Panmure town centre is central, conveniently located and easily accessible from all around the eastern suburbs of Auckland. Situated between two dramatic land formations, the Panmure Basin and Maungarei/Mt Wellington and alongside the Tamaki River, Panmure is a great little town to pop into.
Pop into Panmure as there's something for everyone.
Pop in for a bite to eat - fresh, delicious and affordable - tastes from across the globe.
Pop in for convenient local services - a check-up, to post your mail or to do your banking.
Pop in for a pamper - visit one of our hair and beauty outlets.
Pop in for a bargain - a range of quality clothing, footwear and gift shops.
Pop in for fun - visit the local library or for a drink at the pub.
Pop in for friendly customer service from local business owners.
Pop in, there's something for everyone. Panmure, a great place for you to pop into.
History of Panmure
The township of Panmure sits between two dramatic landforms; the Panmure Basin, also sometimes known as the Panmure Lagoon, a tidal inlet/estuary within a volcanic crater; and Maungarei/Mount Wellington which is a 135 metre volcanic peak.
Maungarei is the youngest onshore volcano in the Auckland volcanic field; ie: excluding Rangitoto, having been formed by an eruption around 10,000 years ago. It is the largest of Auckland's scoria cones and named by colonists after the Duke of Wellington. The mountain’s Maori name, Maungarei, is translated as ‘the watchful mountain’ or as ‘the mountain of Reipae’, a Tainui ancestor. She travelled to Northland in the form of a bird.
Maungarei is a site of archaeological importance as it was used in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries AD as a pa or hill fort. Evidence of terraces, storage pits and defensive trenches have been uncovered showing that Maori used this area over a considerable period of time. Other tribes also occupied the area from time to time.
Panmure’s proud heritage goes back to pre-European times when the Panmure area (or Mokoia as it was known) was home to the Ngati Paoa people, and was the largest Maori community in New Zealand due to the fertile soils and abundant fishing in the Tamaki Estuary and Panmure Basin.
Strategically placed for rapid access by canoe to the Waitematä Harbour, Hauraki Gulf and North Island east coast as well as 4km up the Tamaki Estuary was the portage that provided canoe access to the Manukau Harbour and the west coast. Settlement by the tribes in the area between the Tamaki River and Maungarei (Mokoia and Mauinaina Pa) became well established and was highly valued because of the easy access to good garden land, swamps and lakes, marine resources and many fresh water springs.
The inhabitants of the two Pa were destroyed in 1821, by marauding warriors from the north. Led by the chieftain Hongi Hika, the invaders had the technological advantage of modern weapons acquired through earlier contact with Europeans and decimated the population. The Ngati Paoa never returned to the area, where a thousand of their number had been slain and the land slowly returned to be covered by fern and manuka.
By 1838, a European settler, James Hamlin, established Waipuna Farm in the area and a community grew quickly over the following years. From 1848, many of the new settlers were Irish military pensioners who had been brought to New Zealand to establish a military base for defending Auckland. For many of the immigrant Pensioners, this was the best hope in providing for their families and after serving seven years in the Royal New Zealand Fencibles they would be given the cottage, land and household goods so they could settle down as a private citizen. Panmure, along with Howick, Otahuhu and Onehunga were the Fencible Settlements.
In 1848, the “Clifton” arrived in Auckland from Galway, Ireland with seventy five men, their wives and children and settled on the site that was once Mokoia / Mauinaina Pa. Life was tough for these early settlers who needed to build their own village, grow vegetables, breed livestock and build wells but they were fortunate as the land was fertile and close to some already established farms where some could obtain extra work and supplies.
The next 20 years saw the establishment of local services such as churches, schools and roads and in 1863 Panmure's first resident policeman, James Wren, was appointed. As Auckland grew eastwards, the first bridge across the Tamaki River was built in 1865 with train services coming to Panmure in 1873.
Business really started to grow in the 1890's and expanded rapidly in the early 1900's with businesses associated with the new technologies of the day being established (Telephone linesman, electricians, plumbers). After World War One, with a demand to improve the roads, much of the old lava flow surrounding the mountain was quarried for industrial aggregates and the large quarry to the north of the mountain once produced 7% of New Zealand's roading aggregate. (now the suburb of Stonefields)
Tamaki was still mainly farming and market gardens until the end of the Second World War and in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s saw the rapid expansion of the land around Maungarei/Mt Wellington for industry and state (government owned) housing. The land was plentiful, relatively flat, cheap and well served by road, rail and sea so was ideally suited for development. From 1949 – 1960 the population rose from a semi-rural 3,000 to a suburban 15,000.
Expansion of housing and industry grew hand in hand and the district of Mt Wellington was sometimes referred to as ‘the home of modern industry’ with leaders in nationwide manufacture and distribution of products such as Alex Harvey Industries, Fisher & Paykel, Mason & Porter (Masport), Dulux and Berger paints, British Motor Corporation to name a few. Over a four year period eighty shops were built in the Panmure town centre and twenty offices established.The town continued to grow and was busy and prosperous town that rivalled Queens Street in Auckland’s CBD and supplied all the needs of the local residents.
Through the 1980’s with the opening of cheaper land in East Tamaki and Manukau, industry slowly relocated and along with the increase of shopping malls and big block shopping centres the fortunes of the township of Panmure slowly declined.
Today, Panmure is a unique and bustling community which prides itself on its cultural diversity and strength of community spirit.
Download the Panmure Historical Walk Brochure here.