Howick is situated on the coast east of Auckland City and about 2 miles south-east of Tamaki Estuary. The surrounding country is undulating to hilly. The metropolitan centre of Auckland is 14 miles north-east by highway via Pakuranga, Panmure, and Ellerslie. Papatoetoe, the nearest station on the North Island Main Trunk railway, is 11 miles south-west by road.
The rural district which lies south and west of the town is devoted mainly to dairy farming, many of the farms supplying milk for the city of Auckland. Howick is a trade and servicing centre but in recent years has become an important dormitory suburb for Auckland City workers. The chief industries include food processing, welding and sheetmetal working, the manufacture of wrought iron products, and joinery. The housing development of greater Auckland progressively encroaches upon Howick from the northward and westward. Several nearby beaches have also become permanent residential areas in recent years.
Howick came into existence as a township in 1847 when it was settled by a company of the Royal New Zealand Fencibles, a pensioners' corps raised in England in accordance with Sir George Grey's scheme for the defence of Auckland. The site of Howick commanded one of the approaches to Auckland and was considered to be of strategic military importance. In 1863 a field work was constructed on what is now called Stockade Hill, for the purpose of defending Auckland from hostile Maoris who might advance overland from the south, or by canoes from the Firth of Thames. The original name of the locality is stated to be Waipaparoa. The name Howick is derived from a parish and village in Northumberland, the seat of Earl Grey who, as Secretary of State for the Colonies, approved the pensioner scheme for Auckland. In 1865 Howick became a road board district; in 1922 it was created an independent town district; and on 1 April 1952 it was constituted a borough.
POPULATION: 1951 census, 2,113; 1956census, 3,788; 1961 census, 6,394.
by Brian Newton Davis, M.A., Vicar, St. Philips, Karori West, Wellington and Edward Stewart Dollimore, Research Officer, Department of Lands and Survey, Wellington.