Auckland turns 175

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This weekend was Auckland’s 175th Anniversary. So on Sunday I headed along to the waterfront to check out all the action.

Lower Queen Street outside Britomart Transport Centre marked the start of a pedestrian friendly zone. Where buses normally departed people lounged in the sun on deckchairs and bean bags.

Quay Street was closed off to traffic between Lower Albert and Commerce Streets and large 7m by 3.6m billboards with historic black and white photographs of Auckland’s past lined the street. Parked between these giant photo billboards where classic vintage cars and modern BMWs.

The entrance to Queens Wharf was marked by a giant floral welcoming arch, which was modeled after the ones created to celebrate visits by royalty and admiral ships.

Photo billboard depicting the arch and decorations on Lower Queen St in 1908

Photo billboard depicting the arch and decorations on Lower Queen St in 1908

Welcome arch, Queens Wharf

Welcome arch, Queens Wharf

On Queens Wharf volunteers from Howick Historic Village offered horse and carriage rides. Also on display was the 18m-long Te Kotuiti waka from Ngati Paoa.

Shed 10 housed my favourite – ‘A Story of Auckland’ a multimedia show. After walking up the dark stairs visitors were first treated to 17 metre screen, which displayed a panorama of Auckland in 1840 morphing into Auckland today.

Next was Stories from Tāmaki Makaurau, in which live performers accompanied by musicians playing traditional Māori instruments told the myths and legends of Tāmaki Makaurau. The performance ended with a five minute animated film of Māori legends.

Last on this floor was wall of suitcases with a digital projection showing Auckland’s population growth from 1840 to 2015.

A Story of Auckland

A Story of Auckland

Screen and stage actress Elizabeth Hawthorne portrays Elizabeth Yates in Portrait Gallery

Screen and stage actress Elizabeth Hawthorne portrays Elizabeth Yates in Portrait Gallery

Downstairs was the Portrait Gallery in which portraits of 13 key early Aucklanders morphed into films of modern actors delivering in character monologues.

‘A Story of Auckland’ finished with a walk past a series of Kiwi living rooms from 1940 to today. Archival news clips from each time period were displayed on television sets in each.

In The Cloud there was a food and craft market showcasing Auckland’s diverse multicultural. There were also games.

Berthed at the end of Queens Wharf was the Royal New Zealand Navy’s HMNZS Otago, which was open to the public.

HMSNZ Otago

HMNZS Otago

Also on over the weekend was the ASB Auckland Seafood Festival on Halsey Wharf, Wynard Quarter and the 15th Annual Auckland International Buskers Festival. Nine street performers rotated around five outdoor performance venues Princes Wharf, Lower Queen, Queens Wharf, Eastern Viaduct, Karanga Plaza (Wynyard Quarter).

Street performer Bendy Em

Street performer Bendy Em

Port of Auckland opened up Captains Cook Wharf to the public and hosted SeePort’ a family event, which included free boat and bus rides to see port operations up close. There were also displays from the Royal New Zealand Navy, Scouts New Zealand, the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust and New Zealand Customs.

On Sunday afternoon Harvard War Bird flew over the harbour before an late afternoon concert kicked off at 5:30pm.

Harvard birds over the harbour

Harvard birds over the harbour

The concert held onboard the deck of the HMNZS Otago navy ship was hosted by Mikey Havoc. The concert included performances by the Royal New Zealand Navy Band, the Modern Māori QuartetMotor City Family Funk, Tami Neilson, and Annie Crummer with her father Will Crummer and the Rarotongans.

The Royal New Zealand Navy Band

The Royal New Zealand Navy Band

Motor City Family Funk

Motor City Family Funk

The Modern Maori Quartet

The Modern Maori Quartet

The night was finished with an eight minute fireworks display over the Sky Tower and from three barges located 300m off Queens Wharf at 9.30pm.

Red Fence Heritage Walk

On Sunday I set out to walk Port of Auckland’s Red Fence Heritage Walk. Click here to download a map of the walk.

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The walk starts outside the Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum. Note the signpost is on the gate of the old entrance to the Museum. There are 15 stops along the 2.4 km walk and each stop is marked with a numbered information board with a historic photograph and text relating to that point.

