Howick 175 Update

PJ (Phil) Taylor, left, and Rev Dr Richard Waugh. Times photo Wayne Martin

Celebrating Together 1847-2022 / Whakanui Tahi Ana

175 chairman, Rev Dr Richard Waugh QSM provides an exclusive update to Times newspaper readers

2022 is a very special year for East Auckland with the 175th anniversary of the Fencible family migration scheme in 1847 and beginnings of Howick and districts as we know it today.

The purpose of the 175th community events is for the community to recognise and honour its history and to celebrate together the quality and diversity of life and cultures we enjoy in east Auckland.

By 1854, a total of 2463 Fencible family members had arrived to create settlements at Howick, Panmure, Otahuhu and Onehunga. Howick was always the largest Fencible settlement and the total Fencible migration almost doubled the settler population of Auckland at that time.

The first Fencible families arrived before Otago and Canterbury were established and the migration scheme is generally considered to have been successful. Today there are thousands of Kiwis who are descendants of the Fencible pioneers.

While all of 2022 is the anniversary year, the highlight 175 events will be in October and November. A charitable trust and steering committee have been working since 2020 along with the establishment of many teams preparing various aspects of the 175 programme and special events. Everyone involved are volunteers committed to community well-being in east Auckland.

Funding for 175 activities and events have come from the Howick Local Board, commercial sponsorship, donations and sale of 175 memorabilia. Please contact the 175 committee via the website if you are interested in assisting in any serving or financial way. Volunteers are still needed for key events later in the year.

Many organisations and businesses are already involved in the 175 year including Howick Local Board, Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki (Ngāi Tai), Auckland Council, Howick & Districts Historical Society, Howick Historical Village, East FM, East Auckland Tourism, Uxbridge Arts & Culture Centre, Howick Lions Club, Auckland Brit & Euro Classic Car Show committee, Harlequin Musical Theatre, Botany & Flat Bush Ethnic Association, East Auckland Ministers Association, Howick Village & Business Association, Times Newspapers, Bayleys, East Auckland Principals Association, Howick New World, Howick Photographic Society, Howick Volunteer Coastguard, Howick Sailing Club etc. Hundreds of people are directly involved with planning in one way or another for this special anniversary year.

A comprehensive website www.howick175.co.nz has much helpful information and resources. Stories of people’s association with Howick’s past and present are especially sought. The website has an extensive list of registered 175 events that is ever-changing and increasing in number. East Auckland organisations are invited to list their events, especially when they can be tailored to the 175 theme.

Fourteen 175 Ambassadors have been recently commissioned – all volunteers and respected community involved people – to promote 175 events; from different ethnic groups and age groups. Local east Auckland schools are also planning special 175 events.

Some key events later in the year for your diary planning:

Picnic event at St John’s College, Meadowbank

The first Fencible families were welcomed from the first two ships anchored in the Waitemata at St John’s College, a couple of weeks before they were landed at Owairoa/Howick Beach. A welcome was given by Bishop Selwyn with a feast for 300 people and games for all the excited children. On Saturday October 29, a public tour of the college’s surviving 1840s buildings (used during the 1847 Fencible visit) is planned and community picnic.

Community luncheon

On Saturday November 5, the 175 Community luncheon is planned at the Pakuranga United Rugby Club. A time to honour our unique history, our senior residents and with special entertainment and a free visit to the nearby Howick Historical Village. More than 250 people will be involved. A dedicated organising group is well advanced with plans, including from Howick Lions Club. More information on ticket bookings will soon be available on the website.

Community picnic

A large free community event at Owairoa/Howick Beach on Saturday morning and early afternoon of November 12 will mark the occasion of the arrival of the first Fencible families on November 15, 1847. There will be many family activities, music, games, food, and some tall ships anchored off-shore. Open days at Howick Volunteer Coastguard and Howick Sailing Club; plus live broadcast by East FM.

Commemorative plaque

Plans are well advanced for a special landscaped plaque in Fencible Walk (110 Picton Street) to be unveiled on the afternoon of November 12. The Governor-General Her Excellency the Right Honourable Cindy Kiro has been invited to unveil the plaque.

Civic service

East Auckland Ministers Association (representing 65 local churches) is working on a combined churches service on the late afternoon of November 12 at Howick’s All Saints Anglican Church. The service, open to all, will involve special liturgy, music, prayers and tours of the historic original 1847 church, built for the early Fencibles.

  • For more information contact the 175 organising committee via the website www.howick175.co.nz