Howick

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Howick is an early Auckland settlement with a colourful history that comes to life at the world-class Howick Historical Village open air museum.  Today, Howick has retained its unique character despite extensive new development on its fringes.

Howick is a mix of the old and the new. The main village has a traditional feel with a nod to its history as a Fencible soldier settlement.   It is surrounded by older housing, notably the historical homes on Selwyn Rd with the 19th century Anglican church at the top. Yet, only a few minutes further along the main road is the “new” Howick centred on the Meadowland shopping centre and the Asian shopping on Meadowland Drive with its authentic restaurants

A must for any visitor to Howick is the Howick Historical Village, which is actually in neighbouring Pakuranga on the edge of Lloyd Elsmore Park. The village is a living museum that recreates the colonial history of Howick. Explore the early settlement of Howick as it was in the mid to late 1800s. Open the doors of real homes and experience living history for yourself.  See how the early settlers would have lived as they went about their daily activities.

Better still, get along to one of the Live Days and interact with costumed villagers – perhaps chat with a Fencible soldier, or play an old time game of hoops with the kids. Explore the heritage garden, have a picnic on the lawn or relax with home-style food and coffee in our cafe. And ask questions of the volunteers on site. They love to share their knowledge of local history.

In the centre of Howick is the Uxbridge Arts & Culture Centre, founded in 1981, when the former Howick Borough Council purchased the Uxbridge Presbyterian Church and associated buildings. The Council facilitated the establishment of the Uxbridge Community Projects, an incorporated society, to operate the facilities for the community, providing arts and cultural activities. Uxbridge now attracts more than 100,000 visitors annually to its exhibitions, classes, programmes and events and more.

Nearby is the Emilia Maud Nixon Garden of Memories, a unique reserve situated in a garden setting. The garden was established by Emilia Maud Nixon (1870-1962) to promote goodwill between all peoples by fostering understanding of the early settlers, pioneer women and the traditions of Maori, particularly Ngai Tai.

On the corner of Selwyn Rd is All Saints Church, the second oldest church in New Zealand and oldest building in the Manukau area. Every first and third Saturday of the month, 9am-1pm, is ‘Classy Crafts’ Market inside the All Saints Church Hall.  

Howick Village Markets in the Picton Street are on every Saturday 8am-12.30pm for fresh food, plants and original gifts. And while you are there, discover the history of Picton Street and nearby historical landmarks with the Howick Local Board’s free interactive walking app, Howick’s Heritage. Search “Howick’s Heritage” in your app store.

The Polish Heritage Trust Museum is open Tuesday-Friday 10am-4pm, Sunday 12pm-5pm. It was established by one of the original Polish refugees who arrived in New Zealand.

At the top of Howick Village is the Stockade Hill reserve, site of a stockade probably built in 1862, for defence of homesteaders against the perceived Maori threat during the New Zealand Wars.

Howick is just minutes for a number of picturesque swimming beaches including Mellons Bay, Howick Beach and Cockle Bay.  And separating Howick from rural Whitford is the Mangemangeroa Reserve with its many walking tracks, boardwalk, and fantastic views of the Whitford Estuary. It is steep in places so some level of fitness is required.

 

History

Howick  developed slowly on land formerly occupied by the Ngai Tai tribe. They had lived there for around 300 years with pa (fortified villages) at Ohuia Rangi (Pigeon Mountain), Te Waiarohia (Musick Point) and Tuwakamana (Cockle Bay).)

The Howick, Pakuranga, and Whitford areas were part of the Fairburn claim. William Thomas Fairburn, with his wife and family, established a Church Missionary Society Mission Station at Maraetai in 1836. The local Maori insisted the Fairburns buy the 40,000 acres (162 km²) between the Tamaki and Wairoa Rivers to prevent attack by the Ngapuhi and Waikato tribes. As an act of Christian peacemaking, Fairburn reluctantly bought the land with his life savings.

European settlement began in 1847 when three companies of the Royal New Zealand Fencibles were assigned to a defence post in Howick. They were retired soldiers enlisted to serve for seven years in exchange for a cottage and an acre of land. Howick was the largest of the Fencible settlements, with 804 people in three companies in 1848. All Saints (Anglican) Church was built in 1847 and is Auckland’s oldest church. Other old buildings are now in Howick Historical Village.

After the 1860s New Zealand wars, cropping became the main activity, with wheat and oats the major exports. In 1952 Howick became a borough, after which it and Bucklands Beach experienced rapid growth, becoming affluent commuter suburbs of Auckland. From the 1980s new migrants started arriving and today the suburb very much reflects the multi-cultural face of Auckland. 

Find businesses in the area

East Auckland Tourism

Official visitor information site for the East of Auckland area, promoting our fantastic destination to local visitors and tourists.

The region offers a multitude of activities, everything from night entertainment to relaxation in the sun, fun for the family and stylish dining. 

Our association supports local businesses that offer products and services in hospitality and activity related industries.

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East Auckland Tourism

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