The name ‘Woodside’ recalls the rural past of the Manukau area. Robert Coxhead established ‘Woodside Farm’ on an empty tract of fern and scrub on the Great South Road south of Papatoetoe in the 1850s. Perhaps he chose the name to refer to the thick fringe of native bush on the ridges above the farm; more likely it was a nostalgic tribute to family connections with England or Scotland.
In 1859 a hotel known as the Half-way House was established on Woodside Farm. The village that grew around it flourished as a coaching stop for several years. At its peak, besides the hotel, Woodside village boasted stables, a school, two churches, two stores and a post office.
When the railway bypassed it in 1875, Woodside began a slow decline. The hotel burnt down in 1893. The school was shifted to Manurewa in 1906, as was the Methodist church in 1909.
After the Wiri Post Office was opened in 1908, Woodside became generally known as Wiri. This was a contraction of the name Wirihana. honouring the 19th century Te Akitai chief, Ihaka Takaanini sometimes called Wirihana Takanini, and his son Te Wirihana Takaanini.
In 1983 Manukau City Council formally renamed central Wiri as ‘Manukau Central’. Today ‘Wiri’ is used to refer to the adjacent industrial area and survives in such names as the Wiri Licensing Trust. ‘Woodside’ survives in the name of the Woodside Methodist Cemetery and Early Settlers’ Memorial, outside Rainbow’s End, on Manukau Station Road.