Mt Wellington's forgotten volcano has reappeared. Demolition of industrial buildings on Morrin Rd has revealed the remains of Purchas Hill, or Tauomo, which once stood 30 metres high, at the foot of Mt Wellington. Tauomo has been unseen for years and now lies within the Mt Wellington quarry land earmarked for subdivision...geologist Bruce Hayward wants to see the remains preserved, saying the volcano's cone could be recreated by looking at early photos and drawings and using dirt and other material gathered by quarrying...He would like Tauomo to become something like Mt Cambria in Devonport, which is a similar size and has been made into a park...
Like other volcanic cones in Auckland, Tauomo was terraced and fortified as a pa by pre-European Maori. Like the original cone, the earthworks are gone...The European name for Tauomo was given by Austrian geologist Ferdinand von Hochstetter, who visited New Zealand in the 1850s. The Reverend Arthur Guyon Purchas, an Onehunga Anglican vicar with an interest in science, accompanied von Hochstetter on some of his expeditions.
The Central Leader's not online, so I can't refer you to a picture of Tauomo, but there's a good photo of Mt Wellington here, on a site dedicated to Auckland's volcanoes. You can see some of the subdivison work in the foreground.
Reading about Tauomo reminded me of my recent visit to Otuataua Stonefields, Mangere's one-hundred hectare 'Stonehenge of South Auckland'. Otuataua is almost as little-known as Tauomo, despite the efforts of the local Waiohua iwi and of archaeologists like Hayward, who together managed to save the site from development in the 90s.
Find out what you've been missing here.