Cornwallis Peninsula, Manukau Harbour, Waitakere, Auckland, New Zealand

Cornwallis Peninsula | Proposed First Site for Auckland
Manukau Harbour


Almost everything of interest or value about The Cornwallis Peninsula will gradually be able to be found or accessed via these pages. Its pre-European history, the scurrilous deceit that caused the first boatload of settlers to migrate from Glasgow to Cornwallis in the unrealised expectation of it being Auckland's first township, already laid out & ready for buildings. The early settlers, the baches that later graced & were eventually removed from Cornwallis Beach. Who it was who formed & comprised the resident's group 'SCOW' (Save Cornwallis Old Wharf) to rebuild Cornwallis Wharf, the last remaining historic wharf of the original sixteen on the Manukau Harbour, & how it was done.

The Puponga Peninsula, or Cornwallis Peninsula on Auckland's Manukau Harbour has a fascinating history. Because of ready access to seafood combined with the ability to inexpensively establish viable defensive positions against attack, peninsulas around the world have long been considered ideal fortified settlement locations.
Google-Earth-photo-of-Cornweallis-Peninsula-from-3km-up Today, the appreciation for peninsulas is in the enjoyment of beaches, rock scrambles, walking tracks & headlands; for the small group of Cornwallis residents, the commanding water views & peaceful environment.
The Cornwallis story is already well told in books photographs & websites, but books go out of print, websites die & photographs are often difficult to track down. The intention of this website is to provide an online portal to redirect interested people to alternative established resources that will satisfy casual curiosity & serious researchers alike. The website group enthusiastically invites holders of old family photos, curios or memories to share both originals and/or copies. None of the material we receive will be retained. With the donor's agreement it will be lodged securely in their name with an appropriate library and/or museum on a permanent of loan basis for future protection & enjoyment.
The Cornwallis Peninsula Website Group is particularly interested in engaging urgently with people who can draw on memories that we may record as oral histories. Earlier residents; personal adventures; childhood holidays at one of the baches on the beach .. knowledge of who may have owned one, where on the beach it was, who may have been next door, who they may know who can tell us more & so on.

Order John Lifton's wonderful book 'CORNWALLIS' Signed first edition. $27.99 + post.

We recommend them not just for those living on the harbour's shores, but for all Aucklanders with an interest in the city's future. Also, take a look at the Friends of Manukau Harbour Facebook page as well.

The NZ Tourism Research Institute is gathering information reviewing recreation & tourism potential of the Manukau Harbour & surrounding areas. This initiative is by the Manukau Harbour Restoration Society with the support of the nine Manukau Harbour linked Local Boards. View it at NZTRI Manukau Harbour Online Survey.

Watercare's 'central interceptor' development includes a 13km underground tunnel to divert Auckland City sewage & stormwater to the Mangere treatment plant to be treated & released into the Manukau Harbour.
Read the NZ Herald article here about local opposition to it. Also here .. 'Bid to scupper huge sewer tunnel'

John M McLachlan

The 100 Year Gift 1910 - 2010

On Thursday 29th October 1841, after 301 days at sea, the longest ever sailing of a passenger ship between Great Britain & New Zealand, Lachlan Mclachlan & his son John arrived to Puponga Peninsula (Cornwallis) with a group of 25 other Scottish settlers from Glasgow on the 'Brilliant', for the unrealised promise of an established town. Their hopes were dashed. Nothing was ready. In trying conditions, Lachlan took a leadership role & eventually established a sawmill [ Photos ] & two farms near what should have been a previously laid out town. Nearly 70 years later in 1910 John M McLachlan gifted 1,927 acres of land for Cornwallis Park to the City of Auckland as a tribute to his mother Isabella.

How you can help with our website ..

In the first instance, by simply letting us know that you are interested. Our aim for the website is to provide primarily outline-information about Cornwallis & advise where & how more in-depth resources can be accessed. We plan to gather new, re-discovered & remembered information & deposit it where it will be permanently secure & valued.
Time however is short. The people with the freshest memories for vital historical information are always those who are the most elderly. If you have family members, neighbours or friends who know about what happened on the peninsula in their youth, we urgently need to hear about it. We want to hear about what you remember too. Do you know of photos taken inside or outside any of the baches on the beach or of the families who occupied them? We desperately want copies or originals for recording & secure deposit. Anything you have or can remember is another piece of the jig-saw puzzle of recent & distant history. We need your help. [Phone us now] while you're thinking about it.