people the idea of war spelt ruin, and many of them immediately curtailed their staffs. Within a very short time—a fortnight at most—these extreme expressions of the public mind settled down, and the true feelings of the community found vent. The New Zealand Government at once offered Great Britain its assistance, which was as speedily[Pg 220] accepted. On August 10th the first portion of Auckland volunteers for overseas service left for Wellington, to join the other units which formed the advance party of the N.Z.E.F. for the Samoan expedition. From this onwards there were regular concentrations of men for the forces, and at intervals the troops left for the seat of war.

The embarkations were usually made from Wellington, but in the earlier days of the war the troops sometimes left from other ports, including Auckland. One of the most memorable send-offs to outgoing troops took place on September 23rd, 1914, when 2000 soldiers paraded at the Auckland Domain, and were ceremonially farewelled by the citizens, the Prime Minister (the Rt. Hon. W. F. Massey) and the Mayor (Mr. C. J. Parr, C.M.G.) addressing the men. A similar event took place on the occasion of the embarkation of the Second Maori Reinforcements, on 17th September, 1915. This departure was an impressive spectacle, as the older Maoris and their women-folk carried out the ceremony in traditional manner. The Mayor (Mr.[Pg 221] J. H. Gunson) presided at the ceremony, which took place outside the Town Hall.

In the first months of the war a training camp for local recruits was located at Epsom, but as the Dominion’s military organisation developed, this camp was abandoned, and the Auckland recruits went direct to Trentham or one of the other concentration camps. The only permanent camp in the Auckland district was at Narrow Neck, Devonport, where the Maoris and recruits from the South Seas underwent their course of training.

Apart from the unusual number of men in khaki, and the economic conditions brought into being by the war, New Zealand was scarcely disturbed. The economic factors have been mentioned in another part of this narrative, and, although serious while they lasted, they could not be described as hardships, such as were experienced by people living nearer the war zones.

The most exciting event which occurred near Auckland during the war was the escape of Commander von Luckner and ten other German prisoners of war on December 13th, 1917, from in[Pg 222]ternment at Motuihi. They seized the motor launch belonging to the camp commandant, and then commandeered the scow Moa at sea. They were recaptured near the Kermadec Islands on December 21st and brought back to Auckland on Boxing Day, on board the cable ship Iris.

The discovery of a submarine minefield between North Cape and Cape Maria van Diemen was another incident, which was followed by fatal results. Shipping was notified on June 11th, 1918, to avoid the locality. Unfortunately, the steamer Wimmera neglected to observe the instructions, and became a victim, as related elsewhere in this section.

Apart from the number of soldiers which New Zealand sent to the war, the people of the Dominion entered with enthusiasm into the work arising out of the war and the relief of the sufferers thereby. Associations, in which both young and old laboured with good results, were formed. The dull days of war were enlivened from time to time by carnivals and special days for the Red Cross, Blue Cross, the Servian and Belgian relief funds, and other[Pg 223] patriotic purposes. In connection with the Belgian fund, Mr. H. E. Partridge presented, in March 1915, the collection of Maori paintings by Mr. G. Lindauer, to the Auckland Art Gallery, on condition that the people of Auckland district subscribed £10,000. The condition was fulfilled within a very short period. On October 14th of the same year the Auckland Queen Carnival, organised by the Auckland Patriotic and War Relief Association, was started. The respective supporters of the twelve queens worked with great assiduity, and by November 29th, when the coronation of Mrs. Bollard (Queen of the South), the winner, took place, the proceeds from this effort totalled £264,547.

The Auckland Patriotic League, which afterwards became the Auckland Provincial Patriotic and War Relief Association, was formed in the first month of the war, the Mayor of Auckland being chairman ex officio. Mr. C. J. Parr was the first chairman, occupying the position from August, 1914, to April, 1915, when he was succeeded by Mr. J. H. Gunson, who has held the position up to the present. In recognition of his services to[Pg 224] this and other patriotic endeavours, including the work which he did on the National Efficiency Board[29] he was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) in 1918, and in the following year was elevated to the commandership of the Order (C.B.E.). The Mayoress (Mrs. Gunson) was also made an officer of the same Order, in acknowledgement of her patriotic work.

