This small low farmed island of 179 hectares lies between Motutapu and Waiheke Islands some 11 km northeast of Auckland. Sir John Logan Campbell lived on Motuihe Inland as early as 1843. Robert Graham purchased it for farming in 1858. Purchased by the Crown in 1872, it was a quarantine station for many years. During the 1914-18 war it served an Internment camp for Germans and other aliens and afterwards as a quarantine station. Among its notable prisoners were Count Felix von Luckner and Lieutenant Kirchweiss of the raider “Seeadler” and Dr Schultz- Governor of German Samoa. Lt. Cdr. Count Felix von Luckner, who with his sailing ship “Seeadler” accounted for 86,000 tons of allied shipping before being captured in the Cook Islands. In 1917 von Luckner and his crew made a daring escape from Motuihe, commandeered a vessel and sailed over 900 km north where they were eventually captured at the Kermadec Islands. The 80 or so internees were transferred to Narrow Neck, Devonport 16 December 1918 to make room for the passengers and crew of the R.M.S. Makura who were infected with Influenza. The New Zealand Herald of 2-5 December 1918 listed 39 men, 24 women, 10 children and 2 infants, passengers who were to be landed at Motuihe.

Motuihe Island is now part of the Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park.

Recorded graves in the Motuihe Island Cemetery include:

  1. Headstone:
    Private F. D. BRADBURY, Home Service Section, died 12.11.1918. N.Z.E.F.
    N.Z.Herald, 14 Nov 1918: Roll of Honour – BRADBURY, on November 12,1918, of influenza and pneumonia, at Motuihe Island (guard), Frederick Donovan, dearly loved husband of Myrtle W.Bradbury, Pakuranga Aged 30 years.

  2. Headstone:
    In memory of Kenneth McLEOD, Seamen, R.M.S. Makura, died 6.12.18. Age 25.
    N.Z.Herald, 9 December 1918: One of the seamen, Denis (sic) had died of pneumonia on Friday right. The deceased was one of the first patients taken ashore. The interment took place on the island yesterday.

  3. Headstone:
    In memory of Thomas ROWAN, seaman R.M.S. Makura, died 9.12.18. Aged 49.
    N.Z.Herald, 11 Dec 1918; Deaths at Motuihe – Mr Thomas Rowan, an A.B.

  4. Headstone:
    In memory of J. Johnston Greaser, R.M.S. Makura, died 10.12.18. Aged 33.
    N.Z. Herald, 11 Dec 1918 Deaths at Motuihe – Mr J.Johnston, a fireman.

  5. Plot without a headstone.

  6. Indecipherable headstone: Patrick FINNIGAN (?Finnugan or Finnucan)
    5 or 6 may be the grave of a smallpox victim of 1873 :Lorrie Walsh: Motuihe, the History of Auckland’s Lovely Marine Park, (1937), p9.

  7. Headstone:
    Ethel BROWNING, wife of Captain E.J.Browning, who died at Motuihe Island on 19th Dec 1918 whilst voluntarily nursing influenza patients from R.M.S. Makura. Aged 28 years. Her Life for Others.
    N.Z.Herald, 20 Dec 1918: BROWNING. On Dec 19, 1918 on Motuihe Island, Ethel, dearly beloved wife of Lieutenant E.J.Browning, Asst. Adj-General, Auckland Military District and only daughter of G.V. Kemsley Esq. and Mrs Kemsley of Waikanae, whilst voluntarily nursing influenza patients from R.M.S. Makura. Interred on Motuihe Island yesterday.

The island reverted to a public domain in 1963 and with its attractive swimming beaches on either side of the narrow isthmus that offer sheltered conditions in any winds, kiosk selling refreshments and toilets, it is very popular for day visitors during summer months. Access is by ferry which depart at regular scheduled times. There is limited accommodation and camping, and barbeques are available for day visitors to use (bookings are essential).

This cemetery is on Motuihe Island, Hauraki Gulf, Auckland, and is approximately 16 kilometres from Auckland, east of Rangitoto. The cemetery is located at Cemetery Point, at the north end of the island. The island was purchased by the New Zealand government in 1873 for use as a quarantine station. It was used as an internment camp during the 1914-1918 War, and was known as H.M.S. “Tamaki” in both World Wars. There is 1 Commonwealth burial of the 1914-1918 war here.

BRADBURY, FREDERICK DONOVAN Private 12th November 1918

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