Manukau and marriage
The amalgamation of Manukau County and Manurewa Borough in 1965 and the first elections for the new Manukau City Council.
During the 1950s and 1960s the urbanisation of South Auckland proceeded rapidly. It became clear that the fragmented region needed a more streamlined local government structure. In April 1964 the Local Government Commission released a provisional scheme for the amalgamation of Manukau County, Manurewa Borough and Papatoetoe Borough. (Howick, Otahuhu and Papakura indicated they wanted no part of it.)
On 10 April 1965 the scheme went to a public ballot. In a minority turnout, the results were: Manurewa, 1695 for and 1407 against; Manukau, 3108 for and 3277 against; Papatoetoe, 1182 for and 2720 against. Under the rules of the day an amalgamation scheme went ahead unless rejected by at least 60% of the voters on the day.
Papatoetoe was out, therefore, but the other partners were in. The Local Government Commission proceeded to draw up a final scheme. The banns had been called: the marriage of Manukau and Manurewa was to go ahead.
The last Manukau County Council, 1962-1965 (Manukau City Council archives. Manukau Research Library, MCC: I, 3 no. 2)
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The ties that bind
On 3 September 1965 Manukau County and Manurewa Borough formally amalgamated as Manukau City. The occasion was marked by a formal dinner at Homai College, a location chosen because it straddled the boundaries of the two former authorities.
Black ties, tuxedos and evening dresses were the order of the day. The 250 guests included the great and good of Manukau and the surrounding areas.
The event's climax came when Mr D.C. Seath, the Minister of Local Government, presented Mr H.D. Lambie, Manukau County Chairman, and Mr H. Beaumont, Manurewa Borough Mayor, with a copy of the Order-in-Council proclaiming the new city. Mr Lambie paid tribute to the past and expressed hope for the future: "We have reached the first objective in constituting this city, but it is only the beginning not the end."
A month later, on 5 October 1965, another onetime potential partner, Papatoetoe, was declared a city in its own right.
Power to the people
For the first few weeks the new city was administered by the Manurewa and Manukau councils combined. Elections were held on Saturday 9 October 1965. Mr Hugh Lambie was declared Mayor unopposed; Mr Ian Aplin was also unopposed in the Clevedon ward.
The first Manukau City Council, 1965-1968. (Manukau City Council archives. Manukau Research Library, MCC: I, 3 no. 3)
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The new Council post-election included several other familiar faces: Harry Beaumont, former mayor of Manurewa; Chris Mountfort, a long-serving Manurewa councillor; Mrs Pearl Baker, re-elected in the Otara ward. There were new faces, as well, amongst them Mangere ward councillors Jim Anderton and Roger Douglas, at the outset of their political careers.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, controversy swiftly arose. At the first Council meeting Mr Lambie nominated Mr Harry Beaumont as his deputy. In a surprise move, the feisty and outspoken Chris Mountfort was elected to the post instead.
For more information: see Manukau’s Journey.
Publication record: first published as three separate items in Connexions, no. 81, September 2005, p. 6. Revised for publication on the Manukau Libraries website in September 2009.
Copyright © Manukau Libraries. This text may be freely used for the purposes of private study or research and for non-commercial publication provided that the author and Manukau Libraries are duly acknowledged.
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