Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Auckland's theatre on the Haymarket -- His Majesty's Theatre and Arcade (1902-1987)

His Majesty's Arcade in Queen Street, 1970s. 435-B5-239, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries.

A number of vanished landmarks in Auckland’s history come up as examples of what we have lost over time. Many, with the mere mention, still raise passions. One of these is Queen Street’s His Majesty’s Theatre and Arcade (1902-1987). 

The land on which the arcade and theatre were once situated comprised part of two of the original Auckland land sale sections from the 1840s. Lots 15 and 16 of Section 16, City of Auckland, were bought in 1842 by one David Guillan. But this is about the only reference Guillan has in our history. He subdivided and sold his 2 roods 24 perches of land completely by 1848, and was not heard from again. 

The Haymarket 

By 1860, Alfred Buckland, the renowned stock agent and auctioneer from Newmarket, had
possession of a large part of both 15 and 16. He set up first his Bazaar Sale Yards from August 1859 (mainly taking over Henry Hardington’s horse sales business), then from October 1860 he took the Queen Street to Durham Lane operation a bit more further – and renamed it the Haymarket, building offices at the Queen Street frontage. 

That name is an old one. The original Haymarket is in London, a street in the City of Westminster, part of the West End, and was used from Elizabethan times through to 1830 as a place for farmers to sell fodder (hence the name) and produce. 

Buckland’s Haymarket here in Auckland was to last from 1859, as the Bazaar, through to the beginning of 1902. He subdivided around 2/3 of the Queen Street frontage in the 1860s and transferred this to Bishop John Coleridge Patteson. On Patteson’s death in 1871, killed on the island of Nukapu in the Solomon Islands, his estate went to the Melanesian Trust Board (who still retain ownership of that part of the former arcade property to this day.) 

As with many other land holdings Buckland had in Auckland, mortgages caught up with him by the late 1880s and from 1887, his Haymarket passed to the ownership of the Bank of New Zealand, and their Assets Realisation Board ten years later. They leased the property back to Buckland, his son, and his son-in-law Henry Thomson Gorrie, and the Haymarket continued for a time.

(Image above: NZ Graphic 20 June 1903, NZG-19030620-1737-1, Sir George Grey Special Collections)

The fact that His Majesty’s Theatre existed at all really is due to two men. 

The businessman: Robert Henry Abbott 

The spokesman for the syndicate, and likely organiser of the project Robert Henry Abbott (1861-1927) was born in North Molten, Devonshire, son of Richard (a farmer with 140 acres according to the 1871 English census) and Elizabeth. According to his obituary, he was apprenticed at the age of 15 to a soft goods house in London, took up studies at King’s College at 19, then entered the civil service with the Admiralty Department for about 18 months. Then, he embarked on a “tour of adventure around the world” in 1882, visiting France, Spain, Portugal, Rio de Janeiro, South Africa, Australia, and finally New Zealand by 1884. 

Here, he stayed, setting up his business from 1885, retailing soft goods for 6 years, then formed the warehouseman and wholesale merchants firm of Abbott, Oram and Co, then some years later R H Abbott & Co. He retired from business in 1911, erected blocks of retail premises around the city, and served on boards of directors, including as Chairman of the Waiatarua Drainage Board, purchasing 100 acres of the reclaimed area around Mt St John and presenting it to Auckland City as a sports park. He bequeathed £1000 to the City for either a set of entry gates to the park, or a drinking fountain there. Abbotts Way, from Ladies Mile to Panmure, was named after him. He died on Saturday evening, 23 April 1927, after being in poor health for some time. 

Neither of the obituaries in the Herald or the Star referred to his connection with His Majesty’s Arcade and Theatre. 

Buckland’s Haymarket site was formally sold to Abbott in June 1902 (who immediately put the property in the name of the His Majesty’s Arcade and Theatre Company Ltd, of which he was chairman), but Abbott obviously had a firm agreement with the Assets Realisation Board by December 1901. A 50-year lease was taken out with the Melanesian Mission Trust Board for their land just in front of the theatre site, to form the bulk of the arcade, from 1 April 1902.

(Image above: NZ Herald 29 April 1927)

In December 1901 Abbott made a statement to the newspapers about the project: 

It was announced in the Herald several weeks ago that a syndicate had been formed in Auckland for the erection of a new theatre, since when the matter has been quietly pursued until at the present moment the arrangements are complete, plans of the new playhouse well in hand, and the erection of the building within an appreciable distance of being commenced. Until details had been definitely settled the members of the syndicate and others concerned maintained a proper reticence, but now we are able to place full particulars before the public relative to the entire scheme by means of an interview granted to a Herald reporter yesterday by Mr R H Abbott, a prominent member of the syndicate, who, in reply to our representative's queries, gave the required information. 
"I fancy," said Mr. Abbott, "that there is an idea abroad that the scheme had been abandoned. I assure you it is nothing of the sort. We (the syndicate) have secured three-quarters of an acre of ground behind and alongside of the Metropolitan Hotel in Queen-street, and we intend building a handsome block at a cost of £20,000 or more. This will contain a row of shops facing Queen-street, suites of offices, a commercial travellers' club, additions to the Metropolitan Hotel, and a wide avenue or arcade running from Queen-street to the theatre at the back. 
“I have gone to very great trouble to ensure the theatre being a thoroughly up-to-date playhouse, and with that object in view I went to Australia to consult the leading theatrical managers and architects. Whilst there I inspected the various Sydney theatres, and then went on to Melbourne. In the latter city I was shown round the different theatres by the Hon Wm Pitt, the celebrated architect, who is, I might explain, the only one in Australasia who has successfully constructed theatres. Messrs J C Williamson and Harry Rickards, the leading theatrical managers, will not look at a theatre unless it has been either constructed by or improved by Mr. Pitt. Therefore you will see that I was in the best possible hands, and in the best position to secure what I went over for. Mr Pitt chaperoned me through all the theatres, both in front of and behind the scenes, and I learned that in his opinion the best theatre in Australasia is the Princess, Melbourne. After considerable thought, and after discussion with numerous theatrical managers, we have therefore decided to build our new playhouse on the same lines as the Princess Theatre. 
“From this plan," continued Mr. Abbott, producing a detailed sketch, you will note that "we are building His Majesty's Theatre (by which name our new playhouse will be known) with two tiers. The ground floor will be occupied by the usual orchestral stalls, stalls and pit; the first tier will comprise the dress circle, and above that will be the family circle. Also there will be six private boxes, three on either side of the proscenium, one above the other. The theatre will seat 1700 people, but its construction is so well designed that it will look comfortably filled with half that number. All Pitt's theatres have a considerable slope in the floorings. The seating accommodation is so constructed that absolutely every position in the auditorium will command an uninterrupted view of the stage. The dimensions of the latter will be 50ft by 60ft (the same as the Melbourne Princess), being extra large so as to admit of Bland Holt's spectacular productions, his horses, Derby and regatta scenes, being properly staged. 