The total funds collected by the Patriotic and War Relief Association from the 10th August, 1914, until the end of September, 1921, including interest, amounted to over half a million sterling.

The official peace celebrations were held on July 19th, 1919. A universal holiday was observed, and the city wore a gala appearance, bunting and decorations being everywhere in evidence. The official part of the proceedings commenced with a procession, which formed at the foot of Queen Street, and travelled to the Domain. In the procession the men who had served in the war took[Pg 225] pride of place. The official, consular and civil life of the city was also represented. Next to the soldiers, in point of interest, were the various local organisations which had taken part in the work connected with the war and patriotic endeavour. Many of these associations were represented by members who wore symbolic costumes and were conveyed in tastefully decorated vehicles, adding a picturesque touch to the procession.

At the Domain the troops, of which some 5500 were on parade, marched past the saluting base, Colonel H. R. Potter, C.M.G., officer commanding the district, taking the salute. At the conclusion of the military function the Deputy-Mayor (Mr. A. J. Entrican) read the King’s message, after which a salute of twenty-one guns was fired. The returned soldiers were then entertained to lunch by the Peace Celebrations Committee.

At night the city was transformed into a carnival. Bonfires were lit, and the spirit of revelry was abroad, but owing to the coal shortage only limited illuminations were permitted.

The welcome accorded to the soldiers returning[Pg 226] to New Zealand after hostilities had ceased was usually of a private character, being confined to relatives. The civic heads and other officials were present, and on behalf of the citizens welcomed the soldiers home. An exception to this, however, was made on the return of the Maori Battalion, numbering 1000 strong, on April 6th, 1919. The occasion was made a great festival by the natives, and representatives from every tribe in New Zealand were congregated at Auckland to take part in the welcome, which was conducted in accordance with Maori custom. The gathering was held in the Auckland Domain, and the day being a Sunday a great assemblage of the public collected there to take part in the welcome home. It was the greatest Maori ceremonial gathering which had been held in New Zealand since the Maori ceremonies attending the visit to Rotorua of the Duke and Duchess of York, in 1901. Native dances were performed, and speeches of welcome made by the chiefs of the various tribes. On behalf of the white people of New Zealand, the Maori soldiers were welcomed home by Sir James Allen, Minister for Defence,[Pg 227] Mr. J. H. Gunson, Mayor of Auckland, Hon. Sir James Carroll, K.C.M.G., M.P., and others. After the formal reception, the Maoris partook of a feast in native fashion.

Shortly after the conclusion of hostilities a French mission, representative of the national, economic and commercial interests of France, with General Pau, the famous soldier, who had served in the war, at its head, visited New Zealand, and arrived at Auckland on December 27th, 1918. The object of the visit was to thank the Government and people for the services rendered by New Zealand in the war, and to study how inter-commercial relations could be extended. On the mission’s return to Auckland from the South, the members were accorded a civic reception on January 24th, the Mayor (Mr. J. H. Gunson) presiding.

During 1919 and 1920 two distinguished soldiers, who were intimately connected with the New Zealand forces which had served overseas, were given cordial welcome to Auckland. The first to arrive in the city was Brigadier-General G. S. Richardson, who had held the position of Com[Pg 228]mandant of the New Zealand Forces in England, during the period that the New Zealanders served in France. He reached Auckland on May 5th, 1919, and his reception was in the nature of a welcome home, as he had been connected with the New Zealand Forces for many years before the outbreak of hostilities.

General Sir William Riddell Birdwood, who commanded the Australian and New Zealand Division on Gallipoli, and gained a great reputation among the troops under his care, arrived in Auckland on July 6th, 1920. He was given an enthusiastic reception by returned soldiers and the general public. The city tendered him a reception at the Town Hall, at which the Mayor (Mr. J. H. Gunson) again presided.

The Soldiers’ Club was opened on September 13th, 1915, in rooms of the Y.M.C.A., which were loaned by the directors. As larger numbers of repatriated soldiers came back to Auckland, the accommodation at the Y.M.C.A. became insufficient, and new premises for the club were found in Albert Street, which were opened on 20th October, 1920.

