The Farm


'Pukerau - the farm' distinguishes it from the township of Pukerau near Gore or should I just call it Duncan's place.

'Pukerau' - is Maori for ‘a hundred hills’. In this context - 'Many Hills'.

Contents on this page:

  • Description  -  owned by D C & G M  Munro.
  • Resource Consent.
  • History  -  the story of the property.
  • Future Options


Owned by D C & G M Munro.

The land is of varied contour, and is a long and narrow strip, rising from flat land adjacent to Townson Road (formerly Townsend Rd), off the Clevedon - Kawakawa Bay Rd.

The front third of the “strip” has a relatively easy gradient and contour, starting at 20 metres above sea level. The middle section of the land rises steeply, generally following a ridge.

The top southern potion is high at 343 metres above sea level, but is relatively flat, and commands spectacular views. Across to Coromandel, out to the Great and Little Barrier Islands, across Tamaki Strait towards and past Waiheke Island, over the Auckland CBD, and around to the Manukau, the Heads and the Waitakere Range.

The vegetation on the ridge tops is generally grass, and is used for grazing, but the steep valley sides are still in native forest. All of the grazed areas are leased to two neighbours.
The native forest adjacent to the Department of Conservation (34 ha) is covenanted (in part for outdoor recreation) and is fenced. 49 ha of native forest and 5 ha of wetland remains within the 123.5 ha of the property.

Vehicular access through the property is by a private metal road. It is 4.5 km long and climbs over 300m. This allows for a variety of activities to be run under just about any conditions.

An application to have the property designated for ‘Out-door Recreation—primarily 4WD’ has been successful through the Resource Consent process with Manukau City Council (some conditions do apply).

The property is now being developed to this designation. 80% is operational now, and at present very good scenic through to challenging options are available. The object is to blend the pastoral grazing, the forestry and the Outdoor Recreation to a complimenting mix.

At the front of the property is extensive plantings of native trees along fence lines, below the road edge and around wetland areas for ascetic value, screening, and protection. Further on 3.5 ha of poplars are planted as agro-forestry, and then bisecting the property is a forestry area of 9 ha of lusitanica.

Resource Consent:

Outdoor Recreation - primarily 4WD.

Summary of General Conditions:

  • All activities are supervised.
  • All vehicles must have a current Warrant or Certificate of Fitness.
  • Noise levels to be within Manukau City Council’s District Plan limits.
  • Operating hours for vehicles driving on tours 7am - 10pm.

Group numbers:

  • A maximum of 2 groups per day @ a max. of 16 vehicles per group (3 to be advisory), but no condition to say that the groups can’t be run at the same time
  • just 2 groups per day!
  • Other groups exceeding 16 vehicles:
  • 1 group per month. 20 vehicles max.
  • 3 non-profit fundraisers per annum. 50 vehicles max.

Special Areas:
limited to numbers of vehicles, weather conditions and times.

  • Native Bush Track number of vehicles and dry conditions.
  • Main Swamp Crossing number of vehicles and between 1st Oct and 30th April.

Excluded Areas:

  • A 20 acre area.
  • One swamp area.


Other activities that can be looked at: 

Kauri in Whakatiri & Mataitai Scenic Reserves - the closes is a short walk down from the top of 'Pukerau - the farm'. Others are further into the interior. However I am very cautious, at present, to take visitors in here because the Kauri Dieback disease is not present in this area, and it is important for it not to spread here or into the Hunua Range.

Walks of various lengths and degrees of difficulty can be incorporated into a day’s activities here or elsewhere. ‘Pukerau - the farm’ boundaries to the north of the Whakatiri & Mataitai Scenic Reserves, which are of approx. 1700 acres in size. This area still has signs of the kauri milling that took place 90 – 100 years ago.

While Duncan is not qualified, and therefore he will not directly organise other outdoor activities. Horse treks, quad bike rides or mountain bike activities (and possibly others) could, with suitable supervision, be run on ‘Pukerau - the farm’.

The last is the Papakura Sporting Pistol Club's four shooting ranges here. They are again starting to build their numbers after being excluded from their old range shared with the army and police at Ardmore. They are setting these ranges up for three gun competitions. This required much preparation through their club and the national pistol association and lastly police permission. Pistols can only be fired on police approved ranges.

The Story of the Property:

Land and land ownership has constantly changed over the years, and our land has been no different. I will record some of it’s past, include some of what is happening now, and may even look at the future.

The Past.

The Maori people of the Tainui canoe made landfall at the entrance to the local Wairoa River between 1050 and 1300 AD. The tribes of the area are descended from Tainui. A lot of the Wairoa River valley area flowing north-westward towards Auckland was Ngai Tai lands with closely related other groups. Ngati-paoa inhabiting much of the local area from Kawakawa Bay-Orere east-southward to Waitakaruru, while near Orere lived some Ngati-whanaunga.

In the 1850s some Pakeha had established themselves along the coast. Clows would come to own the main coastal part of what would become Mataitai No 4 block. In 1853 Pakeha first moved up the river to what is now called Clevedon and the main spread of European influence would flow from there.

