Since 1841, there has been a lot of speculation about whom the central Auckland suburb of Parnell was named after. Several historic figures have incorrectly been credited including Charles Stewart Parnell (the Irish politician), Samuel Parnell (who instigated the eight-hour working day in New Zealand), Thomas Parnell (the poet) and Sir Henry Brooke Parnell (a prominent member of the British Parliament).
The full story of the naming of Parnell will be revealed in September, with the launch of the 2013 Issue of the Parnell Heritage Journal and at the Parnell Heritage AGM on 26 September at the Quality Inn in Gladstone Road, Parnell. Margaret Edgcumbe, who was born in Parnell and has been researching the early history of the suburb, will be speaking at the meeting, which commences at 7 pm.
The colourful personality behind the naming of Parnell was Robert Tod, a land speculator who purchased three acres in the second Auckland Land Sale on 1 September 1841, subdivided it into 36 small sections and several days later advertised them for sale as the ‘The Village of Parnell’. Born in Scotland, Tod had an adventurous career as a merchant in the Middle East and Adelaide (South Australia’s Tod River is named after him).