Auckland Weekly News, 25 January 1906, AWNS-19060125-11-2, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries

“We have arranged for the latest patent sliding roof, which on the hottest summer day or night will most effectually ventilate and cool the theatre. We have also entered into arrangements for beautifully decorated metal ceilings, dome, proscenium, and balconettes of the latest type. Mr Phil Goatcher, the great scenic artist of Australia, has been engaged to come over and superintend the decoration of the entire theatre, including the scenery. 
"There will be six entrances to the building, one each to the stalls and pit, and two to the family circle from Durham-street, and one each to the orchestral stalls and dress circle from Queen-street, by way of the arcade. At the back of the dress circle there will be a Deluxe lounge fitted with luxurious ottomans, etc., and also a commodious crushroom, 30ft by 40ft, with up-to-date cloakrooms attached. There will also be a handsome glass-roofed promenade for the occupants of the dress circle and orchestral stalls, situated at the end of the arcade from Queen-street. Patrons of these seats will be accommodated with the very latest type of imported iron swing chairs, upholstered in peacock-blue plush, whilst for the cheaper parts of the house plain, but comfortable, seating will be provided. We are also importing a specially manufactured rich peacock-blue drop curtain, embroidered with gold fringe and a centre motto. For the act-drop we are seeking a suitable subject depicting New Zealand scenery. 
"We have gone to very great pains also to study the comfort of actors and actresses, and intend constructing roomy and well-appointed dressing-rooms both on and beneath the stage fitted up with all the latest appliances. Everything will be of an up-to-date nature in connection with the facilities for scene-shifting, including a well-fitted and lofty grid over the stage. 

Auckland Weekly News 28 September 1905, AWNS-19050928-10-1, Sir George Grey special Collections, Auckland Libraries

"The theatre will be bounded on three sides by streets, and the utmost precautions will be taken to provide ready exits from all parts to obviate danger in case of fire or alarm. The lighting of the theatre will be in gas though it will be wired ready for the installation of electric lighting if that can be arranged. 
"Mr Pitt is supplying all the plans and details of the new playhouse, and these will be carried out in conjunction with Mr Mahoney, the well-known local architect. The plans are on the boards and rapidly nearing completion. I expect to receive them on Monday next, and anticipate that we shall be calling tenders for the theatre in two or three weeks. At the latest it will be available for theatrical productions by December, 1902. 
“We think that on completion the theatre we are aiming at will altogether entrance the Auckland public when they set foot in it.
"I may say" proceeded Mr Abbott, “that what induced us to think of a theatre was an offer we received from Mr P K Dix, who has agreed to take it on lease for 10 years. In this matter Mr Dix has shown very commendable enterprise, and will now command the leading theatres in the four principal cities of the colony. It is solely due to his enterprising spirit that Auckland is to get a thoroughly up-to-date theatre, equal to any existing in Australasia. In the details of the theatre construction we have received very valuable assistance from Mr Dix's Auckland manager. Mr C R Bailey, whose extensive knowledge of theatres and intimate acquaintance with all details in their construction have considerably aided us. Mr Bailey has been of still greater assistance to Mr Dix, who in his agreement with us, thanks to his manager's influence, has stipulated for the most modern and up-to-date equipments and appointments in every direction. 
“An important point I wish you to note," said Mr. Abbott, "is that it is a distinct understanding between lessee and owners that Mr Dix shall sub-let His Majesty's Theatre to all first-class theatrical companies visiting the colony. At the same time the best class of variety business is now highly popular in Australia, and is likely to develop in public favour to such an extent that Mr Dix, who is in the front rank of this class of entertainment, will easily fill his new theatre between whiles, as his position as a leading impresario is fully recognised not only in New Zealand, but in Australia.” (NZ Herald, 12 December 1901)

Contractor J D Jones was tasked to dismantle the old Haymarket structures by the middle of February 1902. His tender of £20,499 to erect the His Majesty’s Theatre and block of shops on Queen Street and Durham Street West (the arcade) was accepted on 11 March 1902. The theatre was to be completed in six months, and the shops in seven months. 

I do wonder whether it was coincidence or not that the Auckland His Majesty’s Theatre was built on the old Buckland Haymarket, while the one in London was built on the Haymarket Road. 

The impresario: Percy Reginald Dix 

The second man with primary responsibility for His Majesty’s coming into being, as Abbott
mentioned in his 1901 interview – was theatrical entrepreneur Percy Reginald Dix (1866-1917). According to the entry for him in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, he was born in Launceston, Tasmania, the son of chemist Richard Porrett Dix and his wife Emma Elizabeth Nelson Thame. Dix’s initial ambition was to follow in his father’s footsteps and be a chemist as well, even passing his first examinations, but then flagged it away for a move to Melbourne, and employment in the tea industry. He shifted to Auckland in 1891, setting up his tea merchandising business. 

In 1895, Dix began leasing the City Hall theatre, staging popular concerts, in opposition to Fullers and their Opera House. When Fullers brought in vaudeville, Dix followed suit in 1899 with his “Dix’s Gaiety Company”. As Fullers gradually shifted away from first Auckland, then their next base in Wellington, ultimately heading over the Tasman, Dix seems to have taken the opportunity to fill the void, and in July 1901 established a business relationship with the entrepreneur and comedian Harry Rickards, another name referenced by Abbott in his interview with the Herald reporter. 

His Majesty’s Theatre, probably Dix’s crowning achievement, opened on 26 December 1902. The first performance was by J S Williamson’s Musical Comedy Company with A Runaway Girl. Dix was set up with a ten-year-lease, and in the absence of Fullers the likely domination of the light theatrical business in Auckland. 

But, Fullers returned to Auckland in 1903, and Dix once again faced stiff opposition. Not even the grandeur of His Majesty’s seemed able to help his financial affairs. By the beginning of April, 1903, four months after His Majesty’s opened, Dix was leaving Auckland and his other venue the City Hall theatre behind him, with his “right hand man” Charles Rauger Bailey left to manage His Majesty’s in his stead for the remainder of the lease (formerly put into Bailey’s name from September 1903). Elsewhere, Dix lowered admission prices, and even introduced short motion pictures onto the bill at Wellington’s Theatre Royal. But by late August 1905, he’d packed up his Gaiety Company and headed back to Australia. He did relatively well over there, tapping into the growing market for “the flickers” – but in 1917, after suffering a stroke the year before, Dix died in New South Wales.

(Image above: via Auckland Art Gallery)

A theatre in a changing world 

Any advantages His Majesty’s Theatre would have had in Auckland began to evaporate with the return of Fullers, followed by the development of urban and suburban cinemas and performing halls. Bailey was replaced as lessee by Allan Doone, an Irish singing comedian, in 1915; then J C Williamson Ltd from 1916 until the theatre was purchased by Kerridge Odeon in the 1980s.

