Purchase of the island from Maori plus early farmers

William Fairburn purchased Motuihe in 1839 from William Jowett, Ko Nuki and Te Manago: chiefs of Te Iwi Tutu, Te Ngatitai and Ngatiwaki respectively. They paid one heifer, twenty blankets, ten axes, ten hoes, ten spades, six gowns, two red blankets, 12 dutch pipes, six iron pots and one shawl.

Copy of Deed:Know all men who shall see these documents that we (viz.) William Jowett of Te Iwi Tutu a native chief, Ko Nuku of Te Nga tai, a native chief, and Te Manago of Ngatiwaki also a native chief, have parted with and alienated for ever that Island known by the name of Motuihe with all things either above or below appertaining to the before named land (which Island is situated in the channel running into Waitemata)  to Mr. Fairburn and to his children to cultivate, to sell, or to dispose of in any way he pleases for ever. On the Eastern side of the above named Island stands Waiheke, on the northern Motutapu, on the Western Motukorea, and in the centre of these islands stands Motuihe.  Payment for the said Motuihe (viz.); one heifer, twenty blankets, ten axes, ten hoes, ten spades, six gowns, two red blankets, twelve Dutch pipes, six n pots, and one shawl. See our marks written on the fifth day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-nine, New Zealand. These are the witnesses. Henry lor, Ko Hemi Pepene, Hoani Pepeni, Rawiri, 'ramti, Ko William Jowett. The mark x Nuku The mark x Manako

Fairburn established the Church Missionary Society Mission at Maraetai, and had extensive landholdings: at one stage he owned 40,000 acres stretching from the Tamaki River to the Wairoa River (the former flowing into the Waitemata between Saint Heliers and Bucklands Beach, and the latter running northeast from the south end of the Hunua Ranges).

The following year he sold the island to Henry Tayler, who bought it with the assistance of a Crown Grant for 200 pounds. In 1843 the land was on sold to William Brown and John Logan Campbell for 220 pounds. John Campbell is regarded as one of the founders of Auckland, most famous for gifting Cornwall Park to the city: note the memorial fountain located at the intersection of Manukau Road and Puriri Drive (the drive running through the park). Brown is notable for Brown’s island (Motukorea), which is one of only two maunga in the Auckland Volcanic Field never to have been mined. This island is where Brown and Campbell originally stayed after travelling from the Coromandel, and where they resided while negotiating the purchase of the land which is now Auckland.

Image of Sir John Logan Campbell

Brown and Campbell ran the island as a farm from 1843: they grew olive trees and ran pigs, goats and hens. In 1858 it was sold to John Graham (who also owned Motutapu), who continued to farm it until he was tragically drowned in 1868 while returning from Motuihe to Auckland. (Ronnie Harrison remembers talking to Amy Haddock at a reunion Ronnie ran on Motuihe. Amy was John Graham's daughter and she was then in her 90s. She recalled standing up on the headland with her mother holding her hand so tightly it hurt her, while her mother looked out towards the sea waiting for her husband. Poor Mrs Graham, widowed with small children trying to farm an island that was mortgaged, difficult for anyone.) In 1872 the island was sold to the Crown by Graham’s son Robert. The island had been mortgaged and it was conveyed to the Crown for 2,500 pounds under power of sale in the mortgage deed.