Maori the Helensville district was originally known as
Te Awaroa - "The Valley of the Long River".
Pioneer timber miller John McLeod and his wife
Helen built a single-storey kauri home in 1862 overlooking the mill
established by John and his brother Isaac. This home was called
"Helen's Villa" - a name which was quickly adapted and
adopted by the town.
Since the arrive from Nova Scotia of the McLeod
family members, Helensville has gone through three varied developmental
First, until the turn of the century, the whole
Kaipara area was where "kauri was king". Countless kauri
logs were milled and shipped out from busy Helensville wharves.
The second phase coincided with the rise of dairy
farming prior to the First World War and the realisation of the
visitor potential of the natural hot springs at Parakai, 5km west
of Helensville. The Kaipara Dairy Company, established in 1911,
soon became the town's largest employer, while the thermal springs
attracted thousands of visitors between the two world wars.
With the closure of the dairy factory in the
late 1980s and the associated general decline in farming, Helensville
has now entered a third stage of development.
A healthy visitor industry, spurred by a wide
range of attractions and 'things to do', a growing appreciation
of Helensville's special historic ambience, and its close proximity
to Auckland City, means that the town now looks to tourism to lead
it into the new millenium.
Helensville features scores of fine old buildings,
especially kauri cottages and villas situated close to the town
centre and some excellent commercial structures such as the Old
Post Office building. The Pioneer Museum
and courthouse provide a fascinating window on the town's past.
This has obviously been a very brief history
of Helensville. Detailed information can be found in "Men Came
Voyaging" by C. M. Sheffield (Capper Press, 1986).