Brian Hooker

new zealand


A plan of Auckland circa 1850




brian hooker


© 2002. The text that follows is copyright. The article was originally published in the Auckland-Waikato  Historical Journal, November 2002, No 80, and the copyright is held by the Auckland Historical Society Inc. The plan is held in the Auckland Public Library.  Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or review, no part may be reproduced without prior permission. 


In her book The Lively Capital – Auckland 1840-1865 (Avon, 1971) Una Platts laments the fact of the enormous gap in plans of Auckland from the 1840s to 1860. Felton Mathew’s pioneer plan of Auckland is well known. The original work now preserved in the Public Record Office, Kew, was lithographed and issued with a British Parliamentary Paper in 1842. Prints are preserved in many libraries including the Auckland Public Library.

Two early lithographers based their plates mainly on Mathew’s plan and issued prints without crediting Mathew or any other source. Both of these plans appeared in the 1840s. Thomas Bluett arrived in New Zealand in 1843 and without delay set up as a printer at Wellington and published a plan of Auckland. William Keller Baker set up a printing establishment in Sydney in 1835 and his plan of Auckland was not published until the late 1840s.

One problem associated with the dating of early Auckland plans is the fact that many of the street names were suggestions only. Many streets did not eventuate. Not a great deal of Mathew’s original layout survived. The purpose of this note is to draw the attention of students of early Auckland history to a plan that appears to have been drawn about 1850. The location of the original manuscript is at present unknown but the reproduction is from an old [Plan of Auckland circa 1850. Click on the thumbnail to enlarge.] photographic print.  It is undated and the cartographer or surveyor is unknown.

The c.1850 plan, reproduced here, is of the area east of Nelson Street. Again, it is important to realise that all the streets shown and named were not necessarily formed by 1850. That this plan predates the 1860 plan partly reproduced by Platts (p. 219) is confirmed by the number of street names present in the 1860 map but missing in the map under discussion. For example Commerce, Gore and Parliament Streets are missing from the c. 1850 plan. Also, further subdivisions are evident in the 1860 plan. On the other hand changes from Mathew’s plan are numerous including the omission of Ligar Stream around the Queen Street area.

In looking at early plans of Auckland it is interesting to notice that a number of historical street names have disappeared; names like Coburg Street, Chapel Street, Abercrombie Street, Edwardes Street, Kent Street (John Rodolphus Kent carried out the original survey of Waitemata Harbour in 1820), Jermyn Street, Duchess Street, Broughton Street and Eliza Place, to name a few.