The orchestra was established in 1974 by Eric Craig MBE and the incorporated society was formed two years later in 1976 with the objectives - to establish and maintain a symphony orchestra of young people and to promote and foster music in the community, particularly among young people.
The Orchestra rehearsed and performed both locally and overseas until the early 1980s when the number of members became insufficient to maintain the consistent high level and quality of performance that had been accomplished.
The orchestra remained in recess from the mid 1980s until the beginning of 2000 when it was re-established by Joseph Allan. One year later a new group for younger string players was formed called the Manukau Youth Orchestra Junior Strings.
In 2002 the society received major support from the Manukau City Council ensuring a strong future for the orchestra.