The theatre owners celebrated 50 years in December 1952. By then, the interior modelling, after the style of the Melbourne Princess theatre, had been altered substantially through renovations, and the needs of the various productions staged there. The concrete floor had to be dug up for a production of Kismet, for example. The peacock blue of the dress circle seats were long gone. The image on the drop curtain of King Edward VII in military uniform, no longer graced the stage. Much of the scenic art overseen by Phil Goatcher had been painted over. The sliding roof still worked on hot nights, “the top of the dome being opened by hand winch and the roof above slid back by a rope. It has not been unknown for sudden rain to cause the audience to shelter under the programmes,” the Herald advised.
return of the Fullers Company to Auckland, followed by the development from 1910 of urban and suburban performance halls and motion picture cinemas on the isthmus and North Shore. The 1920s and 1930s saw the rise of the likes of the St James and the Civic Theatre – His Majesty’s, tucked away at the end of an arcade, increasingly became just another venue as the 20th century progressed. As the Herald put it in December 1952: “The glitter of His Majesty’s forst 20 to 25 years will probably never return. The motion picture, which developed as a serious rival about ten years after the theatre was built, has steadily gained in public favour, and ahead lies television.” 

The old His Majesty’s Arcade and Theatre Company was taken over at some point by J C Williamson & Son (files at Archives NZ for the old company go to c.1985), who put the theatre and arcade on the market in 1976. The annual ground rental for the Melanesian Mission property alone was $51,000, but the company earned $10,000 less than this from the shop rentals along the arcade. The City Council responded at the time by setting up a special sub-committee to look into purchasing the site – but the $1.25 million asking price was too steep. The Council at the time advised they were powerless to prevent demolition by applying a special designation to the building, due to the “reasonable development” clause of the then-governing act. The theatre also needed to be brought up to earthquake and fire standards. The council still considered the building to be of significant heritage value, and by then the Historic Places Trust had given it a category 2 on its register. Eventually, Auckland City Council gave the theatre-arcade complex a B on their schedule – but the owners appealed in 1977, and it was reduced to the lower level of protection of C.

(Image above: Auckland Star 22 December 1987)

Williamsons finally sold their property, and the renewed lease (from 1955) with the Melanesian Mission Board, to Kerridge Odeon Corporation in late April 1981. Kerridge Odeon initially indicated keenness to continue to stage live shows in the theatre. However, tenants in the arcade became alarmed once it was realised that their leases, which ran out at the end of 1986, did not seem to be in line to be renewed. Early in 1987, the company admitted that the cost of bringing the old structure up to standard was too high. By then, pigeons roosted in the non-functioning sliding roof, and alterations made for the My Fair Lady stage show in the 1960s had changed what remained of the original interior even more. 

From AAA Journal, October 1979

The last show in the theatre was Vince Carmen’s magic show, which ended 21 December 1987. Kerridge Odeon advertised the building for sale by auction for the following February. The upcoming opening of the Aotea Centre also meant that any refurbishment costs Kerridge Odeon might have put into His Majesty’s were unlikely, in their opinion, to be recovered. The situation wasn’t helped by comments such as those made by City Councillor Phil Warren, who described His Majesty’s as “a rat-infested dump with no artistic, historic or architectural significance.” Hamish Keith disagreed, saying that the councillors should lead the way and not let developers “walk all over them.” 

Added to this – by then, Kerridge Odeon itself had been taken over by Pacer Pacific Corporation, to become Pacer-Kerridge. Demolition of the building now became imperative. 

NZ Herald, 5 January 1988

Demolition work began on the night of 23-24 December 1987. Protestors gathered, and the Council inspector was summoned, gaining entry at 1am to tell the workmen inside to cease, as the demolition permit, applied for by Pacer Corporation, had only been lodged the day before. The permit was granted anyway on 31 December 1987, and the demolition proceeded in the new year on 3 January with a crane arriving to remove the roof, the stage was demolished 13 January, and the point of no return was reached by around 14 January 1988 when most of the rear of the theatre was destroyed. 29 protestors were arrested for trespass and obstruction at this time.

Both the Herald and the Auckland Star seemed to be partial, in the opinion of many at the time, to the cause of the developers, the Herald even taking Prince Charles to task for speaking out for the theatre’s continued existence. Dinah Holman, with Historic Places Trust, was scathing of the Council processes, claiming that she understood a permit wouldn’t be granted until 5 January (so she had left town to go on holiday). 

The site, when all remains had been cleared, remained empty for years. Kerridge Odeon transferred the land and Melanesian Mission lease to Silversea Enterprises in September 1989. Planning approval was granted in September 1991 for the vacant lots to be used as carparks. The main site was transferred to Pacific Regency (Auckland) Limited in October 1994, who planned a 20-storey development for the site. Today, the main site is a mixture of unit titles, while the Melanesian Property lease was renewed by Dynasty Hotel Investments Limited for a term of 21 years in 1997.

What had been there -- today is just memories, and enduring less-than-positive opinions as to heritage protection in our city.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Guest Post: Our Role Model, Tom Skeates

It is with great pleasure that I republish (by kind courtesy) author Jacqui Knight's article on Tom Skeates, the West Auckland monarch butterfly enthusiast. Originally published in Issue 12 of Moths and Butterflies of New Zealand published by the Moths and Butterflies of NZ Trust.

Colour images taken from this blog. Historic images from Dick Scott's Fire on the Clay, supplied by Jacqui Knight.

A few years ago the Waitakere City Council paid tribute to some of the original settlers with beautiful artwork around the streets. Among those people recognised was one dedicated to Tom Skeates. 

If you’ve been enjoying rearing monarch butterflies for a few years you will have on numerous occasions had friends and family ask you how and when your hobby started. We may remember the event that triggered it – perhaps it was a child’s unanswered question, or you may recall a parent showing you the wonders of the monarch’s metamorphosis. 

We know that the first monarchs were reported in NZ in the 1840s, and that they flew/blew here. But few people know about Tom Skeates, who in the early 1900s worked so hard to ensure that the monarch was here to stay. 

Tom lived in the Waitakere Ranges, just north of Titirangi on the Scenic Drive. He bred monarchs inside his house, using both swan plant and Asclepias curassavica, the latter often referred to as tropical milkweed or bloodflower. 

His house was eccentric as Tom himself. It was built in a grove of tall native timber and in fact built around one particular tree. Sadly, the house was pulled down some years ago and all evidence of this treasure has been lost. 

As Tom bred more and more monarchs he would pack the butterflies into a purpose-built box, carefully padded, and take them by bus to various parts of the city to release. 

Many children would be invited to his home to witness the wonders of the monarch. Tom’s knowledge was extensive, and he was willing to share it. For many years, from about 1929, he learned about the monarch and contributed articles to newspapers and school journals. And an amazing fact is that the information he published seventy of so years ago is still verified by entomologists today – a rare thing indeed for someone unqualified as Tom was; he was way ahead of his time. 

