Auckland City Heritage Walks
Downtown, midtown and uptown Auckland: these areas all have unique stories to tell about the Auckland’s heritage and, if you have an hour-and-a-half to spare, you can get to know one of these fascinating districts on foot.
Downtown is Auckland’s historic waterfront; an area which has changed dramatically since development first began in the mid 1800s and Fore Street (now Fort Street) marked the shoreline.
Land reclamation began in the 1870s and the waterfront began to change, with Quay Street being developed in the 1880s.
The downtown heritage walk takes in may key historical sites including the 1912 Chief Post Office Building, which now forms the heart of the Britomart Precinct.
The graceful, carved basalt boulder in Queen Elizabeth II Square was installed by Ngati Whatua in 2003 as part of the revamp of the square and the Britomart complex. The work represents mana and recognises Ngati Whatua’s ahi kā status [enduring fires of occupation] and responsibility to care for visitors and the environment.
Midtown is home to some of Auckland’s earliest commercial buildings and the first street networks in the city. In 1858 a fire wiped out the wooden buildings in High Street and businesses subsequently rebuilt on the flatter Queen Street area, which had larger sites and better drainage.
Queen Street thus became the commercial focal point of the city while the streets tucked behind—O’Connell and High Streets—have had a number of incarnations as residential and workshop areas, printers and publishers.
The Town Hall, Auckland Art Gallery and theatres are found in the uptown precinct; their heritage dating back to the last two decades of the nineteenth century when vaudeville and opera were thriving in the area.