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Portage Road in the Otahuhu suburb of Auckland, New Zealand, follows the path of a former Maori canoe portage between the Tamaki River (an arm of the Hauraki Gulf) and the Manukau Harbour, which facilitated access between the eastern and western sides of the North Island. It is an otherwise unremarkable road. The history of the site is described in a plaque that is embedded in a concrete plinth at the intersection of Portage Road and Great South Road. The road marked the northernmost boundary of the Borough of Otahuhu until it was absorbed into the new City of Tamaki, then later on, Auckland City and Auckland Region.
This Plaque Marks a Historic Site: In the middle of the 14th century, the Maori First Fleet settled Aotearoa and sailing through Hauraki Gulf, visited Tamaki in search of a new home. The first canoe to reach the isthmus was the Tainui which stayed at Otahuhu while the Maori Chief Taikehu carried out reconnaissance from a nearby hill top, probably Mount Richmond. The waters of the Manukau Harbour were seen and the canoe dragged overland and went on her way, calling at Mokau and finally to her last resting place at Kawhia. In later years, canoes were frequently taken across the portage at Otahuhu, and this practice was followed with boats and small vessels even in European times. Later a canal was planned to link the Tasman and Pacific Oceans, and land was reserved to that end. Today the old track is known as Portage Road. Half a mile in length, it must surely be the shortest road between two seas anywhere in the world.
This plaque, donated by W.A. Stevenson. Esq., and Mrs. M.J. Sparrow was unveiled on March 20th 1959 by J.D. Murdoch. Esq., Mayor of Otahuhu
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