According to the Auckland Star of 1939, he was ‘especially keen that the young should realise that the monarch is a valuable and beautiful addition to NZ’s fauna, and as such should be cultivated... as a lovely, harmless creature which does much to add to the beauty of our gardens, parks, and countryside’. 

As I talk to members of the MBNZT Tom’s name comes up time and time again. 

A few years ago I had a phone call from a very upset member in Taranaki who had bought swan plants from a New Plymouth hardware store but her caterpillars had then all died. I told her to move the caterpillars onto other plants, but also that the store should be warned as they would not want to be selling plants that had been sprayed. 

When I phoned the store to alert the manager we got talking about monarchs and the incredible journey that they take us on. He told me of his aunt, Kathleen Rothwell, who had known Tom Skeates personally as he had been a distant cousin. Kathleen then lived in Milford and remembered him well. 

She told me how he had visited schools and parks and released monarchs in the Auckland Domain and Albert Park. She told me “As a child, our family lived in the Waikato and I can remember one occasion when Tom came to stay,” she said. “He told us about the monarch and the next week we received a parcel – a tobacco tin containing monarch chrysalises, very carefully packed in cotton wool. 

“And that started a lifelong interest in these butterflies.” 

Another member that remembers Tom Skeates is Caryl Hamer: 

“Our family lived across the road from Tom Skeates,” she told me. “He and my mother were great friends and I remember her telling me that he’d rung up after midnight one night to invite her to come over and watch a Gum Emperor moth hatching. She did of course – and told us all about it the next day.” 

Caryl came across an article about him in a book celebrating the 125-year anniversary of Titirangi School which she attended as a child. 

“He came to NZ from Bristol, England and had a saddler’s and then an ironmonger’s shop in Auckland, before retiring to Titirangi to study and breed monarchs. The article noted that he ‘proved beyond a doubt that the monarch’s life was longer than the average butterfly.” 

Tom used to invite Caryl and her sister over to watch the monarchs wriggle their way out of their chrysalises. 

“He always let us use the thick grassy slopes behind his house to romp and roll down,” she said. “He also bought a section full of native trees up the road, making a series of wandering paths through them, with rough wooden seats where you could sit and listen to the fantails or watch the fat kereru balancing on the high branches. There was a wooden sign on the gate with ‘Paradise Regained’ on it.” 

“And I guess that’s exactly what Tom Skeates was all about.” 

Tom Skeates’ story is very well documented in Dick Scott’s book Fire on the Clay, a history of West Auckland. As Dick Scott says on page 159 of his book: “Tom Skeates’ vision was of a sky filled with a golden cloud of butterflies, a slow-moving cloud that gently rose and fell, and then came down to earth to touch man with its glow. He saw outstretched arms, softly brushing wings, and the eyes of children absorbed in the wonder of it all.” 

So perhaps as we work on looking after our butterflies and moths we aren’t as eccentric as some people might think. Tom was, after all, a pioneer in teaching others about Nature and metamorphosis. I am sure that he would approve of what we are doing today. 


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Excessive Dancing a peril at Onehunga, 1875

(From Auckland Star, 9 April 1875)

 Death at Onehunga from Excessive Dancing

There is no doubt but that the penalties which follow almost every kind of pleasure proceed from the immoderate use of such pleasure, and frequently lead to fatal results, and an inordinate love of dancing is no exception to the universal rule as the death of the young lady, Miss Nixon, of Onehunga, testifies, and which may serve as a homily for the study of young persons generally.

Catherine Matilda Nixon was the eldest daughter of Mr James Nixon, an old and respected inhabitant of Onehunga. Being of a cheerful disposition she was excessively fond of dancing, and rarely missed an opportunity of mingling with the gay and giddy throng. Some weeks ago, her health was impaired by the influences of the ball-room and the night air, and she was prostrated in consequence.

The Hibernian Ball at the Onehunga Hall was announced for Monday the 22nd, and although she had not sufficiently recovered, the old love awoke within her, and she injudiciously attended the ball, and danced through the hours of the night until nature gave way, and she sank completely exhausted. She was conveyed to the residence of her parents, where, in her critical state, she received every attention and the best medical advice that could be procured.

She gradually got worse, and on Wednesday evening died at the early age of nineteen. Her dying wish was that the members of the Hibernian Society, with whom she had spent so many hours, might follow her remains to their last resting place. In accordance with that wish the members of that Society from Auckland and the Thames will assemble (at a place to be named) in full regalia on Sunday next to attend the funeral, the time and place of meeting to be announced by advertisement so soon as the committee have arranged in respect either of the railway or other conveyances.

We may mention the fact, which has come within our own knowledge, that, however advantageous dancing may be in moderation to the physical system, several young ladies in, Auckland have had a narrow escape of their lives through over-indulgence in this otherwise healthful exercise.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Beside Te Wai Ariki: from the Mason's Hotel to the Hotel Cargen

Rev John Kinder drawing of Eden Crescent looking west. Old St Pauls on the horizon, part of the Royal Hotel complex centre-right. 4-1208, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries

On spotting some early photos of Eden Crescent via the Te Papa Museum collection recently, I felt the urge to look into the story of the second Royal Hotel. Said story turned out to be somewhat more involved than I imagined.

28 September 1925, 4-1975, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries

The landscape remains almost the same, even if the buildings have changed, as seen in these first three images.

 Eden Crescent, looking east towards former Hotel Cargen. Photo: L Truttman, 14 September 2014

 On to the story.

 Detail from Plan of the Town of Auckland, Charles Heaphy, 1851 (NZ Map 816, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries)

The original name for Official Bay, once a line of beach separated from Commercial Bay to the west by Point Britomart, and just along from Mechanics Bay to the east, was Waiariki. Te Keene, of Ngati Kahu and Ngati Poataniwha, testified at the Native Land Court in December 1866 that local iwi had plantations there, no doubt supplied by the almost never-failing Te Waiariki spring from the Waterloo Quadrant ridge and Albert Park. The spring still runs beneath the site of the Royal Hotel/Cargen.

Initial land sales at Official Bay were quite early. That for Lot 6 of Section 8, City of Auckland occurred in 1842, when Dudley Sinclair bought this and other sections around the city. He didn't live long, with an ignominious end in 1844.

"Lachlan McLachlan, who had come to Auckland in connection with the Manukau Land Company's enterprise, was called an adventurer by Dudley Sinclair, eldest son of Sir George Sinclair. McLachlan challenged him and, failing to receive an answer, called on Sinclair and whipped him with his own horse whip. Sinclair wished to challenge McLachlan but Conroy, Sinclair's second, advised against it. Sinclair committed suicide soon after, on 22 October, the inquest returning a verdict of temporary insanity."

Suicide in a truly brutal fashion -- Sinclair cut his own throat.

