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A Rare Early Sea Chart of Manukau Bay and the Area to the South of Auckland

Fine large format map of Manukau Harbor and environs, published by the British Admiralty, first published in 1860.

The chart is based upon British Surveys undertaken by the Admiralty in 1853 and includes a large inset map of the continuation of the Waiuku River, extending further to the south of the main chart.

A number of roads are shown, along with topographical features, and extensive surveys and observations useful for navigating the rivers, shallows and other parts of the harbor, as well as tidal observations and other important sailing information.

The map extends to Mount Wellington and the Village of Panmure in the northwest, covering the area immediately to the south of Auckland, locating several small villages and settlements, including

  • Nehunga
  • Mangari native settlement
  • Village of Panmure
  • Village of Otahuhu 
  • Nga Timananga Tribe lands
  • Township of Drury

Includes the shop stamp for "J. Donne, Admiralty Chart Agent and Nautical Bookseller. . . " in Melbourne, Australia.

Regional History

The Ngāti Whātua and Tainui were the main tribes living in the area when Europeans arrived. The tribes were in conflict, aided by weapons acquired from the European settlers.  Once Ngāpuhi became skilled with muskets, they displaced Māori from the Auckland area in a series of campaigns over the 1820s.

In January 1832, Joseph Brooks Weller acquired extensive land holdings, including the sites of the modern cities of Auckland and North Shore and part of Rodney District.   

When the Musket Wars ended, New Zealand was annexed by Britain and Lietenant Governor Hobson was sent to sign the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. Until that time, New Zealand was part of New South Wales.


OCLC locates 3 example of the map (British Library, National Library of New Zealand and University of Auckland Library).

Condition Description
Minor soiling at the right side of the chart.
British Admiralty Biography

The British Admiralty has produced nautical charts since 1795 under the auspices of the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (HO). Its main task was to provide the Royal Navy with navigational products and service, but since 1821 it has also sold charts to the public.

In 1795, King George III appointed Alexander Dalrymple, a pedantic geographer, to consolidate, catalogue, and improve the Royal Navy’s charts. He produced the first chart as the Hydrographer to the Admiralty in 1802. Dalrymple, known for his sticky personality, served until his death in 1808, when he was succeeded by Captain Thomas Hurd. The HO has been run by naval officers ever since.

Hurd professionalized the office and increased its efficiency. He was succeeded by the Arctic explorer Captain William Parry in 1823. By 1825, the HO was offering over seven hundred charts and views for sale. Under Parry, the HO also began to participate in exploratory expeditions. The first was a joint French-Spanish-British trip to the South Atlantic, a voyage organized in part by the Royal Society of London.

In 1829, Rear-Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort was appointed Hydrographer Royal. Under his management, the HO introduced the wind force scale named for him, as well as began issuing official tide tables (1833). It was under Beaufort that HMS Beagle completed several surveying missions, including its most famous voyage commanded by Captain FitzRoy with Charles Darwin onboard. When Beaufort retired in 1855, the HO had nearly two thousand charts in its catalog.

Later in the nineteenth century, the HO supported the Challenger expedition, which is credited with helping to found the discipline of oceanography. The HO participated in the International Meridian Conference which decided on the Greenwich Meridian as the Prime Meridian. Regulation and standardization of oceanic and navigational measures continued into the twentieth century, with the HO participating at the first International Hydrographic Organization meeting in 1921.

During World War II, the HO chart making facility moved to Taunton, the first purpose-built building it ever inhabited. In 1953, the first purpose-built survey ship went to sea, the HMS Vidal. Today, there is an entire class of survey vessels that make up the Royal Navy’s Hydrographic Squadron. The HO began to computerize their charts in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1968, the compilation staff also came to Taunton, and the HO continues to work from there today.