The walk is signposted with information boards

The walk is signposted with information boards

The second stop outside the Maritime Museum is the War Memorial Beacon. This monument was originally erected in 1915 by the Auckland Harbour Board and listed the names of staff that served during the First World War.  Sometime during the late 1960s – early 70s the memorial was taken down. In 1999 parts of the memorial were found in Shed 51 on Bledisloe Wharf. An anonymous benefactor, ‘a grateful refugee from Nazi Germany’, offered to fund the restoration and the War Memorial Beacon was re-erected on its current site in 2000.

War Memorial Beacon

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War Memorial Beacon

The third stop is Princes Wharf, which was built between 1921 and 1924. The wharf is named after Edward, Prince of Wales who visited Auckland in 1920. Princes Wharf was originally a commercial wharf but now is the site of a cruise ship terminal, restaurants, apartments and office space, a car park building and the Hilton hotel. It is also the site of the Auckland Princes Wharf i-SITE Visitor Information Centre.

Princes Wharf

Princes Wharf

The cast iron lamp stands were erected in 1923, Princes Wharf.

The cast iron lamp stands were erected in 1923, Princes Wharf.

The Ferry Building is the fourth stop. It was built in Edwardian Baroque style between 1909 and 1912 and resorted in 1988.

View towards Ferry Building from Princes Wharf

View towards Ferry Building from Princes Wharf

Stops 5 through 7 relate to Queens Wharf. Queens Wharf (stop 6) was built between 1906 and 1913. The Queens Wharf Gates and Red Fence (stop 5) were erected between 1913 and 1923.

Queens Wharf Gates and Red Fence

Queens Wharf Gates and Red Fence

Shed 10 (stop 7) is the only remaining shed of the Queens Wharf Sheds. The two-storied cargo shed is 94.5 metres in length. During the Second World War it was used as a facility to process departing soldiers. Between 2012 and 2013 Shed 10 was refurbished and is now used as a cruise ship terminal and events centre.

Shed 10

Shed 10

Next to Shed 10 on the western edge of Queens Wharf is The Cloud. This 178.5 metre long structure was built as a fanzone site for the 2011 Rugby World Cup and has been used for various events since then.

The Cloud

The Cloud

Between Queens Wharf and Captain Cook Wharf is the Admiralty Steps (stop 8). This is where the tug boats now berth but the admiralty steps were used by royal visitors arriving on British naval ships.

Stop 9 is Captain Cook Wharf and Marsden Wharf. Captain Cook Wharf, built 1922, is named after Captain James Cook, who made the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand between 1769 and 1770. Marsden Wharf, built 1909-1911 is named after The Reverend Samuel Marsden who was an avid explorer of New Zealand.

Red Fence Heritage Walk

Red Fence Heritage Walk

Stop 10 is Britomart Point Rock or Te Kawau’s Rock. This marks the point where the British flag was raised in Auckland’s founding ceremony on September 18, 1840.

The Rainbow Warrior Memorial is stop 11. This mosaic memorial commemorates the bombing and sinking of Greenpeace’s anti-nuclear protest vessel the Rainbow Warrior by agents of the French Government at Marsden Wharf on July 10, 1985.

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Rainbow Warrior memorial

Rainbow Warrior memorial

Stop 12 is Bledisloe Wharf. The original wharf that was built between 1937 and 1948 was named after Charles Bathurst, 1st Viscount Bledisloe who was the fourth Governor-General of New Zealand. The wharf was upgraded in 1985 and is now a container terminal.

Jellicoe Wharf and Freyberg Wharf are stop 13. Jellicoe Wharf was built in 1952 and is named after Sir John Rushworth Jellicoe, Governor-General from 1920-1924. Freyberg Wharf is named after Bernard Freyberg, Governor-General from 1946 to 1952 and who was Commander in Chief of New Zealand forces during World War II.

Stop 14 is Fergusson Container Terminal. This container cargo terminal opened in 1971 and is named after the Fergusson family, who served as Governors of New Zealand from 1873 to 1967.

Container terminal

Container terminal

The final stop is the Ports of Auckland Building. This building was previously the engineering building for Tasman Empire Airways Limited’s (TEAL) flying boats.

You can finish the walk by checking out the 400-metre-long public walkway, which runs along the eastern edge of Fergusson container terminal. Access to walkway is from Solent Street next to the Heliport. This walkway provides amazing views of the harbour and container terminal operations.  Take time to watch the cranes wizz around and load containers onto trucks.

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Ports of Auckland Public Walkway

Ports of Auckland Public Walkway