Probate of Sinclair's will was granted in December 1844 to William Smellie Grahame as executor, but it wasn't until April 1846 that Sinclair's personal effects were put up for auction. His selection of real estate around the town was sold soon after. The title to section 9 of 6, the corner site of Short Street and Eden Crescent, was transferred to a purchaser named Martin in November 1847.

In January 1849, an advertisement appeared in the New Zealander for the sale of a commodious house just two sections away from the corner of Short Street and Eden Crescent. Connell & Ridings advised prospective buyers, "It could readily be thrown into one concern and would be very suitable for a grocery store or Public House, much wanted in that neighbourhood. There is a constant run of Fresh water on the Premises." Less than three months later, we see Alfred C Joy appear, applying in April for a publican's licence for his new hotel in Official Bay, the Mason's Hotel. It is as if Joy answered the neighbourhood's much wanted need, as per the January advertisement.

Joy's new hotel was the original wooden building at the corner of Short Street and Eden Crescent, seen below in a detail from an image by George Pulman, photographed probably in the early 1860s. It was in a perfect position to take advantage of traffic to and from Wynyard Pier at the end of Short Street from 1851-1852.

In April 1852, the licence for the Mason's Home/Hotel was transferred to James Palmer. Previously, he'd tried for a licence for the Oddfellows Home in Mechanics Bay the year before. Palmer is someone familiar to me due to his later connections with the Whau Hotels and Banwell. Palmer (1819-1893) left Plymouth bound for New Zealand on 4 December 1842 on the Westminster, arriving 31 March 1843.He may have been the James Palmer applying for a licence for the "Crispin Arms" somewhere on Eden Crescent in 1847, but that was likely just a very brief attempt at a hotel in the area before the Masons Home.

Palmer obtained title to section 7 right alongside the Mason’s Home in May 1853, and may have offered this for sale in March 1854 (an advertisement matches the description – SC 14 March). But, it turns out he hung onto the site instead, and expanded the hotel with a grand brick addition.

c1860s. "Looking east from Short Street, showing the north side of Eden Crescent with the Royal Hotel and the Auckland Club, hitching posts at hotel entrance," 4-28, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries

The Royal Hotel.— This fine building, which has been in course of erection for the past eighteen months, is now completed, and forms without exception the finest and most substantially constructed edifice in this city. Indeed, it is considerably in advance of the place and will, we are inclined to think, stand forth for some years to come as a favourable specimen of our srreet architecture. The front of the building, which is of Matakana stone, is chaste and simple in its design, and altogether free from those heavy attempts at architectural display which too often only tend to disfigure a building, and to exhibit the ignorance of the architect. From the street one can scarcely form an idea of the real size of the building, but from the water "it looms large," and has a very striking effect. The rooms are spacious and lofty, and fitted up with every regard to comfort. On the second floor, the long room, if not the largest, is certainly the best proportioned and most elegantly furnished in Auckland, and fully capable of accommodating a dinner party of forty. As a ball or concert room it is well adapted, and we should think would suit the Auckland Club, should they find it necessary to seek temporary accommodation, pending their obtaining premises of their own. A fine verandah, extending the whole width of the building, commands an extensive view seaward. The bedrooms are spacious, well ventilated, and remarkable for the neatness of their fittings and the cleanliness of their furniture. Indeed, the Royal Hotel is in every respect amply provided for the accommodation and comfort of its frequenters. At present, it lacks but one desideratum, a billiard table but this want will be soon supplied, a first class table having been ordered by Mr. Palmer from one of the best makers. The opening day was marked by a housewarming dinner, which came off last week, and which we are informed afforded unqualified satisfaction to a very numerous and respectable company.

Southern Cross 23 October 1857 p. 3

The Auckland Club shifted into the new building by 1858, and made it their permanent meeting space.

The following year, the license for the Royal Hotel as both buildings were now known went to Charles Joslin.

Southern Cross 1 October 1858

But, Joslin declared bankruptcy in September 1859, and Palmer once again tried selling his asset.

Southern Cross, 15 July 1859

Come October 1864, however, we see that Palmer not only retained title for the brick addition and its land, but obtains title for the original wooden hotel as well. Palmer's land dealings in this part of Eden Crescent are quite involved, taking in property on the other side of the road as well, part of the future drinks factory site for Grey & Menzies. Things came personally unstuck for him and his family when two of his sons drowned in April 1865, the bodies recovered and brought back to the hotel. In February 1868, a meeting of Palmer's creditors was held -- then, as later in the Whau, he had mortgaged himself to the hilt. One of his creditors was Henry Chamberlin, who was granted title to the brick addition and its land by the courts in March 1868 (DI 5A.892). In March 1869 came a notice in the newspapers of a sale by auction of the remainder Palmer's real estate, and this time it really did happen: Palmer left the Royal Hotel in 1870. In September that year, John Jacob Fernandez offered "hot luncheon, with English Ale and Porter, during sittings of the Supreme Court," the Royal being the nearest accommodation house to the courts up on the hill.

c.1869, "Looking east from Eden Crescent showing Short St (left), St Andrews Church (right), Royal Hotel (centre left) and the Supreme Court (right background)," Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries

In May 1871, Palmer conveyed the wooden hotel to Henry Beedle and Donald N Watson. Henry Beedell from August 1866 was in business as an ale and porter brewer on New North Road. With Watson and William McGlashan, Beedle was in various partnership setups until September 1866. From early 1872, they ran a bottling store in Wyndham Street, and as at 1873 owned a former hotel at Stokes Point on the North Shore. They sold the last of their interest in Lot 6 (6 and 8, at the rear of the later Cargen extension) with small cottages thereon in January 1876, as well as their brewery near New North and Mt Eden Roads, Lots 7-11 and 3 of section 3 of 2A and 2B of Section 10, Suburbs of Auckland (between Flower, Nikau and Karori Streets, Eden Terrace).

In February 1873, they sold their interest in the wooden hotel site to Chamberlin.

Chamberlin was an entrepreneur, landowner, and politician. The wooden and brick hotel at Eden Crescent was an investment to him and his family. He applied to have the licence put under his name in 1871; in August that year transferred to Richard Nicholson; then transferred the licence to Petert Boylan in 1873. By 1876, the brick Royal Hotel was back on the market, and in 1877 both buildings were. In November 1882, Chamberlin successfully sold the property to John Chadwick. The complex reopened as the "Old Club" the following month.

Auckland Star 19 December 1882

In September 1883, Chadwick transferred title to surveyor Charles Alma Baker, who had dealings in 1886-1887 with a solicitor named Alfred Edgar Whitaker, and an agent Henry Ernest Whitaker. The title transferred to them for a time, then back to Baker, then finally defaulted through unpaid mortgage to widow Elizabeth Chamberlin in 1888 (that year, her husband Henry drowned in a pond at Drury). The widow's interest was shared with her agent Edmund Augustus McKechnie, and he transferred interest to Charles Chamberlin by 1890 (rates books, Auckland Council Archives).

