Pukekohe History Walk

Enjoy a leisurely walk through the history of Pukekohe.

Pukekohe History Walk

Pukekohe, Auckland 2120, New Zealand

Created By: Auckland Council

Tour Information

Pukekohe is a settlement at the extreme southern boundary of Auckland. It is traditionally associated with food production and, once being part of the Franklin District, has been called the ‘breadbasket of Auckland’. This walking tour showcases various historic places that marked the development of the town as points of civic, commercial, and religious significance to its residents and the wider area.

The name Pukekohe is a shortened form of the Māori placename ‘puke kohekohe’, meaning ‘hill of the kohekohe tree’. Kohekohe (Dysoxylum spectabile) are a mahogany-like tree that are abundant in the area, especially on and around Pukekohe Hill to the south of the town centre. The hill was the largest and last volcano to erupt in the South Auckland Volcanic Field about 550 million years ago.

The wider area surrounding Pukekohe has long been inhabited by Māori. Europeans first began settling to the east and west of the present site in the 1850s, especially in the communities of Paerata, Puni, and Buckland. Settlement was disrupted by the New Zealand Wars of the 1860s, with some notable clashes in the vicinity of Pukekohe between Pākehā settlers and the adherents of the Māori King Movement (Kīngitanga) in their struggle to assert their right to ancestral land and address the trespasses committed by landholders and the colonial government. As the war moved south, settlement resumed and accelerated in the late 1870s with the arrival of the railway.

Despite some difficult early years, Pukekohe became one of the largest vegetable producing regions in New Zealand by the early twentieth century. With its good climate and rich soil, it comes as no surprise that the region produces one-third of all vegetables grown in the country. At first, market gardeners were European, but later years saw significant involvement of Chinese, Indian, and Māori growers whose descendants make up the fabric of local society.

Terrain: Concrete sidewalks on level ground

Starting Point: Franklin: The Centre (12 Massey Avenue)

Parking: A large carpark is located behind Franklin: The Centre on Edinburgh Street. Streetside parking is also available along Edinburgh Street and other nearby roads.

Credits: Thanks to the Auckland Heritage Unit for its Pukekohe Heritage Survey and building assessments. Thanks also to Manukau’s Journey for its carefully chronicled information and references. We would also like to express our appreciation to the Ministry of Culture & Heritage for their NZ History website and the wonderful PapersPast repository run by National Library. Tour created for Akl Paths and PocketSights in 2023 by Brian Jankuloski on behalf of Auckland Council.

Disclaimer: This walk is along public roads and includes historical facts about the buildings and the area. Some of the buildings are public in character, but many are private businesses. Please respect the environment and do not trespass on private property. Neither Auckland Council nor private property owners accept responsibility for any loss, damage, or injury to you or your property arising from use of this tour.

Copyright 2023 Auckland Council. Auckland Council holds all copyrights associated with this tour. You may not copy or reproduce the content of this tour without permission from Auckland Council. Auckland Council has taken every care to ensure that the information contained in this tour is accurate, but accepts no responsibility arising from, or in connection with, your use of this tour and the information contained in it.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

Pukekohe has a long association with libraries. The first library in the area was founded at Pukekohe East in 1873. The first official town library was opened on 11 August 1903 on Edinburgh Street. It held 780 books and had a reading room a... Read more
After the First World War, some residents of Pukekohe supported building a memorial hospital or swimming pool, but eventually the more conventional option of a memorial gate was chosen. Their memorial was unveiled by Prime Minister William ... Read more
The first fire service in Pukekohe was started at 1911, made up of volunteers storing their equipment in a shed near the Odd Fellows Hall on Harrington Avenue. Shortly afterwards, the brigade moved into a purpose-built structure across from... Read more
The Borough of Pukekohe was established in 1912, replacing the Pukekohe Town District. Pukekohe existed as an autonomous unit within Franklin County for many years until it became the leading settlement in the new Franklin District Council ... Read more
Methodism came to Pukekohe East in 1859 and became properly established after the New Zealand Wars. Services were conducted within Methodist Circuits spanning the Franklin area. In the early days, the Methodists used Pukekohe’s Presbyteri... Read more
The current school you see here was founded as an intermediate school in 1966 as part of the complex known as the Pukekohe Central School buildings. The complex contained Pukekohe High School from 1921 onward, and before that, a combined pr... Read more
The first Anglican service in Pukekohe was held on 4 May 1868, led by RevViscesimus Lush. Initially, services were held in private homes, at the Presbyterian Church, or at the nearby  school. The residents had also erected a temporary buil... Read more
The Seddon Memorial Lamp was erected in 1907 by the residents of Pukekohe in honour of Premier Richard Seddon who had died the previous year. It was placed at the middle of the intersection between King and Seddon Streets, a place called De... Read more
Frank Perkins & Co was a successful general store that relocated to Pukekohe in 1908, having purchased the store from Lees and McCowen on the corner of King and Queen Streets. With time, it became a meeting place for locals because of t... Read more
The Franklin Electric Power Board (FEPB) was formally established in 1924 after years of searching for a feasible solution to offering consistent electricity to Pukekohe residents. On 1 August 1925, the Board opened a power plant on Neilson... Read more
Cooper & Curd was Pukekohe’s best known car sales and garage company. It was founded in 1904-1905 as a partnership between blacksmith Henry Curd and coachbuilder Conrad Cooper under the name Franklin Carriage Factory. They specialised... Read more
Central Pukekohe experienced significant architectural change during the early part of the twentieth century as wooden buildings disappeared and were replaced with larger brick and concrete structures. The former Dilworth’s General Store ... Read more
With the rapid growth of Pukekohe over the past fifty years and its projected population of 50,000 by 2040, it was felt by city planners that the town needed a central civic plaza. They hoped that this space would provide a venue for social... Read more
The first newspaper in Franklin dates to 1912, started by Richard Earnes and William Cargill. Printing was done manually and the available equipment could not satisfy the high demand. The Pukekohe and Waiuku Times ran from 1912 to 1919, cha... Read more
In December 1921, cabinetmaker and joiner W.F. McClintock hired local architect and Pukekohe mayor John Routly to build a new store for him on King Street. The completed structure was a two-story brick building located near the intersection... Read more
Peter “Possum” Bourne was a widely celebrated Pukekohe-born rally car driver who won the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship three times and the Australian Rally Championship seven consecutive times. He earned his nickname after he crashed ... Read more
This mid-sized colonial-style cottage was originally built by John Martyn near the Great South Road at Ramarama in 1859. It features four rooms connected together via a long central hallway. The rooms include a kitchen, sitting room, and tw... Read more
The railway station at Pukekohe serves as the southern terminus of Auckland’s Southern Line passenger rail network. Beyond the station, the North Island Main Trunk line continues south to Wellington, where it serves goods trains, commuter... Read more
Franklin County Council was established 1912, in the same year as the Parish of Pukekohe. The new council required chambers, so it purchased two adjacent lots from Mr Roulston and hired L.C.A. Potter to erect the new building. Potter settle... Read more


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