Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 11, May 1969

By Connie Harper

In Nov. 1968, members of the Waihi and Paeroa Hist. Socs. were the guests of the Auck. Hist. Soc. (president Mr. A. Smyth, Secretary Miss McCormick) who had arranged guides and excellent speakers for the numerous historical places visited.

Leaving Waihi at 8 a.m. we proceeded to Howick where we were welcomed by Mr. L. Dixon (Pres.) and members of the Howick Hist. Soc. Mr. Alan la Roche and others spoke and we were shown over All Saints (Bishop Selwyn) Church, which dates back to the 1840's; through the Folk Museum and the Garden of Memories developed by the late Miss E.M. Nixon as a memorial to the Tainui Maoris and descendants of Tohere in particular, and to the early settlers of the district. The whole property was left to the Howick Council in 1962, Miss Nixon's old home being turned into the Senior Citizens' Club Rooms. Also in the grounds is an old Fencible cottage which originally stood in Panmure. It was dismantled by members of the Howick Hist. Soc., re-erected and restored.

After a picnic lunch, we left for St. John's Theological College, one of the oldest in the Anglican Communion, having been built by Bishop Selwyn in l846. At the Melanesian Mission Museum at Mission Bay, Miss de Serville spoke and allowed us to see her very interesting home. We then had the privilege of being shown through Bishopcourt, the residence of Dean G.R. Monteith in Parnell, a lovely old home with magnificent views and beautiful gardens. Next the new Cathedral was visited. With its 88 foot high ceiling, huge pipe organ and glorious stained glass windows, it was most impressive and awe-inspiring.

On Saturday evening a very interesting programme had been arranged in St. Marks Hall by our hosts. Mr. Simpson spoke of pre-Maori days in Auckland, Mrs. W. McDonald on early Maori Occupation, and Mr. Cartwright on Auckland in the last 60 years. Slides were shown to illustrate the talks. The evening concluded with supper and our thanks.

On Sunday morning we met at the Auckland University, and were shown the remains of the old barrack wall, which at one time, completely surrounded the Albert Barracks. The old wall with holes for cannons, was built by friendly Maoris with scoria from Mt. Eden, and the barracks contained schools and everything required for community living. During a personally conducted tour of the new University buildings, we were shown over the Law Library, and were taken across Alfred Street to the Students Union complex, which concentrates all student activities in the one building, and has canteens on 2 floors. The large bookshop is in use and already has been expanded. A quick visit was made to Government House where a short history of the building was given. Its wooden blocks give the appearance of more substantial material, and the mellow old building looked very serene in its lovely setting.

At the Transport Museum members visited those parts which were of most interest to them. The old Colonial cottages, repaired and suitably furnished were opened for inspection and a ride on the old tramcar with its indicator, marked "Zoo" was a must. Proceeding across the City to One Tree Hill many points of interest were noted, including the new residence for the Governor General. After lunch at the One Tree Hill Tea Kiosk, the bus took us to within walking distance of the summit, from which we had a most glorious panoramic view of Auckland. Mr. Philip Williams gave a comprehensive talk and told us that Maungakiekie was once the largest Maori fort round Auckland, and spoke of the importance of canoe portages.

We had reason to be deeply grateful for our wonderful weekend.