At some point around 1900-1902, the old wooden ex-hotel at the corner was demolished. A survey plan from 1902 shows a clear site, and the rates records from that time on refer only to the brick building.

DP 3070, LINZ records, crown copyright

Eden Crescent, c.1900. Only bare ground where the old 1849 wooden hotel on the corner once stood. The "shadow" of the building can be seen on the brick wall of the 1850s extension Palmer built. Te Papa museum collection, C.011096.

The last time the 1850s brick part of the hotel was referred to as "Old Club" was in 1905. In 1904, it  was up for sale, but the two sites (vacant corner and brick hotel) weren't sold until 1907. A "Glendowie House" appears in the papers in 1905, lately run by W J Ford ("Old Club") but from then run by Mrs Robertson. Basically, the brick hotel was a boarding house, known by more than one name. Until in 1907 when it became known as "Cargen", run by Mr and Mrs Edward Francis Black.

Then in 1908, a building permit was filed with Auckland City Council for a new wooden accommodation house on the corner site.

Detail from permit plan 353, AKC 339, Auckland Council Archives

The new building cost £1800, and was organised by Gregory Benmore Osmond, holder of the land title from August that year. The development was for the Blacks as Cargen Hotel Proprietary, and culminated in a 7-storey extension to the combined Cargen Hotel in 1912-1913, designed by R W de Montalk. This extension today is all that is left of the Cargen Hotel complex of three buildings. Cargen Proprietary remained as owner until 1939.

13 September 1927, showing the three buildings in the Hotel Cargen complex. 1-W841, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries

The Blacks left the Cargen in 1920, and sold the chattels in a much-reported event, opening up to the public the finery in the private hotel.

Auckland Star 11 June 1920

Auckland Star 2 July 1920

Bertha Braik was the next manager, from 1921 to around 1925, followed by Robert Chesny, a hotel manager with Hancock & Co, the brewery company already having a controlling interest in the business which culminated in their name on the title from 1939.

Looking east along Eden Crescent, the Cargen complex in the centre. 4-1973, 1925, Sir George Grey Special Collections.

Cargen complex at left. 28 December 1931, 4-4246, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries.

1925. From Anzac Ave, looking at the rear of the complex, left. Short Street at right. 4-1903, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries

Governors-General presided over Empire Day dinners and balls at the Hotel Cargen, Auckland each year on May 24 both between the wars, and after World War 2 (when the hotel was renamed Transtasman); Governor-General Lord Freyberg “used the day to deliver some of his hardest-hitting speeches,” according to nzhistory.net. The co-founder and foundation member of the NZ Chefs Association Inc., Sid Young, started his traineeship at the Cargen as a cook in 1935. In 1940, in the atmosphere of a number of corporates making donations to aid the war effort, Hancock & Co gave the hotel to the Auckland Hospital Board for use as a home for nurses. This gift meant a lot to the Board at the time, as they faced an accommodation bill of £11,000 a year for their staff. However, the original 1912 design of the eastern extension, and alterations done in 1924, was criticised in a report from consultants employed by the Board in 1942, with a number of defects, mainly concerning roof leaks but also involving rotted floors and balcony posts, showing up which brought the Board concern. 

The Hospital Board kept possession of the hotel, however, throughout the rest of the war years, and conveyed it back to Hancock & Co in 1946. Around 1947, the hotel was renamed Transtasman, and reopened to accommodate around 60 guests. However, the four main brewery companies (New Zealand Breweries, Dominion Breweries, Hancock and Company and Campbell and Ehrenfried) put a plan to the government to be permitted to demolish the original hotel and wooden building beside and erect a new 300 room hotel on the site. In 1955, Hancock & Co transferred ownership to Hotel Transtasman Ltd, and at some point after this, but before the United Empire Box Company (UEB) purchased the hotel in 1963, the 1908 and 1850s buildings were demolished, to create a carpark. By 1971, the remaining part of the hotel was a series of commercial offices, which it remains to this day. 

Detail from 1966 topo map, showing the cleared space beside the 1912-1913 extension to the Cargen. NZ Map 2049, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries

Detail from 1968 aerial, NZ Map 3249, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries

Eden Crescent, looking east from just opposite Short Street, 14 September 2014.

The remains of the Hotel Cargen -- the surviving 1913-1913 extension.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Mr Fritzschner's baby biplane dreams

Auckland Weekly News 31 August 1911, AWNS-19110831-16-3, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries.
Paul Fritzschner, eighteen-year-old son of Mr P. Fritzschner, a settler living on the main county road, Pahiatua has, during his spare moments in the past eighteen months, been working unaided on an aeroplane. A Pahiatua Herald representative was last week shown the aeroplane, which is of oblong shape and is built of light wood knitted together with wire. The inventor stated that when in full working order it should be capable of carrying about 300lbs. He claims that the design possesses advantages over other flying machines. His aeroplane will be easy to steer, and not liable to topple. The inventor clams for it that it will soar away like a bird, and that, covering the ground at the rate of ten miles an hour before rising, it should easily attain in the air a speed of a mile a minute. Fritzschner also states that the machine is so constructed that when the engine of 6 h.p., which has been specially made for the purpose and imported from England, has been installed, it will be possible for it to reach a good altitude, its movements being regulated by means of cords which he would manipulate from the ground. He hopes to make a trial shortly.

 (Manawatu Times 3 August 1911)

Fritzschner designed his baby biplane and completed in a market garden shed in August 1911. He was born in 1894, his German father arriving in the country in 1879. One or two trials were apparently run, before his father, fearing the extreme danger of the machine, set fire to it. (Info from A Passion For Flight, Errol W Martyn, 2013)

Less than 18 months later, however, in 1913 young Fritzschner was at it again, assisted by A Simmonds in Palmerston North to build another plane, away from his father's matches. They called their partnership the New Zealand Aviation Company. (Manawatu Times 6 January 1913) There, the story drifts away, nothing more known about the young aviator and his dreams.

Auckland Weekly News 31 August 1911, AWNS-19110831-16-4, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries.

A card from the Auckland Savage Club

A good friend of mine gave me the above undated promo card, dated from the period of the First World War to 1942, when Rev. Chappell died.
The Auckland Savage Club was established in June, 1888. Its chief objects are the development of artistic talent, and the promotion of good fellowship and rational amusement. Visitors of distinction are invited to attend the meetings, which are held on alternate Saturday evenings in the club room, Masonic Hall, Princes Street, from April to October of each year. The club, amongst its own members, possesses one of the finest orchestras in the city. Its present membership is 150, and its finances are in a flourishing condition.
(Cyclopedia of New Zealand, 1902)

The club itself was disestablished c.1990-1991.

But what of the hekeretari (secretary) of the club, A B Chappell? He was quite well-known, as it turns out.

