Newton, New Zealand

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Auckland orange hall.jpg
The former Orange Hall, a well-known Newton landmark.
Basic information
Local authority Auckland City
Population 1,176 (2006)
North Freemans Bay
Northeast Auckland CBD
East Auckland CBD, Grafton
Southeast Eden Terrace
South Mount Eden
Southwest Arch Hill, Kingsland
West Arch Hill
Northwest Ponsonby

Newton is a small suburb of Auckland City, New Zealand, under the local governance of the Auckland Council. It had a population of 1,176 in the 2006 census.[1]

Since the construction of the Central Motorway Junction in 1965–75, Newton has been divided into two parts, and as a result, lost much of its size and coherence. The northern part is centred on Karangahape Road, and the southern part on Newton Road. Both Karangahape and Newton Roads intersect with Symonds Street to the east. Newton Road joins the Great North/Ponsonby and Karangahape Road intersection to the west.

At the southern end of Symonds Street are the Symonds Street Shops. Here Upper Symonds Street has two major intersections with other arterial roads: Newton Road and Khyber Pass Road, and Mt Eden Road and New North Road.


In the 19th century Newton was the name given to a slightly different area - stretching from what is now called Surrey Crescent to Eden Terrace. References to Newton can therefore describe different areas at different times in the past; the Newton Branch of the ASB for example was built in the 1880s at the Karangahape road end of Ponsonby Road.

Following the death of George Grey in 1898 the northwestern portion was renamed Grey Lynn, leaving Newton as the area between Karangahape Road and Eden Terrace - since the creation of the Motorway many people don't think of Karangahape Road as being part of Newton, reserving that name for the area around Upper Symonds Street. The Newton Post Office (built 1973) is located on Karangahape Road at the corner of East Street.

Historically, the suburb did not always have a good reputation. A 1920s newspaper described it as a "haunt of many of Auckland's best-known crooks".[2]

This reputation was one of the reasons the Ponsonby Police Barracks were built on Ponsonby Road near the intersection with Karangahape and Newton Roads. This was the second most important Police facility in Auckland and was positioned there to enable a mass of Police to be on hand to quell anything in Freemans Bay or Newton Gully. Virtually across the road from the Police Barracks was the Star Hotel (corner of Karangahape and Newton Roads) this was a centre of Union Activity and probable Sedition. Michael Joseph Savage gave some of his early speeches at the Star Hotel.

The Newton Gully was undoubtedly the home of several criminals (Dennis Gunn being just one example) its combination of substandard housing, crime, and Trade Union activity was probably a contributing factor in its eventual destruction by City Planners who used the Motorway as a convenient tool to rid the city of what they considered a problem area. This was in accord with the example set by Robert Moses in New York City and emulated by similar Town Planners around the world.

Symonds Street[edit]

Symonds Street is named after Captain William Cornwallis Symonds (1810–41), an officer of the 96th Regiment of Foot of the British Army. He came to New Zealand in the early 1830s as agent of the Waitemata and Manukau Land Company and was instrumental in the founding of Auckland and the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. He was one of Governor William Hobson's closest and most effective officials and was one of the first six Police Magistrates in New Zealand as well as Chief Magistrate of Auckland and Deputy Surveyor of New Zealand. During 1841 Symonds accompanied the naturalist Ernst Dieffenbach in his survey of the North Island. Capt Symonds died on 23 November 1841 in a boating accident on the Manukau Harbour. Following his death his brother John Jermyn Symonds continued to live in the colony; Symonds Street in Onehunga is named after John Jermyn Symonds.

Before the 1870s there were several brick works in Newton Gully which later relocated to New Lynn; a great many 19th-century bricks found in Auckland bear the imprint "Newton". From the 1890s onwards it was the location of many small scale industries: bicycle manufacturing, shirt, clothing and boot factories, upholstery, rattan furniture and basket manufacturing etc.

