Ōhinerau Mt Hobson: its creation and history

Dr Bruce Hayward at the Remuera Heritage 7th October 2022

Ohinerau Mt Hobson showing kumara storage pit with view of Rangitoto (RH Dec 2022)

1859 Hochstetter map of Auckland with its extinct volcanoes. (Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, Map 5694b Ohinerau)

1942-44 US Navy No. 4 Mobile Hospital (B Hayward)

High level reservoirs were built in 1900, 1935 and 2017 (B Hayward)

Orakei Basin Tuff crater (B Hayward)

Ohinerau Mt Hobson was created 34,000 years ago in a volcanic 'flare up'. (B Hayward)

Southwest side of Mt Hobson, 1898, photo by Boscawen

Ohinerau Heritage Talk 2022 Dr Bruce Hayward, geologist and marine ecologist, gave a hugely informative and also entertaining talk on the eruption and formation of Ohinerau Mt Hobson, Mt St John and the Orakei Basin tuff crater.

Ōhinerau Mt Hobson, Puketūtū, Taylor’s Hill (Te Taurere), Mt Richmond (Ōtāhuhu), and Kohuora at Māngere were created during a “flare up” about 34,000 years ago. Lava flows and scoria cones are still visible today across much of Remuera, Newmarket, Meadowbank and Ōrakei.

Although Remuwera on Ōhinerau was utilised as a pā with defensive ditches, terraces and storage pits, Remuwera is also remembered for having a noteworthy slope used to grow food.

James Dilworth attempted to buy Mt Hobson in the 1840s to add to his 300 acre farm between Mt Hobson and Mt St John Epsom but it took until 1880 for the top of the maunga to be saved. In the late 1870s a public debate had raged over the need to sacrifice the prominent landscape of Mt Hobson to build roads for the growing Auckland city.

There was also quarrying on Mt Hobson in 1877 resulting in much public furore so that the maunga was gazetted as a public domain in 1880 by Sir George Grey. There was also scoria quarrying on private property on the side of Mt Hobson in WW1 which can still be seen today. A large house was built in the upper quarry and the lower quarry was converted to a terrace garden, tennis court and putting green by owner Mr Enoch Bond in 1920s.

Between 1913 and 1916 there was much debate about whether Mt Hobson should be considered as a new site for the new University College buildings as Mt Hobson was away from the city centre and handy to recreational playing fields, railway stations at Remuera and Newmarket.

Bruce also spoke about the building of the three reservoirs on Ohinerau Mt Hobson and the hospital building in the crater for the U S Navy No.4 Mobile Hospital during WW2, which then became Camp Oranje for immigrants from Batavia in the Dutch East Indies.

Click on the full presentation below.

Ohinerangi Mt Hobson Ohinerau Volcano Talk, 7 October 2022