The Rev. Albert Bygrave Chappell, M.A., well known in literary, education and scientific circles throughout New Zealand, died at his home in Auckland to-day, in his seventieth year. Mr. Chappell was a man of many intellectual interests and activities. and during his residence in Auckland they ranged from the Dickens Club to research and compilation of the province's historical records.

Born in Southsea, Portsmouth, England, in 1872, Mr. Chappell came to New Zealand with his parents at an early age, and when the family settled at Tauranga he attended the Tauranga school, going on later to the Palmerston North High School, Three Kings College, Prince Albert College and Canterbury University College to complete his education. He took his M.A. degree in Canterbury College, and also gained the first diploma in journalism granted in New Zealand. During the course of his studies he gained honours in political science and dialectics.

The Church claimed Mr. Chappell's first attention. In 1894 he entered the ministry of the Wesleyan Church, and he served in Wellington, Christchurch, Auckland, Feilding, Wanganui and New Plymouth. For two years he was organising secretary of the young people's movement. In 1917 he took the office of registrar of the Auckland University College, which he occupied for six years before resigning to take up an appointment on the editorial staff of the Auckland Herald, from which he retired last year. In his youthful days Mr. Chappell had had journalistic interludes, when he was connected with the Bay of Plenty Times, the Opotiki Mail and the Woodville Examiner. His very wide and diversified interests are indicated by the fact that he was secretary in the N.Z. Conference and Synods of the Church, served on school committees, high school boards and the Education Board in Taranaki, the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, was a founder of the Boy Scout movement, was on the council of the Young Citizens' league, a tutor for the W.E.A., prominently connected with the Dickens Club and the Savage Club, and was a leader in historical research records of the Auckland province. He continued with his ministerial duties to the last.

Mr. Chappell in 1908 married Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Mr. A. W. McKinney, of New Brighton, Christchurch, and had a family of three sons and three daughters.
(Auckland Star 28 August 1942)

Image of Rev Chappell from NZ Herald 29 August 1942.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

When Chinese shearers had to sleep separately ...

Image: William Jukes Steward, 1891. From Wikipedia.

A little known fact – in 1898, the New Zealand parliament passed the Shearers Accommodation Act, which contained apartheid-like clauses demanding separate accommodation for Chinese shearers apart from everyone else in the shearing sheds of the land.

The original Bill, without the paragraph, was brought to Parliament by William Jukes Steward (1841-1912), representing Waitaki, in 1896. It was intended to provide a standard of accommodation for workers, but ended up having bits attached to it from the race-related concerns at the time, during the colony’s Liberal government period. At the Bill’s second reading:

“Mr T. MACKENZIE … strongly objected to Chinamen being employed as shearers, and hoped the bill would contain a clause providing for separate sleeping accommodation for shearers apart from that provided for Chinamen.” (Otago Witness, 16 July 1896)

The Workers Union in Waimate approved the Bill, “especially with clauses 8 and 9, which deal with separate accommodation, for members of the Chinese race who may be employed on the stations…” (Oamaru Mail 29 July 1896), and it passed the Lower House. The Legislative Council initially threw the Bill out, but it passed its second reading with them in October 1897.

The Act was consolidated in 1908 as the Shearers' and Agricultural Labourers' Accommodation Act, which was amended in 1919 by the Shearers' Accommodation Act 1919 which repealed some sections (5 to 9) of the 1908 Act, but not Section 11: “Where agricultural labourers are of any Asiatic race, the employer shall provide for such Asiatic labourers separate and distinct sleeping-accommodation from that provided for other agricultural labourers …” This was finally repealed, along with the rest of the 1908 Act, under the Agricultural Workers Act 1936.

So, after 38 years, separate accommodation for Chinese workers in the shearing industry was abolished.

The Second Triennial Timespanner Auckland Local Boards Heritage Survey

Back in March 2011, I published a simple bit of a survey into how many times "heritage" was referred to in draft annual plans produced by the 21 Local Boards in the Auckland Council region. This included all references to heritage, including natural -- in many cases, the only reference found.

This year, I had a look at the 21 draft Local Plans issued by the boards. Again, using the .pdf versions available online, I used the keyword "heritage". Heritage does appear in all of the draft local plans, but the degrees of detail and the instances of actual action points regarding what each board intends to do or to support or facilitate in the way of cultural or built heritage varies.

If  I've missed any vital points out, drop me a line.

Italics are direct quotes from the draft plan documents.

  • With mana whenua, we will undertake a Māori cultural heritage study to identify sites of significance in Albert-Eden, including wāhi tapu, urupā and places of traditional importance.
  • We will continue our programme of historic and character heritage surveys to identify buildings for possible future protection, and will make this information public. The Balmoral survey was completed last term and we are now surveying Pt Chevalier, to be followed by Mt Eden. We will develop and expand the biennial Albert-Eden Bungalow Festival, which is aimed at residents of our bungalow suburbs and those with an interest in the distinctive character of local bungalows. The festival will help us develop a greater knowledge and appreciation of what we have.
  • We will advocate for our libraries to have better storage technology for oral history, so that it can be both secure and easy to access.
  • When we install or upgrade new signs in parks and along walkways we will, where appropriate, include heritage and archaeological information to tell the stories of the early people and landscapes of the area.
(4 points of action, but numerous other references to heritage. At the last survey, heritage was mentioned 3 times.)

Aotea-Great Barrier
  • The island’s heritage, be it pre-European or settler, cultural or natural, is an area that has been under-recognised to date.
  • Develop an island heritage plan
(1 point of action. At the last survey, no references to heritage were found.)

  • We will partner with mana whenua to explore the nature of that relationship by starting with local initiatives celebrating cultural heritage and Māori identity.
  • Telling our stories is extremely important to us and we will do this by developing a series of heritage trails across our area.
  • Restore the Fort Takapuna barracks in time for the centenary of World War One
    Initiate an annual civic heritage award
  • Produce brochures and web-based documents promoting local heritage
(5 points of action. At the last survey, 3 references to heritage were found)

  • We want to protect the look and feel of our towns and villages, many of which have special old buildings.
  • We will support events celebrating local heritage and the development of heritage trails that link and promote our natural and built heritage.
(2 points of action. At the last survey, 1 reference to heritage was found.)

Basically, the Board has this time put all its heritage eggs in one basket – focussing on the Corban Estate Arts Centre.
(1 point of action. At the last survey, no references to heritage were found)

Hibiscus and Bays 
  • The Hibiscus and Bays Area Plan includes actions that will support our historic heritage places and culturally significant landscapes to be identified, protected and celebrated over the next 30 years.
(1 point of action. At the last survey, no references to heritage were found)

  • We will complete our Heritage Plan which will guide the identity, preservation and protection of geological and archaeological sites and important local heritage sites.
(1 point of action. At the last survey, 1 reference to heritage was found)

  • We will develop Birkenhead, Northcote, Glenfield and Beach Haven while retaining their unique personalities and heritage character.
(1 point of action. At the last survey, 4 references to heritage were found.)

