One Tree Hill
One Tree Hill is also known by its Maori name, Maungakiekie. Maunga means 'hill', and kiekie is a 'strong climbing plant'. In 1840, One Tree Hill and its foot-hills were covered with dark masses of kiekie, and thick bracken fern.
Another lone tree had originally given the hill a different Maori name. The tree had been planted in about 1600, to commemorate the birth of Koroki, the son of a chief of the Ngati Awa tribe. Though the Ngariki had occupied the hill at the time, the Ngati Awa had passed through on their migration south to Taranaki, and were asked to stay at One Tree Hill. These tribes called the hill Te Totara i Ahua ("The Totara that Stands Alone"). Maori considered this totara to be tapu (sacred).
Soon after the establishment of Auckland, the summit of One Tree Hill was used as a lookout and signalling station to protect the infant town from hostile attack. On one occasion, some European workers were sent to the summit to keep watch. Due to a misunderstanding, some food failed to arrive for them, and they angrily cut down the sacred totara.
John Campbell later planted a fresh grove of puriris to replace it, and added some pinus insignis for their protection. Ironically, the puriris failed to survive, but two of the pines did. They flourished for several years, but they were replaced by a single Monterey pine in 1875.