Nixon Monument

2 Piki Thompson Way And Great South Road, Otahuhu, Auckland

  • Nixon Monument, Auckland.
    Copyright: Antony Matthews. Taken By: Antony Matthews. Date: 24/09/2012.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 531 Date Entered 26th November 1981


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Pt Lot 13 DP 19310 (CT NA491/164, NZ Gazette 1984, p.3529) and part of the land described as Legal Road, North Auckland Land District, and the structure known as Nixon Monument thereon. Refer to the extent map tabled at the Heritage New Zealand Board meeting on 3 September 2015.

City/District Council

Auckland Council (Auckland City Council)


Auckland Council

Legal description

Pt Lot 13 DP 19310 (CT NA491/164, NZ Gazette 1984, p.3529) and Legal Road, North Auckland Land District


Prominently located at the Mangere and Great South Road junction, Otahuhu, the Nixon Monument is of particular significance as one of three monuments nationally that reflect the early evolution of war memorials in New Zealand. The obelisk incorporating four squat columns resting on a tall base commemorates Marmaduke George Nixon (c.1813-64) the Colonel who commanded the Colonial Defence Force and Royal Cavalry Volunteers. Nixon was the first well-known local leader to fall in the New Zealand Wars (1843-72). It also commemorates the Waikato War Campaign (1863-4) and memorialises those in the Colonial Defence Force who fell at Rangiaowhia (Te Awamutu). The Great South Road location was particularly significant for the local fencible communities of Onehunga, Howick and Panmure, and the volunteers who served under Nixon.

After much debate the obelisk was funded by public subscription and erected on a site to the north of the stockyards, an important venue and meeting place for the local farming community. The Otahuhu site was provided by Edmund Foley, other Auckland and Domain sites having been rejected following prolonged discussions. An obelisk inspired by ‘Cleopatra’s Needle’ at Thebes in Egypt, the final design incorporated three commemorative headstones. The design by architect Edmund Rumsey was constructed by builder W. Cameron of Cook Street, Auckland, using Oamaru stone for a total cost of £660. The structure raised on three blue-stone steps of solid masonry from quarries at Newmarket had a square wrought iron railing around the base. Nearing the fourth anniversary of Nixon’s death, the monument was unveiled by the Governor General Sir George Ferguson Bowen at a public ceremony on 13 May 1868, an event incorporating Masonic ritual.

The north-facing stone of the memorial records that Nixon died aged 50 from wounds sustained on 21 February 1864, at Rangiaowhia. Born in Malta, and Sandhurst-trained, Nixon served 21 years with the 39th Regiment of Foot (sixteen in India) prior to his arrival in New Zealand. Nixon and fellow Regimental officer Captain Theodore Haultain the commander of a company of military pensioners in New Zealand, became members of the House of Representatives, and gained the New Zealand Medal in the New Zealand Wars (1860-66) having already been awarded the Maharajpore Star (1843) prior to their arrival in New Zealand.

The east-facing stone commemorates the men who served Queen and Country in the Maori War Waikato Campaign. That facing west, memorialises those of the Colonial Defence Force who fell at Rangiaowhia on 21 and 22 February 1864, namely Corporals Edward McHale, Horatio Alexander and Joseph Thomas Little.

Nixons’ remains lie directly below the north side of the monument, having been exhumed from Auckland’s Symonds Street Cemetery during Southern Motorway works in the 1960s; cremated and reinterred at the Otahuhu site on ANZAC day 25 April 1968. Together with the original gravestone from the cemetery (with added wording to identify the re-interment), a small brass plaque was more recently attached to the monument. Conservation works undertaken in 1992 included removal of the wrought iron surrounds.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Rumsey, Edward

Rumsey was an English born architect who had studied under the High Victorian Gothic Revivalist Sir George Gilbert Scott. Rumsey came to New Zealand to supervise the Gothic Revival styled Supreme Court Building, Auckland (1865) which he had designed.

He remained in New Zealand for several years, practising in both Auckland and Dunedin. He worked on St Andrew's Anglican Church, Epsom (1867), though the Reverend John Kinder was responsible for the design of this building, and also on the Church of St Peter in the Forest, Bombay (1869) and the much larger St Luke's Church, Oamaru (1865). The design of the Oriental Hotel, Dunedin (1863), has been attributed to him.

W. Cameron

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

1868 -

1968 -
Reinterment of Marmaduke George Nixon’s remains & Original grave marker from Symonds Street Cemetery moved to the site.

1992 -
Stone masonry repairs, replacement of marble monument stones; removal or wrought iron railings.

Completion Date

30th June 2015

Report Written By

Ian Lawlor

Information Sources

Prickett, 2002

N. Prickett, 'The Archaeology of New Zealand Shore Whaling', Department of Conservation, Wellington, 2002.

Ritchie, 2001

Neville Ritchie, The Waikato War of 1863-64: A Guide to the Main Events and Sites, Te Awamutu, 2001

Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Barber, Laurie, ‘Nixon, Marmaduke George - Biography’, Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 1 September 2010. URL

Journal of the Auckland-Waikato Historical Societies

Journal of the Auckland-Waikato Historical Societies

Herdman, J., and A.F. Grace, 'Colonel Marmaduke George Nixon', Journal of the Auckland-Waikato Historical Societies, no. 13, October 1968, pp. 26-7.

Cowan, 1955

The New Zealand Wars: A History of the Maori Campaigns and the Pioneering Period: Volume 1: 1845-1864. R.E Owen. Wellington.

Phillips & Maclean, 1990.

Phillips, Jock and Chris Maclean, The Sorrow and the Pride: New Zealand War Memorials, Department of Internal Affairs, Historical Branch, Wellington, 1990.

Anon, 1948

A Century of Progress, 1848-1948: A Souvenir of Otahuhu, Otahuhu, 1948

Otahuhu-Tamaki Historical Society Inc

Howard, G. (Ed), Otahuhu-Tamaki Historical Society Inc., A Passing Parade: A Recollection of 150 Years in Otahuhu, 1998, pp. 24-5 and photo on back cover.

Other Information

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Northern Region Office of Heritage New Zealand