Part of eastern Otahuhu from the air
|Train station(s)||Otahuhu Train Station|
|Northeast||(Tamaki River), Pakuranga|
|East||(Tamaki River), East Tamaki|
|Southwest||Favona, Mangere East|
Otahuhu is a suburb of Auckland 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) to the southeast of the city centre, on a narrow isthmus between an arm of the Manukau Harbour to the west and the Tamaki River estuary to the east. The isthmus is the narrowest connection between the North Auckland Peninsula and the rest of the North Island, being only some 1200 metres wide at its narrowest point, between the Otahuhu Creek and the Mangere Inlet. As the southernmost suburb of the former Auckland City it is considered part of South Auckland.
The suburb's name is taken from the Māori name of a volcanic cone also known as Mount Richmond. The name refers to eating uncooked huhu grubs. In colloquial speech locals typically shorten the name to "Otahu".
The suburb was established in 1847 as a fencible settlement, where soldiers were given land with the implied understanding that in wartime, they would be raised as units to defend it (however, the eventual fighting a decade later used professional soldiers instead). Most early features from this time have disappeared however, such as a stone bridge built by the fencibles that had to make way to a widening of Great South Road.
Otahuhu was home to the country's first supermarket, and Otahuhu College, to which several famous personalities went, including heavyweight boxing champion David Tua, former prime minister David Lange, and ex-Manukau City Mayor, Sir Barry Curtis.
Otahuhu, in its position on a narrow section of the Auckland Isthmus, is an important part of Auckland's southern transportation approaches for both road and rail, containing a major bus interchange and Otahuhu Train Station. The bus interchange, which was badly neglected, has received increased attention from early 2011 on, with Maori Wardens present, and increased vandalism/graffiti prevention measures.
The importance for transportation extended to pre-European times. The aptly named Portage Road runs across the isthmus in Otahuhu and was used by Māori to move their waka (canoes) between the Manukau and Waitemata harbours for raids and trading. In fact, the area, also known as Te Tō Waka, was considered the most important portage of all of New Zealand.
Sport and recreation
- Reed, A.W. (1996). The Reed Dictionary of Maori Place Names (Third ed.). Reed Publishing. p. 75. ISBN 0-7900-0040-7.
- "Auckland: Soldiers of fortune". The New Zealand Herald. 26 August 2010. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
- "Press release: Otahuhu Bus Station Clean Up Begins". Auckland Transport. 14 January 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
- "Maori Tribal History - Hongi's Expeditions". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
- "Other northern canoes - Te Tō Waka – the canoe portage". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
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