Experience our heritage
There are many places throughout Auckland where you can experience heritage - from visiting (or even staying at) an historic home in a regional park, to walking a heritage trail or taking part in an event during the heritage festival.
Our aim, as set out in the Auckland Plan, is to protect and conserve Auckland's heritage for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.
Heritage reinforces our sense of history, belonging, identity and place. It enriches our environment, provides continuity and is a source of pride. It helps define what is unique and distinctive about Auckland.
It is also fun and educational; interacting with the heritage around us is a wonderful way to learn. As well as owning and managing many heritage places on behalf of local communities, Auckland Council also provides resources to help people understand and value heritage.
Featured heritage sites
A visit to a heritage site is a great way to experience Auckland's natural, built and cultural history. Here are a few ideas for places to go:
Wynyard Quarter - Auckland Waterfront
- View some of New Zealand's finest classic yachts and wooden vessels at Heritage Landing.
- Visit Silo Park: a park built around the 35-metre Golden Bay cement silo and 'six-pack' in recognition of the area's industrial heritage.
- Take your smartphone along the QR Journey and view videos about heritage features as you walk by them.
- Check out the Waterfront Auckland website for more information.
Pah Homestead - Monte Cecilia Park, Hillsborough
Image: Adele Krantz
- An excellent example of Auckland's built heritage, 'The Pah' is an Itallianate style mansion built between 1877-1879.
- Auckland Council extensively restored and adapted the homestead prior to its opening as the home of the TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre in August 2010.
- Visit the Wallace Arts Centre website for information on taking a tour of the Pah Homestead.
Mutukaroa/Hamlins Hill - Mount Wellington
- Located in Mount Wellington, near central Auckland, Mutukaroa is among Auckland Council's premier places of significance to mana whenua, and a regionally rare example of an extensive pre-European Māori settlement.
- Remains of habitation can be seen in the form of pits, terraces and middens (refuse).
- See our Regional Parks section for more.
Sir George Grey collection - Auckland Central Library
- Given to Auckland citizens by Sir George Grey in 1887, the Sir George Grey Collection is an incredible example of Auckland's rich cultural heritage.
- The collection includes rare books, medieval manuscripts, and special highlights, such as Roman Missal from 15th Century Besançon, Shakespeare's 'First Folio', and music to 'God Defend New Zealand'.
- Visit the George Grey Collection website to view the collection online, and find out how you can see it in person.
Otuataua Stonefields - Mangere
- As one of only two major remnants of Auckland's 8000 hectares of volcanic stonefields, the 100 hectares making up Otuataua Stonefields is an important archaeological site and educational resource.
- Māori farmers used warm volcanic stones in the soil to extend the growing season for tropical crops like taro and kumara by one month. Later, Europeans used the stones to build spectacular dry stone walls to fence their farms.
- Take the historical walk to see some of what's been left behind, or the botanical or geological walks to explore the area's unique natural heritage. View the Otuataua Stonefields page for more.
Rangitoto Ships' Graveyard - Rangitoto
- Wreck Bay and the adjacent coastline of Rangitoto is a graveyard for at least 13 ships that were dumped between 1887 and 1947. The Rangitoto hulks are now protected as a regionally significant heritage site.
- The wrecks are best visited at low tide; the deeper wreckage just offshore attracts a variety of marine life, and can be appreciated by snorkelling or scuba diving.
- To get there, take the Wreck Bay Track, which is signposted from Islington Bay Road.
Shakespear WWII Defences - Shakespear Regional Park
- Of 11 machine gun emplacements (pillboxes) built at Whangaparoa in early 1942, there are only four remaining, and only two are easy to find. One, codenamed Milo, is on the Heritage Trail, while the other, codenamed Podges, is beside the Army Bay boat ramp.
- The anti-tank ditch is the only substantially intact example of this type of defence remaining in the region. When built, it extended between Army and Okoromai Bays, but it now looks like a large water-filled ditch that runs along the end of the wetland.
- View the Shakespear Regional Park page for more.
For more ideas, or for information on a site that's not listed above, contact us or email the heritage team.
Museums and galleries
There are a number of museums and facilities where Auckland ratepayers and residents can learn about all aspects of our built, cultural and natural heritage for free. Visit the following sites for more information:
The Heritage Festival is an annual celebration which showcases Auckland's heritage. The festival gives Aucklanders the opportunity to discover and experience heritage through more than 200 events over two weeks in September and October.
The festival is funded and promoted by Auckland Council, with local and community groups encouraged to organise events that honour and preserve their local historic heritage stories.
2012 Auckland Heritage Festival website
Auckland Council is calling for expressions of interest from event organisers, community groups and organisations for the 2013 Auckland Heritage Festival. For more, see Get involved with Auckland Heritage Festival.
Cultural Heritage Inventory (CHI)
The Cultural Heritage Inventory (CHI) is a computer database containing information on over 17,000 heritage places, including archaeological and maritime sites, built and botanical heritage areas and places, and sites of significance to tangata whenua.
It is used to store and retrieve information on historic heritage places in the Auckland region, and is divided into two sections:
- Places - includes information on individual historic heritage places
- Bibliography - includes reference material such as reports, assessments, surveys and newspapers.
The CHI does not afford formal protection to historic heritage places. More information about heritage legislation and conservation initiatives can be found in the Protecting our Heritage section.
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