Puketapapa boasts one of Auckland’s most diverse neighbourhoods. At a recent community forum, Puketapapa Local Board gave an opportunity to the community to share their history and connection to the land.

Puketapapa’s Maori population ranks 17th in size out of the 21 Auckland local boards. The early stories offer a snapshot of the influences of the intermingling of tribes, migration, inter-marriage and battles.

“Since the migration of the great waka till today, there have been many tiers of history that have defined Maori occupation in different periods in Puketapapa. It is quite complex, there are 19 different iwi that have influenced the fabric of this community, right up to European colonization,” said Dean Martin, Principal Advisor Maori Relations & Governance, Auckland Council.

A sketch from the 1860s by Dr Kinder of the Three Kings volcanic crater, Auckland, with (extreme right) Te Toka-tu-Whenua, the Kumara god in its original location (later transferred to Cornwall Park). Photo courtesy: 'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-1194.

Ngati Whatua is said to have had mana over the land at Puketapapa at the time of European colonisation. Around the 1840s, majority of the land in the Puketapapa area was purchased from Ngati Whatua and Ngati Whatua o Orakei.

To give a sense of the history of the time, Mr Martin referenced research by Maurice Alemann from a report called Early Land Transactions in the Ngati Whatua Tribal Area.

“We have, for example, korero that went: 30-acre block called Te Onepi sold in 1844 for a total value of a double-barreled gun, 7 blankets, one cloak, one gown, two pounds,” said Mr Martin. Today an estimated 2853 Maori live in the Puketapapa Local Board area.

Interludes of immigration and settlement since then have shaped the area with changing times.

The Puketapapa Local Board area has a 63,000-resident population with 44 per cent Asian, 38 per cent European, 16 per cent Pacific and 6 per cent Maori.

“Our diversity makes us unique and it is our greatest strength,” says Harry Doig, Chair, Puketapapa Local Board. “In celebrating our heritage and looking to the past we can see what made this area so attractive to settlers. As a board, we acknowledge the resilience and open-heartedness of our communities.”

The forum ended with representatives from organisations – Miriam Hartmann from the Friends of Te Tatua-a-Riukiuta (Big King), Agnes Granada from Earth Action Trust and Shabana Firdous from the WISE Women’s group within Auckland Regional Migrant Services (ARMS) Charitable Trust – introducing their work in supporting recent migrants.

The next Community Forum is on Wednesday 7 November 2018 from 6.30pm-8pm at the YMCA at Lynfield Youth & Leisure Centre. More details here

Join us in celebrating Puketapapa’s heritage at the Mt Roskill Municipal Chambers Open Day on October 13 Saturday from 10am-2pm at 560 Mt Albert Rd, (cnr Mt Albert/Mt Eden roads), Three Kings. More details here. An iconic photo from the 1950s will be recreated on the day at 10 am.