Sediment cores from Lake Pupuke in Auckland City, New Zealand, contain a high-resolution millennial to centennial-scale record of changing climate and catchment hydrology spanning the past ca. 10 000 years. Here, we focus on the period between 9500 ± 25 and 7000 ± 155 cal. yr BP during which grain size, diatom palaeoecology, biogenic silica concentrations, sediment elemental and carbon isotope geochemistry reflect changes in sediment sources and lake conditions, with a significant event commencing at ca. 8240 cal. yr BP, commensurate with a lowering of lake level, faster erosion rates and increased sediment influx with a duration of ca. 360 yrs. However, the changes in the lake are not reflected in the terrestrial vegetation, where the pollen record indicates that podocarp forest dominated the Auckland region, with apparent environmental stability during this part of the early Holocene. The synchronous change in most of the proxies between ca. 8240 and 7880 cal. yr BP at Lake Pupuke indicates the presence of a sustained episode of relatively low lake level and concomitant increased rate of erosion in the early Holocene that appears to be at least partly coeval with the 8200 cal. yr BP meltwater event proposed for the North Atlantic region. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.