Friday, April 9, 2010

Awhitu Regional Park

Once again, I decided to put on my Panoramio contributor hat for Google Earth and went out to places to take photos. Usually, I will do some research on Google Earth regarding the location of the place and finds that there is hardly any photos describing the place. Yeah, sounds like an adventure for my natural exploration instinct like Christopher Columbus. I began packing and set sail on the road with a car instead.

Awhitu Regional Park, this is the name of the place which I am going to share with everyone for today. “On the south west shores of the Manukau Harbour, Awhitu Regional Park is a peaceful retreat. It has tranquil bays, rolling pastures and a rich history.” It is a transformed wetlands lie behind the park's two long, sandy beaches. The Kauritutahi Beach and Brook Beach that provides a wonderful habitat for the rare fernbird (matata) and banded rail (moho pereru).

I will share with you about the history of Awhitu and how the Awhitu Regional Park came about. Of course, the history is taken from a reliable source and I totally recognize their research efforts.

Awhitu History
Traditionally, the park's location was named Kauritutahi, so named for the single kauri tree which stood on the small islet of the park. Both the Awhitu Peninsula and the park take their names from the pre-European Maori settlement of Awhitu, which was located at the western end of Orua Bay to the north of the park. It was named because of the 'yearning' (awhitu) felt by Hoturoa, the commander of the Tainui canoe (waka), when he left the district.

The Ngāti Te Ata and Ngāti Kahukoka people originally occupied the Awhitu Peninsula. Their descendents still maintain strong links to this land, with marae located in and around Waiuku. The large waka Toki-a-Tapiri, which now rests at the Auckland Museum, came from this area.

Evidence from middens on the park indicates Māori used the local area extensively for fishing and resource gathering. English immigrants John and Sarah Brook built the Brook homestead, originally called Brook Haven, in 1878. It remains a central feature of the park. The family added the bach in front of the homestead in 1907. The old jetty, which remains at Kauritutahi Bay, was also built by the Brook family.

It was a lifeline to the outside world when this far-flung place had no roads. Basic supplies and visitors came in across these boards and kauri posts and farm products went out. In 1971, John Brook's grandson Fred sold his land to the ARC. Awhitu Regional Park was officially opened in 1975 and continues to operate as a working farm.

Above is an image of the Kauritutahi island a distant away from the shore of Kauritutahi beach and Brook beach.

For those that are interested in find out the location of this enchanted and unspoiled park near the beach in Auckland, check out the Panoramio embedded map that is integrated with Google map above.

Auckland Regional Council. (n.d.). Awhitu. Retrieved on April 9, 2010 from

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