One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill known in Māori as Māungakiekie at 182 metres (597 ft) is Auckland’s largest intact volcanic cone, behind Rangitoto, and offers 360 degree views of Auckland.

One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill

Despite its name there is no longer a tree on top of the hill. The 125 year-old Monterey pine was removed in 2000 after being attacked by activists with chainsaws on two separate occasions. The stump of the tree remains and there are plans next year to plant a grove of trees on the summit.

Māungakiekie has significance to the Māori people as it was the largest Māori pa site in the pre-European 18th century.

On the summit is the grave of Sir John Logan Campbell and a obelisk that was bequeathed by Campbell. Campbell believed that Māori would gradually die out and the obelisk would be a fitting memorial. The obelisk was completed in 1940 but was not unveiled until after the War on 24 April 1948. During its construction it was suggested that rather than be a memorial it could be a centennial tower to celebrate the centennial year of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. At the front of the obelisk is a bronze statue of a Māori warrior.

Māori warrior

Māori warrior

One Tree Hill also has significance is popular culture. Irish band U2 wrote the song ‘One Tree Hill’, in memory of Greg Carroll, an Aucklander and employee of the band, who was killed in a motorcycle accident in Dublin. Carroll was part of a group that took U2 lead singer Bono to One Tree Hill during his first visit to New Zealand in 1984.

The gates are open 7 am to 7 pm winter and 7 am to 8:30 pm summer. While visiting One Tree Hill be sure to check out neighbouring Cornwall Park and the Stardome Observatory. Together One Tree Hill Domain and Cornwall Park form Auckland city’s largest parkland.

IMG_9365

IMG_9370

Views from One Tree Hill

Views from One Tree Hill

Christmas on Queen Street 2015

Queen Street is getting into the festive spirit with Smith and Caughey’s annual Christmas window display and the giant Santa erected on the corner of Queen and Victoria Street.

Smith & Caughey's Christmas window display

Smith & Caughey’s Christmas window display

This past weekend the infamous giant Santa, his two reindeer and presents were erected on the side of the newly opened Farmers store on the corner of Queen and Victoria Streets. The giant Santa had his origins with Farmers, from 1960 to 1990 the sculpture was displayed on Farmers’ Hobson Street store.

Santa on the side of the Farmers building, corner of Queen & Victoria Sts

Santa on the side of the Farmers building, corner of Queen & Victoria Sts

The Auckland Farmers Santa Parade, which travels down Queen Street is coming up on Sunday November 29th with a new starting time of 1pm. The rain date is Sunday 6th December.

2014 Farmers Santa parade

2014 Farmers Santa parade

For more pictures from the 2014 Auckland Farmers Santa Parade check out my blog post from last year.

Earlier in the month Smith and Caughey’s (253 – 261 Queen Street) unveiled their annual Christmas window display. Santa will also be in store in Santa’s Enchanted Forest from November 24th to December 24th. Check their website for more details.

This year’s display is inspired by Clement C. Moore’s (1799 – 1863) classic Christmas poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. The display features mechanical puppets and music.

IMG_0032

IMG_0043

IMG_0061

IMG_0064

IMG_0097