sir john’s gift to
sir john logan campbell gifted cornwall park to new zealand in 1901
Sir John Logan Campbell's wish was that the park be free for every New Zealander to enjoy, forever.
Today, the Cornwall Park Trust Board, who manages and operates Cornwall Park, continues to honour his wish. Cornwall Park is for you — and all New Zealanders — to enjoy and experience nature in the heart of New Zealand’s biggest city, for free.
It is more than just a park — it is 425 acres (172 hectares) of New Zealand’s living history, weaving together our heritage, ecology, agriculture, wildlife, mauri, and community within its lush landscape.
sir john logan campbell
Sir John Logan Campbell is often referred to as the father of Auckland, a philanthropically-minded businessman, one of the first European settlers to Auckland, and founder of Cornwall Park. Along with his business partner William Brown, Sir John bought Cornwall Park — then known as Mt Prospect Estate — in 1853, renaming it One Tree Hill. Due to his love for this land and its history, he gifted it to New Zealand by placing it into a trust that would establish and manage it as a park for future generations to enjoy. His gift went further — to ensure Cornwall Park would always be free for people to enjoy, he gifted the surrounding land as well to fund it. In 1901 this land became ‘Cornwall Park’ in honour of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York who were visiting New Zealand at that time.
one tree hill
Cornwall Park wraps around Maungakiekie/One Tree Hill and One Tree Hill Domain. Although their beginnings were as the same land, today One Tree Hill Domain is Tāmaki Makaurau Collective land, and jointly governed by the Tūpuna Maunga o Tāmaki Makaurau Authority (Maunga Authority) and Auckland Council. Cornwall Park is however private land, managed by a trust. The exception is the mighty obelisk — Auckland’s beacon at the top of Maungakiekie. It was Sir John’s wish for the obelisk to be installed to honour the Maori people of Tāmaki Makaurau, with Sir John himself now buried beneath. This area remains Cornwall Park land.
Visit Auckland Council’s website for more information on Maungakiekie and One Tree Hill Domain or call Auckland Council on 09 301 0101 for any enquiries.
Cornwall Park is managed by an experienced and passionate team and volunteer Board of Trustees — Adrienne Young-Cooper, Keith Smith, John Duncan and Alastair Carruthers — who are committed to continuing Sir John’s legacy of creating a park that all New Zealanders can enjoy. They are responsible for the day-to-day, season-to-season management, care and planning of Cornwall Park, along with creating and implementing a vision for generations to come.
Sir John's philanthropy
Sir John Logan Campbell’s Residuary Estate is held in trust in perpetuity to distribute its income each year as directed by Sir John’s will.
Sir John Logan Campbell supported many charities and institutions in his lifetime and his Residuary Estate continues this legacy to this day, distributing grants annually.
recognition of our heritage
memory of the world
Important papers belonging to Sir John Logan Campbell were inscripted on to the UNESCO Memory of the World Aotearoa New Zealand documentary heritage register in 2016, the highest-level recognition worldwide for archives and documentary heritage.
UNESCO recognition draws attention to the significance of documentary heritage and the institutions that are their custodians. Inscription on the register raises awareness of the custodian’s institutions and helps ensure the inscribed items are protected, preserved and accessible.
Sir John was a diligent preserver of documents, which bear upon the story of his life and that of Auckland. These papers along with those of the Sir John Logan Campbell Residuary Estate are in the Auckland War Memorial Museum and remain a treasured part of Auckland’s cultural heritage because of their diverse scope and rich historical worth.