GOVERNOR HOBSON’S GRAVE
Hobson set aside this land for use as a Cemetery in 1842. Ironically he was one of the first people to be buried here as he soon after he suffered a fatal stroke. He is certainly the most important personage buried there. He is also the only Governor or Governor-General to be buried in New Zealand until Sir Keith Holyoake who died in 1983. His coffin lies in a brick vault beneath the tombstone and platform. The three types of stone used on Hobson’s grave which were intended to be symbolic. The lowest slab from the 1840s was Tasmanian Sandstone which evokes Hobson’s career there before 1840. This was later augmented by a panel of Italian white statuary marble for the inscription. Finally a piece of black Irish marble was inserted between them that alludes to Hobson’s birthplace in Waterford, Ireland. William Hobson was born in Waterford, Ireland. He joined the Royal Navy in 1803 and was promoted to the rank of Commander in 1824. In 1834 he was given the command of the ship HMS Rattlesnake and ordered to take it to New South Wales in 1836 where he attended the Governor, Sir George Gipps. In 1837 Gipps recieved a resquest for help from James Busby, the British Resident in the Bay of Islands, where a number of europeans, mostly britons, were living. New Zealand was nominally, but not formally, part of the Colony of New South Wales at this time. Gipps sent Hobson to investigate the situation. Hobson submitted a Report to the British Government advising that New Zealand should be annexed as a colony. This resulted in Hobson’s eventual appointment as Governor of New Zealand and the founding by him of the City of Auckland as the Colony’s new Capital in 1840. Hobson set aside this land for use as a Cemetery in 1842. Ironically he was one of the first people to be buried here. He is also the only Governor or Governor-General to be buried in New Zealand until Sir Keith Holyoake (1904-1983). Hobson’s Grave is now the centrepiece of the General Anglican Memorial which was created in the 1960s when the motorway system was constructed. The New Zealand Royal Navy looks after Hobson’s Grave; a commemorative service is held at the grave each year. Hobson’s Grave is now the centrepiece of the General Anglican Memorial which was created in 1969 when the motorway system was constructed. several graves directly adjacent to Governor Hobson were also removed to create the paved area. The lamp is a symbolic gesture for the founder of Auckland and New Zealand; it is the only lamp inside the Symonds Street Cemetery. The pavement is the top of a burial vault in which the remains of around 3000 people were re-interred. Their names are listed on the Memorial Wall to the south of the paved area where a white marble plaque from the 1910 Cemetery Archway is also included. A seperate Memorial Vault was created on the Western Side of the Cemetery in the Catholic Area. That Memorial contains the remains of just over a thousand people beneath an inclined slab structure on which the names of the deceased are laid out on bronze plaques. You can read more about the two projects undertaken on the grave here: 1926 Project and 1935 Project
TE IRINGA O RAURU
There is speculation that the area set aside by Governor Hobson for the Cemetery may have been a pre-european burial gound. Certainly it was connected with death in one specific way. The area where the Symonds Street ridge meets the Karangahape ridge was known as Te Iringa o Rauru - “the hanging up of Rauru’s body”. Rauru was a Ngati Whatua chief slain by the Waiohua. As a warning to others his body was hung up on a tree, which thus became tapu. This act was a contributing factor in the attack by Ngati Whatua on the Waiohua and Ngati Paoa tribes around 1740 and their subsequent occupation of Tamaki. Standing as it did on the top of a hill and next to a major walking route the tree would have acquired a terrible and sinister reputation, bespeaking as it did of a horribe and dishonourable crime. This tree apparently wasn’t extant when the first europeans arrived. The area was noted for being a rather bleak hillside and there is no reference to a tree or image of one in the vicinity.