Titirangi—a Maori word often translated as 'the fringe of heaven’—is situated in the foothills of the Waitakere Ranges and skirts the northern shore of the Manukau Harbour.
History of the Area
In the centuries prior to European settlement the area was densely covered with rain forest, especially kauri, but also including rewarewa, rimu, puriri, taraire, pohutukawa, kahikatea, kowhai, mahoe, nikau, ponga and other trees of the New Zealand bush. However, within half a century from the 1830s the bush was rapidly removed, through milling of the giant kauri trees, burning of the bush, and the establishment of farms on the cleared land.
The Ranges were not ideally suited for farming purposes, however, and from the time of the First World War much of the cleared land began reverting to bush. In 1919 the 300 acre Atkinson Estate (the name is preserved in Mount Atkinson which McCahon painted in 1958), was subdivided, and marketed to Aucklanders as suitable for summer or weekend cottages close to the Manukau Harbour and the bush of the Waitakere Ranges. In the 1920s the Italian-styled Titirangi Hotel was opened nearby in the building now known as Lopdell House, though the fact that liquor could not be sold in the area restricted its potential as a social venue.
There were few roads in the area and the allotments were only slowly taken up. In the 1920s the remaining sites were further subdivided into sections measuring about quarter of an acre.
67 Otitori Bay Road
The site of the McCahon house in Otitori Bay Road was part of a 1923 subdivision and was eventually purchased in 1939 by Herbert Godfrey Harbour who built the bach at 67 Otitori Bay Road shortly afterwards. It had one further owner (a Mr and Mrs Mason) before it was purchased by the McCahons in 1953.