After the 1863 war of the area (part of the New Zealand wars) a large area of Maori land lay between the confiscated block and the Firth of Thames. This was owned by the people of the Ngai Tai, Ngati-paoa and the Ngati-whanaunga tribes, with most of Ngati Tai not having been involved in the war. A Ngati Paoa chief whose name is on many of the local titles did go to the Waikato - Aperahama Pokai. Europeans began to buy this land about 1870. The Mataitai block being one of the first. Mataitai No 4 block was purchased by MacKelvie (major art and artifacts of his are in the Auckland Art Gallery and War Memorial Museum) and Mataitai No 6 block purchased by William Aicken. William Aicken was one of Auckland’s earliest land agents.

Between March and July, 1867 Mataitai No 4 block was going through the survey process. The Lukes bought from McKelvie Mataitai No 4 from the coast and the valley right up into the hills at Papakauri (late referred to as Peter King). The original Luke block was later split into three titles, with Townson Road formed to access the back piece. The copies of the survey plans show this. When the 2nd and smaller subdivision of the coastal took place, I don’t know.

It is in 1892 the Lukes purchased the land at Mataitai. The front and part coastal block was purchased by John (Jack) Luke (son) and the other two sold at some point out of the Luke family. The only one remaining in that form is the one owned presently by Mr Kerry Anderson (Multi-systems Investment NZ Ltd).

The hills were extensively logged of Kauri by the Lukes and the Kauri Timber Company prior to 1915. The Kauri Timber Company had a mill and 3 dams in the hills. Scows coming up the stream from Kauri Bay, for the timber to be loaded at low tide.

Our block was purchased by the Ness Vale Land Co as part of their large acquisition of most of Ness Valley. The northern back portions of the re-designed Ness Valley properties were added to what Grandpa (C.C.) Munro bought in 1918 (with another block at the end of Ness Valley).

It is this block of approximately 647.5 hectares (1600 acres) that was first leased and then purchased by my father (Harold W Munro) in 1931. At this point it became permanently occupied by Dad. He moved into the small whare down here as the 1930’s depression set in.

 The farm was gradually improved up to Harold’s departure to the 2nd World War, when his father (and sisters) continued to oversee its maintenance and continued development while he was away.

On Harold’s return and his marriage the farm moved into a fairly rapid development in the late 1940s and through the 1950s. In the 50s machinery came more and more used. Harold purchased the 1st Fordson tractor from the Lee’s Bros’ company. Aerial topdressing started here probably in 1954 being the 2nd or 3rd farm to use this method. Over the years Tiger Moths, Fletchers, Dakota and helicopter all have been used.

Prior to 1940 the only buildings were a very small bach (2.4m x 1.8m), a tool and harness shed (size of a single garage), and the whare (4m x 3m). In approx 1954 the home was finished; the 1st worker’s cottage late 1940s; the woolshed constructed in 1953 (which has been enlarged twice since); the 2nd workers cottage in the early with the shearer’s quarter and the extension to the home in the mid-1950s.

Harold named the farm ‘Pukerau’ in the mid-1950’s to reflect 'Many Hills' and it was very close to the di-secting stream 'Pukurau'. The farm continued to improve as farming did through the 1960s.
Returning from 3 years in the army, I started to leased ‘Pukerau’ in 1973, and purchased it in 1975-76.

In 1989 we leased our block. Then in 1992 we decided to subdivide and sell off the main farm part of 292.4 hectares, retaining a 1 hectare home block and the balance of the farm including the large native bush block of 260 hectares. The 292.4 ha block was subsequently on-sold to it's present owners.

The Present.

In June, 2000 we completed a subdivision of 225 hectares of the native bush being purchased by the Department of Conservation to extend their Mataitai State Forest. The original area plus a block from the Kelly's in Ness Valley became designated as Mataitai Scenic Reserve and our portion became Whakatiri Scenic Reserve. Whakatiri recognising the old Maori Village on the coast and the area of the Luke's property. 

In February, 2001 and then a final day in July we put a case to the Environment Court to see if we could get 3 x approx 10 acre blocks for our 3 sons. 2 blocks were ruled. Later the titles were granted.

While the 4 year process from an initial proposal put to Manukau City Council in February, 1998 was costly, frustrating and time consuming; it has prepared us for the future of the remaining 108 hectares. The initial proposal was when the Department of Conservation did not have the money to purchase the native bush. We now know the whole system that operates right through to the Environment Court ruling and the completion of any ruling, and we would certainly do some things differently. It has been a valuable learning curve.

We are now looking to see what is the best use for our land. One option was to apply for a Resource Consent application to Manukau City Council for our land to be designated for ‘Outdoor Recreation - primarily 4WD’. This was granted to allow us to use our land in a greater way in regards to ‘four wheel driving’ and other outdoor activities than is normally considered an extra farming activity. This aspect is covered in the above sections ‘Resource Consent’ and can be seen on the link to - 4WD Experience.

Future Options:

We will continue to look at many options that this beautiful piece of land is suitable for. Complimenting activities to the pastoral / forestry and four wheel drive vehicles could be:

  • Trail bike & Quad (ATV) days are happening
  • The four gun ranges are being used monthly - one Sunday
  • Horse treks?
  • Mountain bike track (especial down hill)?
  • Hiking - very occassionally.

If you know of or have the ability to organize these types of activities I would welcome you to get in touch with me.

Duncan Munro - Pukerau Farm - Ph 09 292 2825