Central Takapuna History Walk

Takapuna was once the leading city on the North Shore, and Lake and Hurstmere Roads remain its commercial heart. This tour takes explorers on a journey into what was and is Takapuna.

Central Takapuna History Walk

Auckland, Takapuna, Auckland 0622, New Zealand

Created By: Auckland Council

Tour Information

This tour ventures through the commercial history and development of the suburb known today as Takapuna. Before the arrival of the Europeans to the Auckland area, the Māori of the North Shore were pushed out of the area as they fled from Ngāpuhi. Thus, when the Mahurangi Purchase was signed in 1840, ceding all the land between Devonport and Te Arai Point to the colonial government, there were few Māori left to protest Pākehā settlement. The land directly to the south of Lake Pupuke was subdivided in the early 1850s and four lots were granted to the Ngāpuhi chief Eruera Maihi Patuone and his wife, Riria Takarangi of Ngāti Paoa, who together led a modest settlement of Māori who had come to the North Shore. They named their new home Waiwharariki.

Between 1852 and the 1880s, the settlement simply known as the Lake was dominated by farms interspersed with a few larger summer homes and rural hotels. Most of the population of the North Shore lived in Devonport or Northcote. However, the area was popular in the summer months due to its long beach, scenic freshwater lake, and close proximity to Auckland City. Gradually, businesses and amenities began appearing south of the lake to support the tourism industry. Lake School opened in 1861. Regular postal service began in 1880. The first major store and bakery opened in 1896. Commercial ferry wharves operated at Takapuna Beach, Barrys Point, and O’Neill’s Point.

In 1910, the Takapuna Tramways & Ferry Company began running steam trams between Bayswater and Milford, north of the Lake, and the intersection of Lake Road and Hurstmere Road became a significant crossroad. Businesses quickly sprang up along both roads, leading to the formation of the Borough of Takapuna in 1913. The commercial growth of Takapuna has continued ever since. Takapuna became a city in 1961, only two years after the Auckland Harbour Bridge was opened. It later became the leading city when North Shore City was amalgamated in 1989. These developments brought many more businesses, including several international outlets, to central Takapuna.

In 2010, North Shore City amalgamated into the Auckland supercity and the area entered a new era as a major suburb of Auckland. Takapuna has seen substantial development and redevelopment over the past fifty years, and many old buildings have been demolished, but many still survive with new faces and new names. This tour will take you to some of these historical locations on a journey into the heart of Takapuna.

Terrain: Concrete sidewalks and asphalt road crossings, mostly level with some mild inclines.

Starting Point: Takapuna Library (9 The Strand)

Parking: Paid parking available along The Strand and free parking sometimes available on Gibbons Road

Disclaimer: This walk is along public roads and includes historical facts about the buildings and the area. Most of the sites are private businesses. Please respect the environment and do not trespass on private property. Neither Auckland Council nor private property owners accept responsibility for any loss, damage, or injury to you or your property arising from use of this tour.

Copyright 2021 Auckland Council. Auckland Council holds all copyrights associated with this tour. You may not copy or reproduce the content of this tour without permission from Auckland Council. Auckland Council has taken every care to ensure that the information contained in this tour is accurate, but accepts no responsibility arising from, or in connection with, your use of this tour and the information contained in it.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

Takapuna’s first public library was housed in the Lake School at the corner of Taharoto and Northcote Roads beginning in 1874. Service was by subscription and one of the library’s first customers was local poet Susie Mactier (née Seama... Read more
Constructed on land donated by R & W Hellaby using funds provided by Catherine Trimble in honour of her sister, Fanny, the first purpose-built Takapuna Library opened on 13 March 1956. It was originally just the single-story, pin... Read more
Originally called Robbie's Corner, Halls Corner is the oldest commercial building in Takapuna. The building dates to 1896 when the manager's office of the Rangitoto saltworks was hauled to Takapuna Beach and then dragged to Lake Road. David... Read more
ANZ Bank was once the North Shore home of the Auckland Gas Company, which was responsible for supplying coal gas to the residents and businesses of the Takapuna area.  Across Northcroft Street was Hutchinson Brothers Ltd.’s grocery and p... Read more
For nearly fifty years, the G. Nicks & Son timber mill occupied the south side of Northcroft Street behind the Hutchinson building. Founded by George Nicks in the early 1920s at Freemans Bay, the mill moved to Northcroft Street in 1926 ... Read more
Takapuna needed coal gas to power its lamps and provide heating to homes and businesses. In 1907, that gas was supplied by a compressed gas system connected to the Devonport Gas Works. By the 1930s, however, the demand had reached such a le... Read more
At the bottom of Como Street is Auburn Reserve, which has served as a recreation area for Takapuna residents for over a century. The Takapuna Croquet Club first opened in the space in 1912 and by the 1980s had the largest membership of any ... Read more
Takapuna School began life as Lake School in 1861 and was located at the corner of Taharoto and Northcote Roads. By 1897, the area south of Lake Pupuke had become the largest population centre north of Devonport, so the school was physicall... Read more
Across Anzac Street is St Georges Presbyterian Church. This is the second church built on the site. The Governor-General Uchter Knox, Earl of Ranfurly, and his wife, Constance, opened the original wooden church in 1902. The church initially... Read more
From 1910 to 1926, the Takapuna Tramway & Ferry Company operated steam-driven trams between Bayswater on O’Neill’s Point and Milford north of Lake Pupuke. Two carbarns were built to store and service the tramcars and locomotives, a ... Read more
Frederick Stanley Potter owned small sections of land across Auckland. Although he never lived in Takapuna, he owned this undeveloped property and, in 1929, donated to the Takapuna Borough Council, writing in the deed that the “council wi... Read more
Takapuna gained a cinema in 1914 when the Forester’s Hall was built on the site of today’s Monterey Cinema. The building included a large central hall that could double as a movie theatre when it wasn’t being used by the Ancient Order... Read more
Hurstmere Road is named after William John Hurst, an Englishman who owned all of the land from Earnoch Avenue to Milford. Hurst sat on the Auckland Provisional Council from 1868 until 1876, served as Mayor of Auckland from 1876 to 1877... Read more
Hurstmere Green is an old park that was originally developed as a small open space on Hurstmere Road. In the 1920s, Bill Connors ran his blacksmith shop from the site. A plaque recognising this fact is located by the steps below A... Read more
The Takapuna beachfront looked very different in the 1950s. Lined by baches and weekend homes, the beach was mostly accessed via The Promenade or from roads further to the south. The northern end of the beach was dominated by the Mon De... Read more


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