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RODNEY TIMES, MARCH 20, 2012
Focus On: Whangaparaoa Peninsula
Recent history: The Gulf Harbour development started in the 1970s.
Whangaparaoa means 'the bay of the whale'
as whales frequently stranded on the peninsula, providing a
major resource for Ngati Kahu.
There are five pa sites in the Shakespear Regional Park.
When the first settlers arrived in 1820, Ngati Kahu occupied
the peninsula, including the park, in particular sheltered Te
Haruhi Bay. The early settlers relied on timber, kauri gum
and sale of fruit to make a living. Some operated guest
houses on the waterfront - such as the Arkles at Arkles
Bay. Dairy farming became a profitable option during
the early 20th century, especially as roads improved and
electricity was installed.
"From their European inception in the 1840s-1850s until
the building boom of the 1960s the series of settlements
on or near the Whangaparaoa Peninsula had separate
identities," writes Robin Grover in Why the Hibiscus? Place
Names of the Hibiscus Coast. Once the roads improved
people started camping in the area during the summer.
"The first baches were built at Red Beach and Manly in
the 1920s and after the Second World War more and more
land was cut up for holiday housing. In the early 1960s a group of businessmen from
Whangaparaoa and Orewa decided the district needed an inclusive name. With the idea
of giving the area a brighter image and to capitalise on the most obvious local attractions,
the beaches and the holiday atmosphere, they chose the exotic hibiscus as their symbol."
The name Hibiscus Coast became an offical title in 1971.
Auckland storeowner Findlay McMillan, from Scotland, became the first pakeha owner of
what is now the Shakespear Regional Park in 1854.
In the same year fellow Scot Duncan Campbell purchased a block of land at Hobbs Bay
with a grazing licence at Te Haruhi Bay. The men grazed sheep and pigs. But both men
had moved on by 1859. In 1866 Auckland timber trader and sea captain Ranulph Dacre
bought land adjoining Hobbs Bay and in 1868 the western edge of Okoromai Bay, including
McMillan's allotments at Army Bay. His son Charles Craven Dacre settled on the land and
built a home at Hobbs Bay. But when his sheep got scab he moved to Auckland in 1871.
In the 1880s Sir Robert Hamilton, Baronet of Stratford on Avon, War wickshire, England,
bought the entire eastern end of the peninsula except for the high country adjoining the
northern and eastern coastline of the block. His grandson Robert Henry Anson Shakespear
and wife Blanche moved into the old Dacre homestead in 1882. When they moved to Little
Barrier Island in 1897 the land remained idle until it was leased to Everard Hobbs, who
moved into the Dacre home and it was known as the Hobbs Homestead. Hobbs eventually
owned 404.7 hectares (1000 acres) from Hobbs Bay to Fishermans Rock. His son Jack
was born in 1907 and took over the farm from his father in the 1940s.
The Shakespear family returned to the peninsula in 1909 to farm the land. All the family's
land was eventually bought by the former Auckland Regional Authority and the park was
offically opened in 1977.
Army Bay was named after the NZ Army which purchased 130 hectares (321 acres) off
the Shakespear family in 1939 after the outbreak of World War Two. They developed a
military camp in the area. The navy took it over in 1999.
Information: www.arc.govt.nz and Why The Hibiscus? by Robin Grover
Arkles Bay was originally settled by William
Laing Thorburn and his family who came to New
Zealand on the Duchess of Argyle in 1842, historian Robin Grover says in
her book Why the Hibiscus? Place Names of the Hibiscus Coast.
They lived there for about 20 years. Scottish settler George Arkle moved into the area in 1878
with his brother and their young families. Andrew Arkle ran a guest house on the bay.
Red Beach was named after the colour
of the shells often washed up on the
beach. It was purchased by Joseph
Bayes in 1886. The southern part
of Red Beach was subdivided by his
Stanmore Bay was named by the Hill
family who came from Great Stanmore
in England. But its earliest settlers
were the Granville family who settled
in the 1850s. It was also called Oyster
Bay in the first half of the 20th century.
It's Leisure Centre is a big asset to the
Development of Gulf Harbour started
in the 1970s. It boasts a world-class
golf course and hosted the 1998 World
Cup of Golf and the NZ Open in 2005
and 2006. There's a ferry ser vice to
Tiri Tiri Matangi Island bird sanctuary
from the marina.
Historians believe Hongi Hika carried
his war canoes across the portage
between Tindalls Beach and Matakatia
Bay when he brought his great fleet
south to Te Tamaki Makaurau in 1821.
The beach is named after William
Tindall whose land extended across
the narrow neck of the peninsula.
Big Manly Beach and Little Manly Beach were renamed in 1923 when the area was subdivided.
Big Manly Beach was previously known as Polkinghorne's Bay after the Polkinghorne family
who settled in the area from the 1850s. The subdividers thought the two beaches were similar
to Sydney's Manly beach, writes Grover.
Fifty years ago: Red Beach is at the top of the picture.
Photo: CHANGING TIMES
Sea captain: Ranulph Dacre was also a
Stanmore Bay: Named after Great Stanmore in England.
719 Whangaparaoa Road, Whangaparaoa
Ph 09 424 4100 Fax 09 424 7500
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