  • Build a heritage and visitor centre and promote Māngere-Ōtāhuhu as a destination (part of the Māngere Gateway Project) 
  • Completion of the heritage survey of historic buildings
 (2 points of action. At the last survey, 1 reference to heritage was found. )

  • Looking to the future, we need to ensure we conserve important elements of our past for generations to come, so they can learn about and enjoy them. We will do this by working with mana whenua with interests in the area and local heritage people to identify buildings, structures and places of importance. We will then make plans to save and, if necessary, restore them. 
(1 point of action. At the last survey, no reference to heritage was found. )

  • Work with ATEED to identify and promote the cultural, natural, recreational and heritage assets that exist within the local board area 
  • Develop a public-private partnership to investigate a pilot project for seismic strengthening of a typical unreinforced building in Onehunga 
  • Scope the delivery of the actions and recommendations from the 2013 Onehunga Heritage Survey 
  • Support efforts to preserve the Loombs Hotel. 
(4 points of action. At the last survey, 1 reference to heritage was found.)

  • As part of the action plan, we will also partner with Ngāti Whātua Orākei to improve and upgrade the Mission Bay steps area leading up to Bastion Point. This project aims to embed public art into the design of the upgrade to reflect the heritage of the area, draw in visitors, and create an iconic running route. 
  • … working with local residents, mana whenua, and heritage experts to explore ways to identify, reflect and showcase the cultural heritage and significance of our places. 
  • … we will advocate for funding to carry out heritage assessments for both pre-1944 and post-1944 buildings and character areas (e.g. Remuera and Ellerslie). 
(3 points of action. At the last survey, 1 reference to heritage was found. )

  • We will work with mana whenua in naming new council-owned facilities, roads and parks to reflect our local cultural heritage.
  •  … we will promote the heritage of Old Papatoetoe through a new museum and arts facility and by creating new events. 
(2 points of action. At the last survey, 2 references to heritage were found.)

  • Protection of Māori cultural heritage 
  • Know our heritage buildings and areas to protect 
(2 points of action. At the last survey, 1 reference to heritage was found.)

  • Ongoing implementation of Waikōwhai coast network plan including track development and heritage interpretative signage projects 
  • Continue Puketāpapa heritage survey with a focus on Manukau foreshore and key Mount Roskill civic and political identities 
  • Installation of heritage interpretative signage at key sites 
  • Develop Three Kings heritage trail with supporting infrastructure 
(4 points of action. At the last survey, no reference to heritage was found.)

  • Support and assist property owners’ efforts to preserve the historic aspects of their buildings through grants 
  • Our rich cultural history and vibrant local communities make us all proud. We will work with mana whenua in the naming of new local roads, parks and council-owned facilities, as we did with the Wellsford War Memorial Library, Te Whare Pukapuka o Wakapirau He Tohu Whakamaharatanga Ki NgāPakanga. This will go some way to ensuring that our cultural heritage is reflected locally. We also support council assistance in identifying sites of significance to iwi throughout Rodney. 
(2 points of action. At the last survey, no reference to heritage was found.)

Upper Harbour 
  • We have … bought two heritage buildings for the community to use in Hobsonville Point. Instead of building new facilities, we want to keep hold of our heritage and look after the two special buildings we already have. 
(1 point of action. At the last survey, no reference to heritage was found.)

  • Waiheke Island has a rich Māori and European history and there are a number of significant archaeological and heritage features, including pāand wāhi tapu sites, as well as Fort Stony Batter.
  • We will work with mana whenua to ensure their sites of cultural significance are protected and interpreted during the management and development of our open space network. We will develop interpretative signs, with heritage information and acknowledgment of mana whenua sites of cultural significance. 
(2 points of action. At the last survey, no reference to heritage was found.)

Waitakere Ranges 
  • In the last term, the local board delivered the first monitoring report required under the Heritage Area Act … One of the specific projects that have been developed as a consequence is for the local board to work with Auckland Transport to develop a design guide for the heritage area. 
  • The protection of our heritage values is a primary focus for this local board. The Waitākere Ranges has a large and diverse range of Māori and European heritage sites, especially in the coastal areas which were favoured for occupation and industry on account of the natural resources available. While 30-40 years ago, a great deal of work was done to identify these places, the Waitākere Ranges Heritage Area Monitoring Report has identified that these sites need to be more precisely mapped and their present condition assessed and reported on. As a first step the local board is funding a desktop study in 2014 to identify the information available and next steps for assessment and protection. 
  • We will look to prioritise an area for a heritage survey, perhaps Titirangi, and carry it out. 
  • The centenary of World War One is an important milestone for New Zealand with a great deal of community interest. We will be working with our communities to commemorate this period and learn more about New Zealanders who served and how the war impacted on local communities and families. 
(3 points of action, At the last survey, 4 reference to heritage were found, all to do with the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Protection Act.)

  • We support the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan’s approach to protecting heritage. 
  • We support scheduling Karangahape [Road?] as a historic heritage area. 
  • We will work with others to find cost effective ways to earthquake-strengthen our heritage buildings … Develop a guidebook on how to strengthen an earthquake prone building to Building Code standards 
  • We will encourage the preservation of buildings such as Carlile House, Myers Park Caretaker’s Cottage, Highwic House, Ewelme Cottage and Albert Park House. We are particularly keen to see Auckland Council purchase the St James Theatre to help preserve the building. 
  • People will be encouraged to understand our past by meandering along our heritage walkways, participating in hīkoi, reading our brochures and joining in events such as the Heritage Festival. ... Develop mobile applications to promote our heritage 
  • Completing the Parnell Train Station, incorporating the restored Newmarket Station, will improve services to Auckland University, the Domain and Parnell. Together with the Mainline Steam building, this will create an interesting heritage destination. 
  • … we will plan to update Pt Erin pool, ensuring any redevelopment remains sensitive to its heritage character. 
  • We will also work with local mana whenua and mataawaka as they advance their aspirations to meet social and cultural needs and promote Māori culture and heritage within Waitematā. 
(8 points of action. At the last survey, 1 reference to heritage was found.)

Their plan centres around “Design heritage” …
  • We will fund a coordinator role to support more locally organised activities that nurture, share and celebrate our creativity and build on our design heritage … We want to ensure that our ceramic and clothing design heritage is safe, displayed and is recognised as providing a launch pad for our flourishing creative community and businesses. We are supporting the Portage Ceramics Trust as it works to develop the sustainable storage and celebration of ceramics in the Whau. 
  • We will work with mana whenua, arts organisations and our heritage groups as we invest in more public art in our towns and parks in every community across the Whau to acknowledge our stories, our challenges and our aspirations. 
  • Heritage building assessments 
  • Additional street signs that tell the stories of our street names 
(4 points of action. At the last survey, 1 reference to heritage was found.)