Mount Eden is the name of a scoria cone and surrounding suburb in Auckland, New Zealand. Mt Eden Road winds its way around the side of Mount Eden Domain and continues to weave back and forth as it descends into the valley; it runs south from Eden Terrace to Three Kings.
The area directly around the hill consists of very fertile free-draining soil mixed with a great deal of volcanic debris in the form of scoria rocks. When Europeans came to the area, they found a landscape devoid of large trees, as anything of any size had been cut down by the Maori for various uses, such as the timber palisades of the pa.
The land was covered with bracken, flax and Manuka trees, with whau shrubs growing on the hill. The Europeans cleared the land of the scoria rocks and made fences with them to define property boundaries.
In the 1950s and 1960s the inner suburbs became unfashionable and the old houses of the Mt Eden area were comparatively cheap to buy. Mt Eden developed a slightly bohemian image during this time as a community of artists, writers, teachers and university lecturers made it their home.
Mt Eden village is still regarded by many as the “Home Of Arts” in Auckland, due to the large amount of creative activity in and around the suburb and the large number of artists who live nearby.
During the 19th century, the planning and maintenance of the main arterial roads (Mt Eden Road and Dominion Road) provided the impetus to form local governing bodies in the area. The Mt Eden Highway Board held its first meeting in 1868; it covered the area of Mt Eden, Eden Valley, Sandringham, and Balmoral.
At the time it was responsible for building and maintaining the roads, as well as dealing with the pigs, horses, cattle, and sheep that freely roamed the area. In 1882 it became the Mt Eden Road Board. In 1906 Mt Eden gained borough status and the Mt Eden Borough Council was formed.
At the base of the mountain, on the northeast side, there is a substantial area of native bush. A remnant of this bush still exists on the lava flow in the Almorah Road, Epsom area. Today this bush is composed of karaka, kohekohe, mahoe, ngaio, pigeonwood, puriri, titoki, mangaeo, karamu, rangiora and whau.
It is likely that some of these species may have been planted by the Maori inhabitants of Maungawhau. The volcanic hill at Mount Eden first served humans as a fortified hill. The Maori most certainly valued it as a vantage point, as you can see far and wide from atop its summit.
Maori tribal wars were common when the Europeans arrived, and the last Maori tribe to occupy Mount Eden was the Tamaki, who relinquished their stronghold around 1700 AD. The national rugby team of New Zealand, the All Blacks, plays some of their home matches here, and it is the permanent home of the Auckland Rugby Union.