I thought that it might be interesting to see if I could dig up a bit of historical info on the Franklin area, so here goes. This is our special “neck of the woods” and even though we are officially now part of the Auckland Supercity, we have our own history and stories too.
The district is divided between the administrative regions of Auckland , to the north, and Waikato to the south.
The district is mainly rural with Pukekohe as its main town and stretches from the wild west coast of the Awhitu Peninsula around the southern reaches of the Manukau Harbour to encompass the amazing Hunua Ranges, then joins the Seabird Coast on the firth of Thames . Further south discover the rugged and dramatic limestone landscape of Waikaretu and Port Waikato bordered by the Waikato River. (This is the historical region, prior to the amalgamation, but we still consider it to be Franklin). Waiuku and Tuakau support the farming industry, and an industry of note is the Glenbrook Steel mill.
The first local body ever established in the Franklin area (what was originally known as the Lower Waikato) was the Pukekohe Highway District. This was formed by a group of Pukekohe East landowners in October 1861 under the Public Roads and Works Ordinance 1845 and only lasted about 6 months before being dissolved by the passage of the Auckland Provincial Highways Act 1862.
A new Pukekohe Highway District was defined on 20 June 1862, which became operational on 25 August 1862 and was followed by the formation of the highway districts of Awhitu, Hunua, Karaka, Maketu, Waiuku and Waipipi in 1867; Paparata and Pollok in 1868; Maungatawhiri and Pokeno in 1869; Pukekohe West and Mauku in 1872; and Mercer in 1876.
The highway district system was not like local government as we know it today, with the elected highway boards being responsible for little more than the upkeep of roads and bridges in their respective areas.
The boundaries weren’t quite what might be expected either, as the Hunua Highway District, included the township of Papakura ( a separate Papakura Valley Highway District covered the Alfriston, Brookby and Ardmore areas). The boundary of the Waiuku and Waipipi highway districts bisected the township of Waiuku and the Maketu district, which covered the Ramarama area and was renamed Opaheke in 1876.
This is Franklin today