Auckland History In Cornwall Park

360 Degree Panoramic View

The core of Auckland history and its relation to OneTree Hill in Cornwall Park.

Cows, One Tree Hill, Auckland
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John Logan Campbell interwoven in the history of Auckland named this beautiful volcanic cone with a solitary totara tree on its summit 'One Tree Hill'. 

To the present day the 360 degree panoramic view on top of the cone marked by an obelisk still calls for admiration. Though there are more places in Auckland with similar panoramic delights and harbour views. Some examples are MT. Eden and the Sky Tower Auckland. Both are included in city tours that are pre-bookable at VIATOR .


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Campbell left Scotland in 1939 as a surgeon and intended to become an Australian sheep farmer. Australia’s prices encouraged him to ship on to New Zealand.

The future business partner William Brown and Campbell left Coromandel Peninsula in April 1840. Their destination was Waitemata, evaluated by William Webster as suitable for a capital city.

From Waitemata shore they hiked up to today’s Remuera Road and decided to purchase Remuera including One Tree Hill. The land’s leading Maori chief denied their request. Instead Webster arranged in their names with another chief to buy today’s Brown’s Island.

kayaking at Mission BayThe thumbnail leads to e-cards of NZ beach photos.


In August 1840 both settled on the island. On a shopping spree for farming animals Campbell learned about the arrival of a British party. Soon tents rose up between the beaches and ships. The need for pillows and mattresses opened their merchant senses. Becoming Auckland’s first merchants was only the initial step towards the beginning of Auckland history. Some scattered tents developed into New Zealand’s biggest city, Auckland City.

The business partners Brown and Campbell bought a site in Shortland Crescent at the first land auction in 1841. This was the original location of Acacia Cottage now placed in Cornwall Park opposite the visitors centre. Acacia Cottage once home to Brown, his wife and Campbell became base for all future business expansions.

Their business covered land speculation, first newspaper, first New Zealand cargo produce, first savings bank and brewery. Activities that sure formed the foundations to Auckland history.

In 1853 Brown and Campbell fulfilled their dream. They bought the land around One Tree Hill. One Tree Hill itself was already a domain though the solitary totara was gone.

Campbell spent more than a decade in Europe travelling, getting married and raising children. When the impression arose that the company management lost efficiency he returned to Auckland. Leading Auckland’s commerce he helped to found banks, shipping company etc. and the first school of art.

In remembrance of his Mediterranean travels he planted an olive grove. He also sought to replace the totara tree with three pine trees. After an act of vandalism the last of the pine trees was cut in 2001. Today only the obelisk initiated by Campbell in memory to the Maori people crowns One Tree Hill.

Marae, Maori meeting houseMarae, a Maori meeting house as online puzzle.


In later years Campell became sole owner. His vision was a place for everyone to enjoy life and land.

Following his vision he donated 90 ha land around One Tree Hill to the nation. The occasion was the visit of the British Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York.

In honour to the Duke the land was named Cornwall Park. After he managed to clear his land of mortgage he donated a further 100ha land around the Park.

one tree hill One Tree Hill

Auckland history was very much influenced by John Logan Campbell who was also called the father of Auckland. At the age of 94 he died in 1912 as the last of pioneer personalities. Campbell also left Sketches of The Early Days in New Zealand. These were published by Kessinger Publishing in April 2009.

Today it is a meeting place for all sorts of recreational activities for old and young. Everyone enjoys in Auckland’s heart a farm with living stock, playground, walk ways, observatory, picnic areas, golf club, archery club, cricket club, a cafĂ© all nestled around the volcanic cone and three craters.


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