About Us

Motu Moana, an historical site where our land meets the sea. 
Come visit our natural piece of unspoilt paradise overlooking the Manukau Harbour.

Motu Moana Camp is proudly owned by Scouts New Zealand since 1941 and is a not for profit organisation that values and nurtures the unique, dynamic and diverse youth of Aotearoa.

Since 1941 our beautiful block of land has housed thousands of young people, providing them with a place to learn new skills, grow in confidence and better understand their natural environment and the values of kaitiaki, (guardianship of the land).

An Auckland draper, William Henry Smith, acquired the land during the years 1897 to 1905, from the local Borough Council. It also included the neighbouring Craigavon Park as one parcel of land. The Smith family used the large parcel of land as a holiday retreat.  During this period, the Smith whanau allowed the Boys Scouts of Auckland to use a parcel of land known as Karaka Bay for camping.

On William’s death on 24th October 1912, the property was left to his widow, Mrs W.H Smith.  The Trustees of the Smith Estate formally arranged a Lease Agreement between the 2 parties.

Mrs Smith went on to marry Mr Preston, a local Reverend and retired Warehouseman on March 2nd 1939.

In 1940, Mrs Preston (Smith) passed away and the following is an account of the acquisition of Motu Moana Camp.

The Acquisition of Motu Moana Camp

Pre April 1940 the Campsite was being leased by the Boy Scouts of Auckland under a lease agreement arranged by the Trustees of the Smith estate.

Mrs Smith went on to marry Mr Preston.

In 1940 a letter was received by the Scouts Association, Auckland, from the solicitor of the Trustees of the Preston Estate, giving the Scouts Association of Auckland 6 months termination notice.

After discussion by the Scouts Board, it was resolved that the Chairman should communicate with the dominion Chief Commissioner with a view to approach the Government with a request that they purchase the land in question.

In September 1940, it was resolved that all Scouts Groups should be approached and that a concert should be held to assist in raising funds.

In November 1940, the Secretary reported that an offer had been put to the Trustees of the Preston estate.  Total price 900 pounds payable 1/3 cash and balance by way of mortgage over 5 years.

May 1941, Raising funds; Sir Joesph Smith was formally thanked for leading the raising of funds for the purchase of the campsite as recorded in the Executive and Finance Committees report 27.2.1941.

Sir Joesph Smith (President), Commissioner Ward and Mr Service were thanked also for agreeing to sign the documents on behalf of the Scout Association for the purchase price “unpaid” and that the Metropolitan undertake to pay it off as soon as practical.

May 1941 saw the sale of trees on the property of Motu Moana for 130 pounds.

May 1941, acknowledgement of Waterview, St Albans and Te Awaroa was recorded as they had sent in “donations” towards Motu Moana Camp.

September 1941, Commissioner Johns, as Warden of Motu Moana, had referred to the asset the scouts now had in the property and its possibilities, the youngest Scouter present, handed a token Branch in trust for the Scouts of Auckland Area, to the Dominion Chief Commissioner.  Mr Christie, in accepting the trust, stressed the value of such a camping ground in a congested city area.

July 1941, the camp held celebrations and invited all of the Scout Troops in Auckland including the Rotary Club whom donated a large amount of funds towards the loan.

October 1941, the Certificate of Title to the Freehold Motu Moana Camping Ground was given to the Boy Scouts Association, NZ Branch.  Stamp Duty was paid.  The Chairman acknowledges receipt of the Title Deeds to Motu Moana.

November 1941, the Boy Scouts Association sent a letter to Scout House Auckland acknowledging that they had accepted the  property containing 19 acres, 3 roods and 7 perches for and on behalf of the Auckland Metropolitan District for the benefit of Scouting in the said District.

A Motu Moana sub-committee from the Executives remained in place for the purpose of promoting the camps use.

“These are extracts taken directly from the Executive Board Minute’s ledger held at Motu Moana Scout Camp archives room. They are the original signed and true record of events surrounding the purchase of the Camp entirely.” 

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