See the city different

Walk around Wynyard Quarter and you’ll see evidence of its past everywhere you look.

The 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 Waitemata Harbour, and looked very different to what you see today.  

It was 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).

This heritage is reflected today in some of the names of public spaces throughout Wynyard Quarter, like Karanga (welcome) Plaza and Urunga (entry) Plaza, which are both important access points into the precinct.

With the continuation of kaitiakitanga (guardianship) in the approach to the Wynyard Quarter redevelopment, the theme is honoured by the care that’s being taken to preserve the heritage and character of the area while revitalising it and improving access.

As a key location for much of Tamaki Makaurau's marine activity, and being home to the Fish Market, this is an area that reflects the importance of the sea to Auckland’s growth since the 1800s.

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; in the 1930s, it started to be used for bulk petro-chemical storage, leading to the area becoming known as the 'Tank Farm'. 

Changes to the way fuel was supplied to Tamaki Makaurau / Auckland meant that much of the land was no longer required for bulk fuel storage, freeing it up for progressive revitalisation. 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 next 25 years.

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.

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.

Wynyard Quarter has continued to develop into the welcoming neighbourhood you see today. It has played host to many a major sporting event, such as the 36th America’s Cup, and it continues to evolve as a place where people can live, work, visit, relax and play.

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.