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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69

The Settlement of Auckland

The Settlement of Auckland.

The town of Auckland has a history distinct from that of the settlement of the district, and the proclamation of the colony within its bounds. Governor Hobson was landed at the Bay of Islands, and originally intended to fix his capital at the spot now occupied by the town of Russell. The site was, however, found unsuitable, and he finally chose a site for his chief town on the right bank of the Waitemata River, a spot which in 1769 Captain Cook had pointed out as a good place for a European settlement Under the Governor's instructions, Captain W. Symonds, the Surveyor-General, purchased the land from the natives, no difficulty being experienced in the transaction. On Tuesday, 15th September, 1840, the barque Anna Watson having on board several officers of the Government, mechanics, labourers, etc., anchored in Waitemata harbour. The Surveyor-General proceeded to select the site for the intended settlement on its shores, and on Friday, the 18th September, the ceremony of taking possession in the name of Her Majesty was duly performed. The whole party having landed, the British flag was hoisted on a staff erected on a bold promontory commanding a view of the whole harbour (afterwards crowned with Fort Britomart), and the flag was immediately saluted with 21 guns from the Anna Watson, followed by a further salute of 15 guns from the barque Platina, which, together with the Planter, were likewise lying at anchor in the harbour. Her Majesty's health was drunk at the foot of the flagstaff and greeted with three times three hearty cheers. The Anna Watson then fired a salute of seven guns in honour of the Governor, and luncheon was done justice to on board. In the afternoon was held the first regatta which ever took place on the waters of the Waitemata, particulars of which are given elsewhere.

The first sale of Crown lands in the new town took place in April, 1841, when town sections sold at an average of £525 per acre. Meanwhile the most frantic indignation had been aroused in Wellington by the foundation of Auckland, the Wakefields and other agents of the New Zealand Association asserting the Governor should have established his capital there. The early volumes of the reports of the New Zealand Association are mainly taken up with these squabbles and charges against Governor Hobson. The latter was worn out with the weight of care and the persistent calumny of his enemies, and died on the 10th September, 1842, aged forty-nine years. His body lies in Auckland cemetery, and in St. Paul's Church, lately demolished, stood a marble tablet to his memory. The town of Auckland will, as Thompson remarks in his "Story of New Zealand," better perpetuate his fame than a pillar of stone or a statue of brass.