[Pg 229]

The most serious epidemic of disease ever experienced in Auckland was the outbreak of influenza, which occurred in October, 1918. The account of the epidemic given in the “Auckland and Charitable Aid Board: a History” is the best account the writer has seen, and he therefore makes no apology for quoting from it. “Influenza in a somewhat unusual form was prevalent in the city from the early part of October ... but the worst phases dated from a fortnight after the arrival of the R.M.S. Niagara from Vancouver, on the 12th of the month.... On the berthing of the vessel in Auckland, twenty-eight men were removed to the Hospital and placed in an isolation ward. Within a few days the disease was communicated to members of the Hospital staff. Simultaneously it spread to the community.... The insufficiency of the ordinary hospital accommodation to meet the demands of such an extraordinary emergency were early apparent. Temporary hospitals were accordingly established at the Seddon Memorial Technical College, “Kilbryde” (Point Resolution), the Sailors’ Home, the Avondale racecourse build[Pg 230]ings, Myers Kindergarten, the Y.W.C.A. hostel, Vermont Street schools, and St. Joseph’s schoolroom, Grey Lynn. The Auckland Racing Club’s buildings at Ellerslie were converted into a temporary convalescent home.... Rigorous measures were taken at the beginning of November to limit the spread of the disease. Business in the city was brought almost to a standstill. Places of amusement and worship, banks, schools, hotel bars, and many warehouses were closed; public meetings ... were forbidden; such facilities as the telegraphic, telephonic, railway and shipping services were curtailed, and all classes of the community united in the supreme work of meeting [combating] the scourge.... The visitation was at its height in the first two weeks of November.... By the middle of November it was evident that the progress of the disease had been stayed, and from that time onward it gradually diminished in severity until by the end of the month only isolated cases remained.”

The official statistics of the deaths for the Auckland registration district during the period of the[Pg 231] epidemic was 1013, or 7.57 per thousand of the population. The largest number of deaths recorded in one day was 56.

On November 8th an announcement of the signing of the Armistice was received in Auckland, which later proved to have been premature. Despite the epidemic, which was then at its height, the city went wild with joy, and never were such scenes enacted as on that morning. When the official intimation was received, four days later, there was no demonstration.

Sporting events have not found much space in these pages, as it would have been difficult to know where to draw a line on such a subject. Such an international event as the Davis Cup Challenge Round, which commenced on December 30th, 1920, is of such an exceptional nature as to justify its mention. The choice of New Zealand as the scene of the final round was in the nature of a compliment to the brilliant New Zealand exponent of the game, Anthony Wilding, who lost his life in the Great War. The games were contested on special courts prepared in the Auckland Domain.

[Pg 232]

The year 1918 was remarkable for the weather. There were three severe gales, the first occurring on February 14th, the next on March 18th, and the last on June 20th. In the latter the wind blew at the rate of 440 miles in 24 hours; in the two former the velocity reached 520 miles. The temperature during July was extremely low, and in the last week of the month it dropped to 30 degrees, which was the lowest temperature recorded for over thirty years. The severe frost which covered the ground was an unusual sight for Aucklanders. June, 1920, was another cold month, and on July 1st the thermometer at Albert Park registered 29 degrees.

Reception of H.R.H. The Prince of Wales at the Town Hall, April 24th, 1920

The event which opened this section of Auckland’s annals was the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, who are now the reigning sovereigns. It is fitting, therefore, to close it with the visit of their son and heir, H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, in 1920. The visit was the outcome of a promise made by His Majesty the King that the Prince would visit the Dominions as a token of appreciation of the spirit of loyalty and unity displayed by the whole Empire during the war.[Pg 233] H.M.S. Renown (26,500 tons) conveyed the Royal visitor on his tour, and arrived in the Waitemata Harbour on April 24th. The voyage from North Head was a wonderful water pageant, craft of every sort and size taking part in it. The Prince first set foot on New Zealand at Auckland, and was welcomed by the Governor-General (Admiral Lord Jellicoe), the Prime Minister (the Rt. Hon. W. F. Massey, P.C.), the Mayor (Mr. J. H. Gunson), and the Chairman of the Harbour Board (Mr. H. D. Heather). He then paid an official call on the Governor-General, and later made a triumphal journey along Queen Street to the Town Hall, where the Mayor and citizens formally welcomed His Royal Highness to the city and delivered to him a loyal address. In the afternoon a military review was held in the Domain in the presence of the Prince. The following day was Anzac Day, and the 1920 commemoration will be long remembered on account of the Prince joining in the service to honour the heroes of the Gallipoli expedition.

