First European Settlers. Capt. Porter

By Nan Motion

Captain William Field Porter arrived in Auckland in 1841, having embarked with his family in his own brig, the "Porter" from Liverpool. In Liverpool his family owned a shipyard on the Mersey River with docking and shipbuilding facilities. The whole town gathered to farewell their very popular citizen who was then 57 years old.

The family established themselves in Auckland and in a short time Captain William Field Porter was appointed Attorney General, a position he held from 1841-44 under the Hobson Government of that time. He served on the Auckland Provincial Council from 1853, and also represented Suburbs of Auckland in the first House of Representatives. During some of this time he lived on Waiheke Island.


Meanwhile, 10,000 acres of land was owned by the Porter and Chamberlain associates. The fourth child of Captain W.F. Porter, William, who married Ann Munro of Waipu, lived at Mangatangi, and around 1866 his father moved there from Waiheke Island.

William and Ann's fourth child, Herbert, was born here in 1868. There was a substantial home and out-buildings, a fine orchard and farming flourished. Captain William Field Porter died here in 1869, in his 87th year.

As a J.P., he was held in universal regard, by both the settlers and the Maori community, his obituary ascertains. His grandson, William Field Porter (b. 1865), who had been reared at Mangatangi was the last associated with this area, the land being sold in several blocks in the 1870's. T.L. & S.G. Vining were purchasers of the homestead area, taking possession in 1872.

In 1891, William Field Porter, the younger, went to the Dutch East Indies, engaged in pearl fishing, timber, coconut and rubber plantations but remained domiciled in Auckland, where he died in 1927 at Waimauku.

Assistance by Mrs. Shirley Porter of Auckland and Mr. Dereck Hall, of Waerenga, is acknowledged in compiling this brief picture of the first colonists to the district.