On our final day in Auckland, we braved the local train in search of a landmark with the intriguing name of One Tree Hill. We
emerged from the station onto a busy street in a pleasant neighborhood and headed in the direction of the hill topped by an
obelisk which we could see in the distance.
When we reached the park boundary, there were signs informing us that the sidewalk was closed ahead so we climbed over a low stone wall
and descended to the cool grass under giant trees where herds of sheep were contentedly grazing. Visions of that New Zealand
movie "Black Sheep" flooded my mind, and if you have seen the movie, you will understand my anxiety. Although the babies stared
at us with interest, they moved away whenever we approached.
There are sheep everywhere you look in Cornwall Park. A brochure we picked up in the park states that there are also cattle, but
we didn't come across any.
The area was farmed by the Māori before the Europeans arrived in New Zealand. After a period of land speculation in the 1800's,
Sir John Logan Campbell emerged as the owner of what is now the park. His original intention was to build a large home on the site,
but in 1901 he decided to gift the park to the people of New Zealand.
The scenic views from the park are exceptional.
Another attraction in the park is the Tree Trail. There are plantings of both native and introduced trees that date back over 100
years. The olive trees in the picture on the right below are part of a grove planted by Sir John Logan Campbell. His efforts to
produce olives were unsuccessful because many of the trees were sterile, but more than 200 of the trees still remain.
When we saw One Tree Hill from the train station, it looked rather high and steep, but as we got closer, it looked like an easy
walk and the urge to climb to the top became irrestible. The views were definitely worth the climb.
Here are some pictures of the obelisk at the top of the hill. The inscription says
"This monument was erected
in accordance with the will of the late Sir John Logan Campbell who visualized and desired that a towering
obelisk should be erected on this site, the summit of Mauncakiekie, as a permanent record of his admiration
for the achievements and character of the great Māori people."
You may be wondering about the infamous One Tree. Back in the 1800's, a single tree grew on the hill. It had been
planted by the Māori to commenorate the birth of a boy called Koroki. Sadly, the tree was cut down in 1852 by a party of
workmen who were angry because their rations had not arrived, and attempts to re-establish a tree over the years have all
I'm not sure, but I think this is the remains of the tree.
The picture below is my favorite shot of the day. I took it as I was descending the hill.