On Monday His Royal Highness attended the[Pg 234] Auckland Domain, where the school children of the city were marshalled into groups, forming the word “Welcome” and a living Union Jack, and as the Prince passed among the children the enthusiasm was unprecedented. In the afternoon the Royal visitor attended a race meeting at Ellerslie, specially arranged in honour of his visit, and at night he was present at an “At Home” in the Town Hall, where he was again received with enthusiasm. Thus ended the official part of the Prince’s visit, but owing to the railwaymen’s strike he spent a few days privately in the city.

[Pg 235]


The task which the writer undertook has now been accomplished. Its imperfections are such as inevitably accompany a first attempt to write a local history. Other hands, he hopes, will repair what omissions he has made. In spite of its shortcomings, he feels some little satisfaction in having had the opportunity of contributing a stone to the building of Auckland’s history.

Looking back over the brief period which comprehends the city’s career, no citizen of Auckland but should be proud of the progress—social, economic and commercial, which has been made; it is a record of difficulties successfully overcome, and of advancement, despite many handicaps.

[Pg 236]

Appendix I
The Name of Auckland

The City of Auckland is generally stated to have been named after Lord Auckland by Governor Hobson, but, as a rule, no authority for the statement appears in any of the books relating to the subject. As already shown from Hobson’s despatch, dated 10th November, 1840, the Governor chose the name himself. So far, so good. What was his reason for doing so? I exhausted every possible source of information at my command, and failed to obtain any satisfaction. Learning from Mr. Horace Fildes, of Wellington, that Dr. Guy H. Scholefield had, while in England, been given access by the Hobson family to the late Governor’s papers, and from these had written a biography (which, unfortunately, is still in manuscript), I communicated with him on the question of the naming of the city, and specifically inquired if he had seen any document or paper giving in Hobson’s own words his reasons for the name which he bestowed upon the capital. Dr. Scholefield courteously looked through his MS. and replied as follows:—

“I have come across the volume and looked carefully through it for what you want. Here it is, roughly. Having been idle for some years after returning from[Pg 237] the West Indies, Hobson applied to the First Lord (Sir James Graham), recounting his services and asking for employment. This was shelved, but in June, 1834, Lord Auckland came to the Admiralty, and in December he gave Hobson command of the Rattlesnake, with orders to proceed to the East Indies (the cruise which brought him first to New Zealand). Hobson wrote thanking Auckland for his patronage, and Auckland replied a few days later:—

“‘I am glad to know from you that your appointment to the Rattlesnake is so satisfactory to you, and can assure you that it was highly pleasing to me to give the service the advantage of having you again in active employment.’ (Private letter in possession of Hobson’s family).

“While Hobson was on the East Indies station Auckland was himself appointed Governor-General of India. Troubles with Burma for months, and even for years, made it seem that an expedition would be necessary, and both before and after the Australian cruise, Hobson had been instructed to be ready for this, as he would be senior naval officer on the station. Finally, Hobson’s time came to return to England, and the instructions were handed over to another captain. In his letters to his wife at this period, which I have copied, but cannot find just now, Hobson frequently refers in terms of gratitude to Auckland’s kindly interest. At one time he expected a naval appointment at Bombay worth £2000 a year, which he compared with a ‘factorship’ in New Zealand or a[Pg 238] governorship of Port Philip, which he surveyed. His conclusion was rather in favour of the latter.

