The waterfront neighbourhood of Wynyard Quarter wasn’t always a spot where you could have your feet planted firmly on dry land. Before being reclaimed, it was the tidal shoreline of the Waitematā Harbour, and looked very different to what you see today.
Once a tidal shoreline
The area of Wynyard Quarter used to be a mahinga kai (food-gathering place), and many pa (fortified villages) were built on the headlands with easy access down to the water. Waka were dragged ashore or launched for fishing expeditions, and people would wade in the low tide to collect shellfish and catch flounder.
Many points along the water’s edge had names that derived from how people interacted with the location. For example, Freemans Bay was once called Wai Kokota (Cockle Bay), and Kauri Point was once called Mangonui (Big Shark).
Wynyard Quarter rises
The Western Reclamation, now known as Wynyard Quarter, was progressively constructed by Ports of Auckland's predecessor, the Auckland Harbour Board, to provide additional berthage capacity and flat land for port related activities, with the last component of the reclamation being completed in 1930. The area was initially utilised by the timber trade, then in the 1930s, it started to be used for bulk petro-chemical storage, leading to the area becoming known as the 'Tank Farm'.
Times of change
Changes to the way fuel was supplied to Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland meant that much of the land was no longer required for bulk fuel storage, freeing it up for revitalisation and urban regeneration. In 2005, Ports of Auckland developed a unique Western Reclamation vision and concept to transform the area into a harbourside community in stages over the following decades.
In 2007, Sea+City Projects was established to oversee the development of Wynyard Quarter. In 2010, as part of the super city merger, Waterfront Auckland (now Eke Panuku) was established as the Council Controlled Organisation to manage the development of Wynyard Quarter.
Putting a plan in place
Through wide consultation, Auckland Council, former councils, and other key organisations gathered public views and expressed the desired outcomes for the waterfront.
There are a number of key documents that were created over this time that have been the blueprint for Wynyard Quarters development.
Major development milestones
In August 2011, ahead of the Rugby World Cup being hosted in Aotearoa New Zealand, 500m of new public space was brought to life in the form of Silo Park, North Wharf, Karanga Plaza and the Wynyard Crossing Bridge. This changed the area from being an industrial area closed off to the public, to a new waterfront neighbourhood where people visit, work and live.
Wynyard Quarter has continued to develop into the welcoming neighbourhood you see today. It has played host to many major sporting events, such as the 36th America’s Cup, and it continues to evolve.
Residents moved into Wynyard Quarter from 2018 with the completion of Wynyard Central and 132 Halsey by Willis Bond. Since then 30 Madden has been completed in 2021 and welcomed even more residents into the neighbourhood.
Along with being a desirable place to live, the vision to transform Wynyard Quarter into a destination for cutting-edge innovation and commercial activity is well underway.
Since 2015 the innovation precinct has been developed by Precinct Properties, and is being completed in stages. Currently, the third and final stage is underway and due for completion in 2025.
Eke Panuku Development Auckland, as the major landowner, is ensuring the area is developed in an environmentally sustainable way and is taking a design-led approach.
Looking to the future
The next decade will continue to see the plan for Wynyard Quarter come to life. The point to the north of Wynyard Quarter will be developed into a park, and other areas in Wynyard Quarter will be developed to accommodate the growing needs of the community by introducing more housing, offices and public amenities.