Panmure’s proud heritage goes back to pre-European times when the Panmure area (or Mokoia as it was known) was home to the Ngati Hura people, and was the largest Maori community in New Zealand due to the fertile soils and abundant fishing in the Tāmaki Estuary and Panmure Basin.
Strategically placed for rapid access by canoe to the Waitematä Harbour, Hauraki Gulf and North Island east coast as well as 4km up the Tāmaki Estuary was the portage that provided canoe access to the Manukau Harbour and the west coast.
Settlement by the tribes in the area between the Tāmaki River and Maungarei (Mokoia and Mauinaina Pa) became well established and was highly valued because of the easy access to good garden land, swamps and lakes, marine resources and many fresh water springs.
The inhabitants of the two Pa were destroyed in 1821, by marauding warriors from the north. Led by the chieftain Hongi Hika, the invaders had the technological advantage of modern weapons acquired through earlier contact with Europeans and decimated the population. The Ngati Paoa never returned to the area, where a thousand of their number had been slain and the land slowly returned to be covered by fern and manuka.