Situated between the retail areas of Karangahape Road and Symonds Street, Newton was a fairly densely populated suburb, mainly of a working class nature with many boarding houses. Until the construction of the motorway system in the 1960s, the gully area was the location of several primary and intermediate level schools and about six churches.

After the motorway was cut through, much of the remaining housing stock was utilised for light industrial use and often rebuilt as factories and warehouses. Since the 1990s there has been a reverse trend of rebuilding or converting industrial buildings for residential use including some large apartment blocks.

Buildings of interest[edit]

  • Saint Benedict's Church, St Benedicts Street. This Catholic brick church in the Flemish Gothic style dates from 1886 and replaces an earlier wooden church which burnt down. Both churches were by Auckland architect Edward Mahoney. The original design included a bell tower with spire which was never constructed. To the south of the church is a brick Gothic presbytery. On the east side of St Benedicts Street, opposite the church, is a two-storied brick house for an order of nuns.
  • Freemasons Hall, St Benedicts Street. This is a large and imposing 1920s building in the neo-classical style. Architects: Chilwell & Trevithick.
  • The Stables. This 19th-century wood-frame building clad in corrugated iron is at the end of Stable Lane. It was built as Livery Stables for the Winstone company. Recently registered by the Auckland City Council as a heritage building, the Stables has been renovated as part of a new building complex called "Site Three".
  • Site Three, St Benedicts Street. A modern development including commercial offices and a cafe. It is regarded as an architectural gem, Urbis magazine's Melinda Williams referred to the "strikingly graceful concrete lines of Andrew Patterson's award winning Site Three development".
Stamp for early Pigeon-Gram service
  • Pigeon Post House. On the corner of Upper Queen St and Newton Road is a small wooden Victorian house. Unremarkable in itself, this is one of the very few original houses remaining in the area. It was the office of Mr Holden Howie's pigeon post service to Great Barrier Island, possibly the first regular air mail service in the world (1896). Certainly the world’s first 'airmail' stamps were issued for the Great Barrier Pigeon-Gram Service from 1898 to 1908. Next to the house stood large aviaries housing the birds.
  • Former ASB Bank, Khyber Pass Road. Architect: Daniel B. Patterson. This small neo-classical building is one of the many buildings commissioned by the Auckland Savings Bank from the architect Daniel B. Patterson. Similar buildings appear in Auckland suburban centres and in provincial towns throughout the Auckland Province.
  • Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Khyber Pass Road (opposite St David's Church). Built in 1880 to the designs of Edward Mahoney, this Anglican church has one of the best wooden church interiors in the world.
  • St David's Church, This Presbyterian church on Khyber Pass Road is a brick building from 1909 which replaced an earlier wooden Gothic church by Edward Bartley.
  • Former Grafton Public Library. This elegant Edwardian building in the classical style is just around the corner on Mt Eden Road and opened in March 1913. Architect: Edward Bartley.


Local secondary schools include Auckland Girls Grammar School, Mount Albert Grammar School, St Peter's College and Saint Mary's College. St Benedict's College (opened in 1886 in St Benedict's St) closed down in 1980 and was demolished. Its secondary department merged with Marcellin College, Royal Oak.


  1. ^ Quickstats about Newton
  2. ^ "Whose Hand Helped Smith To Get Away?". NZ Truth. 4 March 1926. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  • The Lively Capital, Auckland 1840-1865. Una Platts. Avon Fine Prints Limited New Zealand 1971.
  • The Heart of Colonial Auckland, 1865-1910. Terence Hodgson. Random Century NZ Ltd 1992.
  • Colonial Architecture In New Zealand. John Stacpoole. A.H & A.W Reed 1976
  • Decently And In Order, The Centennial History of the Auckland City Council. G.W.A Bush. Collins 1971.
  • Auckland Through A Victorian Lens. William Main. Millwood Press 1977.
  • Karangahape Road Heritage Walk. Edward Bennett. Karangahape Road Business Association 2004.

Coordinates: 36°51′40″S 174°45′09″E / 36.860995°S 174.752398°E / -36.860995; 174.752398