Manukau Heritage Walk – Onehunga


This 2-hour walk takes explores the history and development of suburban Onehunga. This is one of two walks developed for the Onehunga Art & Heritage Walk guide to show the enduring heritage that continues to shape and characterise Onehunga today.


A. Pump House – 2 Spring Street.

Built in 1888. These underground sprinss still supply Onehunga residents with crystal clear pure water.
The first Maori on the isthmus, used the very same water supply hundreds of years ago, calling it “Te Puna O Ha”.


B. Waikaraka Park – 175 Neilson Street.

Vested in Council hands in 1881. Horse racing was held there in 1893. The stone walls were built during the depression years by unemployed men in the early 1930′s. American troops were stationed at the park during World War II. Now famous for car racing.


B.1 Waikaraka Cemtery – 1 Alfred Street.

The first burial was recorded here in 1890. This cemetery is a fascinating historical site, with large areas for Returned Servicemen and the Sisters of Mercy.


C. Railway Station Building – 38 Alfred Street.

Built 1873. Now a railway memorabilia museum. Entry free of charge. Telephone (09) 636 9361 for opening hours. In 1962 the Railway Enthusiasts Society Inc shifted the railway station building to this site (see 9 in Maungakiekie Walk).


D. Early Villas, 1885 – 1897

4, 6, 12 and 14 Grotto Street. Fine examples of early villas, all built by William and Thomas Kemp between 1885 and 1897.


E. The Grotto – 38 Grotto Street, vacant land.

The grotto is a sunken lava flow formed in a period of volcanic activity from Maungakiekie. Diatomaceous silts were mined from this area until mid 1954 and sold as an ideal abrasive under the name of ‘Grotto Maid’.


F. NZ Industries – 177 Grey Street.

The Kemp brothers built this outstanding home in 1887. The coat of arms over the bay window is described as being that of ‘NZ Industries’.


G. Emerald Hill – 16 Mays Road.

For their own use the Kemp brothers built this excellent example of a gentleman’s villa. Stone and finely pointed brickwork stand out. The rise on which this villa stands is a natural stone outcrop of lava from Maungakiekie.


H. Double Unit Fencible Cottage – 111 Victoria Street.

Built 1847. This double unit Fencible cottage is currently in the process of restoration and will include the original Kauri shingle roof. The only genuine survivor left in Onehunga. It would have been the home of two families with a plot of land for each.


Other Places of Interest

Dolphin Theatre – 12 Spring Street.

One of the most successful amateur theatrical groups in New Zealand, Founded in 1961, the theartre puts in 6 full length productions per year. Phone: 636 7322 or vist

Onehunga Community Centre & Library Mural at rear entry, 81 – 85 Church Street

Artists Manu Scott, Charlotte Graham and Nanette Lela’ulu came up with the concept for the mural. It has a map of Onehunga Town Centre as a background design. Young people from Penrose and Onehunga High Schools and Martin Hautus Pacific People’s Learning Institute then overlaid their own designs on it. Celebrating the installation of sculpture by Felipe Tohi on Onehunga Town Square.

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