“In my chapter on Hobson’s character, I refer to his frequent acknowledgments of the kindly interest of three men, Sir Lawrence Halsted, Lord Auckland and the Duke of Clarence. He has commemorated them and others in the nomenclature of Australia and New Zealand, wherever he had a chance. ‘Believe me,’ he writes to his wife in 1836, regarding the kindly interest of Lord Auckland, ‘many a valuable officer pines in obscurity merely because he has no friends to bring his merits into notice.’ The friendship of Lord Auckland was well recognised, for an acquaintance once asked him to exert his influence on behalf of his own son-in-law. ‘It would gratify me beyond measure,’ he writes to Mrs. Hobson in reply ‘to be the means of pushing his son-in-law forward, but to write to Lord Auckland, as —— wishes me to do, to ask his Lordship’s interest on behalf of another, merely because he befriended me, is so absurd a thing that I cannot help wondering how any rational man could propose it.’

“I hope that this may be sufficient to fix the responsibility for the name of Auckland. There can be no historical doubt as to its origin, and the reason for it.”

[Pg 239]

Appendix II
Population of the City of Auckland

Year. Population.
1841 1,500  (estimated)
1842 2,895  
1843 2,522  
1844 2,754  
1858 6,283  
1861 7,989  
1864 12,423  
1867 11,153  
1871 12,937  
1874 12,775  
1878 13,758  
1881 16,664  
1886 33,161  
1891 28,613  
1896 31,424  
1901 34,213  
1906 37,736  
1911 40,536  
1916 64,951  
1921 83,467  

The population of the City and suburbs in 1921 was 158,000.

[Pg 240]

Appendix III
Table Showing Imports and Exports at the Port of Auckland: 1853-1920

Year. Imports. Exports.
  £    s.  d. £    s.  d.
1853 253,926 12  8 148,724 19  0
1854 336,697 19  4 156,645  3 11
1855 358,540 13 11 146,593 19  6
1856 259,294  9  5 100,380  2  4
1857 314,327  6  2 81,052 18  4
1858 334,386  2  1 74,382  2 4¼
1859 399,972  0  0 72,012  0  0
1860 454,311  0  0 78,164  0  0
1861 591,468  0  0 57,673  0  0
1862 815,205  0  0 72,354  0  0
1863 959,219  0  0 195,228  0  0
1864 2,219,287  0  0 329,243  0  0
1865 1,842,416  0  0 292,802  0  0
1866 1,092,399  0  0 215,393  0  0
1867 777,667  0  0 291,557  0  0
1868 799,926  0  0 398,974  0  0
1869 1,357,326  0  0 736,086  0  0
1870 1,296,940  0  0 861,675  0  0
1871 937,655  0  0 1,601,763  0  0[Pg 241]
1872 1,190,008  0  0 740,234  0  0
1873 1,422,395  0  0 832,997  0  0
1874 1,546,438  0  0 633,656  0  0
1875 1,558,355  0  0 695,418  0  0
1876 1,232,881  0  0 674,003  0  0
1877 1,136,316  0  0 734,336  0  0
1878 1,408,823  0  0 544,112  0  0
1879 1,476,325  0  0 551,849  0  0
1880 1,242,871  0  0 758,271  0  0
1881 1,490,124  0  0 813,113  0  0
1882 1,911,606  0  0 975,301  0  0
1883 1,916,241  0  0 1,067,326  0  0
1884 1,978,945  0  0 835,424  0  0
1885 1,857,655  0  0 1,035,125  0  0
1886 1,720,898  0  0 581,881  0  0
1887 1,401,379  0  0 986,712  0  0
1888 1,403,664  0  0 933,958  0  0
1889 1,363,131  0  0 1,042,087  0  0
1890 1,385,959  0  0 1,237,600  0  0
1891 1,595,036  0  0 1,218,321  0  0
1892 1,642,686  0  0 1,214,878  0  0
1893 1,487,827  0  0 1,256,450  0  0
1894 1,562,434  0  0 1,174,920  0  0
1895 1,592,558  0  0 1,302,075  0  0
1896 1,960,570  0  0 1,276,035  0  0
1897 2,132,477  0  0 1,365,040  0  0[Pg 242]
1872 1,190,008  0  0 740,234  0  0
1898 2,187,128  0  0 1,676,152  0  0
1899 2,211,719  0  0 1,860,604  0  0
1900 2,617,329  0  0 2,068,361  0  0
1901 3,023,566  0  0 1,922,792  0  0
1902 3,087,460  0  0 2,091,016  0  0
1903 3,167,185  0  0 2,501,605  0  0
1904 3,248,163  0  0 2,512,938  0  0
1905 3,156,470  0  0 2,643,495  0  0
1906 3,591,342  0  0 3,168,927  0  0
1907 4,533,999  0  0 3,472,405  0  0
1908 4,671,295  0  0 2,900,551  0  0
1909 4,333,857  0  0 3,371,407  0  0
1910 4,741,326  0  0 3,960,655  0  0
1911 5,650,734  0  0 3,280,878  0  0
1912 6,398,533  0  0 3,381,938  0  0
1913 6,610,745  0  0 4,024,740  0  0
1914 6,548,880  0  0 4,062,530  0  0
1915 6,494,462  0  0 5,407,074  0  0
1916 7,362,778  0  0 5,894,787  0  0
1917 6,413,477  0  0 5,712,467  0  0
1918 7,217,732  0  0 6,022,514  0  0
1919 9,567,409  0  0 9,847,296  0  0
1920 18,732,082  0  0 9,383,603  0  0


