Kingsland Heritage

No more a swamp of Cabbage Trees

‘No more a swamp of cabbage trees,
Of slugs and other ugly things
Now Kingsland Road with none of these,
Is fitted for the feet of kings’.
Anon, 1877

Discover the realm of its ‘Kings’ as you explore iconic Kingsland sites in this interactive heritage walk. Click the QR Codes displayed at the sites for more information.

The Realm
In 1841 Apihai Te Kawau defined from the summit of Mangawhau what would become the largest Polynesian city in the world with a 3,000 acre gift of land to the colonial government.

After a public auction of Crown land in 1842, 110 acres near the junction of Dominion Road with New North Road was surveyed and offered for sale in 1844. 60 acres was resold to George McElwain, governor of Mt Eden jail, which he farmed and in 1852 gifted to his brother, John McElwain.

The Subjects
Thirteen settlers including John McElwain met in the Whau Schoolroom, now the site of Trinity Church Hall, to strike the first local government rate for the area in 1867. In deciding by 10 votes to 1 “that a rate of One Penny in the Pound for the Year be levied on the Value of the Land and Tenements to sell” a handful of settlers laid the foundation of Mt Albert Borough, which was to become the largest borough in New Zealand.

The Name
In 1877 the settlers of Cabbage Tree Swamp petitioned Mt Albert Highway Board to alter the name of their main road to Kingsland Road.
The new name related to Cabbage Tree Swamp Road running at the same angle to New North Road as did London’s Kingsland Road to New North Road.


Fitted for the feet of kings
Who were the ‘kings’ whose footprints were stamped into the scoria, the early movers and shakers whose actions influenced settlement in Kingsland?

King of Land
As the grandson of Tuperiri who had led Ngāti Whātua in its conquest of the Auckland isthmus, Āpihai Te Kawau became a very important leader. After signing the Treaty of Waitangi Āpihai made land available for settlement on Waitematā Harbour in 1841.

Picture: Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 7-C70

King of the Borough
Leonard E. Rhodes was Mayor of Mt Albert Borough Council, from 1923-1931. When the district’s population passed 20,000 in 1930, it was New Zealand’s largest borough.

Photo: Auckland Central Library Research Centre, Family History Collection.

King of Commerce
Arthur Page grew up in Auckland, after his family came to New Zealand on the sailing ship Portland in 1864 when he was one year old. When he was 22 he started in business as a grocer and general merchant in Kingsland.

Photo: Auckland Central Library Research Centre, Family History Collections

King of the Dominion
George V was King from 1910 to 1936 and oversaw major transformation within the British Empire. In 1907 the colony of New Zealand ceased to exist and became a Dominion, wanting a distinct status that would not confuse it with lesser “colonies”.

Photo: Auckland Central Library Research Centre

King of Property
Born in County Louth, Ireland, John McElwain reached New Zealand in 1848 and in 1852 he bought 55 acres at Kingsland. He was one of 13 settlers who met on 8th January 1867 to strike the first local government rate for the Mt Albert District Board.

Photo: Auckland Central Library Research Centre, Family History Collections

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