[1] Known also as Toi-Kai-rakau.

[2] One-taunga (Mooring’s beach)

[3] Subsequently the first Maori king.

[4] The marriage of Kati with Matere Toha, brought about in accordance with ancient Maori custom, was designed to perpetuate the peace made between the Northern and the local tribes. The high rank of both Kati and Matere Toha, and their personal influence and worth, made the union a great success from the diplomatic standpoint. The marriage was one of the epoch-making events of local Maori history, and was a happy consummation to all the events that had gone before. Kati and his wife lived and died at Mangere. At their death they were interred in the old cemetery near by the venerable church which was erected by the Maoris on the Mangere hillside in those far-off days as a token of the advent of Christianity among their people.

[5] He was made an archdeacon in September, 1844.

[6] See Appendix I re name of city.

[7] Captain William Cornwallis Symonds;

[8] John Johnston, M.D.;

[9] Captain David Rough;

[10] William Mason;

[11] George Clarke, jun.;

[12] Felton Mathew. (Captain Rough states in his reminiscences—published in the Supplement to the New Zealand Herald of January 11, 18 and 25, 1896, that Mr. E. Williams, Native Interpreter, was also of the company of officials).

[13] “Poenamo,” p. 316.

[14] “Poenamo,” pp. 337-40.

[15] This house, known as Acacia Cottage, was built by the late Sir John Logan Campbell with his own hands, and was occupied by him for many years. It has now been removed to Cornwall Park.

[16] P. 157.

[17] At the Old Colonists’ Reunion, which takes place annually, the oldest survivor of the passengers by this ship is presented with a gift of five pounds.

[18] He was not made a knight until 1848.

[19] “Auckland, the Capital of New Zealand and the Country Adjacent,” 1853. Pp. 28-30.

[20] The gaol was moved to the Mount Eden location in 1856.

[21] Albert Barracks occupied the area bounded by Kitchener Street as far as Victoria Street, then followed an irregular line to Symonds Street at the point where Grafton Road now intersects, thence along Symonds Street to O’Rorke Street, and back on a line bordering Wellesley Street to the starting point at Kitchener Street. In 1871 the Barracks were transferred from the Government to the City Corporation.

[22] The actual area was 21 acres 1 rood 27 perches.

[23] “Further Papers Relative to New Zealand,” 1854. P. 243.

[24] Coromandel.

[25] “Auckland ... and the Country Adjacent” [Swainson], P. 87.

[26] Ibid. P. 89.

[27] I am indebted for much of the information in this section to Will Lawson’s “Steam in the Southern Pacific.” 1909.

[28] Originally The Auckland College and Grammar School.

[29] The National Efficiency Board consisted of Messrs. W. Ferguson (Wellington), Chairman, W. D. Hunt (Otago), James Frostick (Canterbury) and J. H. Gunson (Auckland).

[Pg 243]


Map of the City of Auckland 1921








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