View of Mt Hobson and Remuera
Location of Remuera in Auckland City
|Local authority||Auckland Council|
|Train station(s)||Remuera Train Station|
|North||Hobson Bay, Waitematā Harbour|
|East||Meadowbank, St. Johns|
Remuera is one of Auckland's older suburbs characterised by historic buildings and green spaces. It is home to Mount Hobson - a volcanic cone with views from the top overlooking Waitematā Harbour and Rangitoto. Remuera is a residential suburban area within Auckland, in the North Island of New Zealand. It is located four kilometres to the southeast of the city centre. According to the 2013 census, Remuera has a population of 7,254 people. The suburb extends from Hobson Bay and the Orakei Basin on the Waitematā Harbour to the north and east, to the main thoroughfare of State Highway 1 in the southwest. It is surrounded by the suburbs of Orākei, Meadowbank, Saint Johns, Mount Wellington, Ellerslie, Greenlane, Epsom, Newmarket and Parnell. Remuera is home to many well-known New Zealanders including the late Sir Edmund Hillary and the famous race car driver Bruce McLaren.
Remuera has had a long history of human occupation, starting back in the early 13th century when Māori came to the area. The suburb is named after the former Māori name of Mt. Hobson, Remuwera. Remu-wera literally translates to "burnt edge of kilt", commemorating the occasion where a chieftainess of Hauraki was allegedly captured and consumed. Although the most common definition in reference literature, the accuracy of this definition has been described as "highly doubtful".
Around 1741, Te Wai-o-Hua iwi (tribe) was driven away by the Ngāti Whātua and Te Taoū iwi. Later, these iwi merged with Te Roroa and Te Uri-o-Hau into Ngāti Whātua-o-Ōrākei, which is the main iwi on the Tāmaki isthmus. In May 1844 one of the largest Māori feasts ever held in New Zealand took place in Remuera. It was organised by the Waikato iwi and about 4000 Māori and many Pākehā were present. The festivities lasted for a week and large amounts of food and drinks were served: 11,000 baskets of potatoes, 9,000 sharks, 100 pigs, and large amounts of tea, tobacco and sugar. Governor Robert FitzRoy visited the festivities on 11 May 1844 when a haka was performed by 1,600 Māori, armed with guns and tomahawks.
When the European settlers known as Pākehā wanted to buy the land on the Tāmaki isthmus from the Māori, they first declined. But in 1851, Henry Tacy Kemp, an interpreter to the Land Claims Commissioners, bought 700 acres for £5000. Subsequently, more plots of land were sold and put up for public auction. People did not really start to build houses until the 1860s and the first shops opened in Remuera in 1890.
One of the first businesses was L.J. Keys’ grocery store on the Clonbern Rd corner, which currently houses a café. Nowadays, Remuera's main business and shopping area stretches along Remuera Road from Armadale Road to St Vincent's Avenue. Smaller shopping areas are situated at Upland Road and Benson Road.
In more recent history, the infamous Bassett Road machine gun murders took place in Remuera on the 7 December 1963. Two men were shot with a .45 calibre Reising submachine gun at 115 Bassett Road and word quickly spread about a “Chicago-style” gang murder. Two suspects were sentenced to life imprisonment. One of them was paroled under strict conditions, but he disappeared in 1984 after his car was found at the bottom of a cliff. Initially the police suspected him to be faking his own death, but he was later declared to be officially dead. Several eyewitnesses claimed to have seen him in Perth, Australia in the late eighties or early nineties.
Landmarks & Features
Remuera has many historic buildings, some of which have been incorporated into the Remuera Heritage Walk. One such building is the Remuera Public Library. Designed by the Auckland architects Gummer and Ford, the library was built in 1928 in a neo-Georgian style reminiscent of American colonial architecture. Mainly of red brick, it has fine details, especially around the windows. In 1928, the architects were awarded Gold Medals from the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) for the design of the building. The building has also won the conservation award in 2004 for the renovations that were done.
Other special buildings in Remuera are the Remuera Railway Station and Signal Box. These were built in 1907-1908 and the station is the best preserved railway station in Auckland. Whilst the other railway stations were regularly modernised, this railway station has been kept almost in its original state and is still used for suburban passenger trains.
Remuera includes some interesting nature areas and parks. One of the volcanoes, the Orākei Basin, is a tidal lagoon and is popular for water sport activities. There is also a 3 km walkway around the basin. Mount Hobson Domain includes the volcanic cone, previously used as a pā (a defended settlement) by the Māori and in later times as a quarry and pasture land. More recently, a water reservoir was incorporated into the volcanic cone to supply water to the surrounding area.
There are several schools in Remuera, many highly regarded for their education standards. Remuera Primary, Victoria Avenue Primary School, Dilworth Primary School, King's School for boys, Saint Kentigerns School, Remuera Intermediate, St Michaels Primary and Saint Kentigern Girls' School to name a few. The area is also well served by good State secondary schools including: Auckland Grammar School and St Peter's College, both for boys, while for girls there are Epsom Girls Grammar School and Baradene College of the Sacred Heart.
Remuera is a part of the Epsom electorate for the Parliamentary representation. Local government of Remuera is the responsibility of the Orakei Local Board, which also includes the suburbs of Orākei, Mission Bay, Kohimarama, St Heliers, Glendowie, St Johns, Meadowbank, and Ellerslie.
Remuera Golf Club
The Remuera Golf Club started to develop in 1934 and the club house was finished in 1935. It was not the perfect place for a golf club, as it was established in a natural basin. In 1938 a new course was built around the original course in response to members’ complaints about the course conditions. There is now a new course and club house: the lay-out of this third course was designed in 1968 by golf course specialist Harold Babbage.
Sir Edmund Hillary (1919 – 2008)
Remuera’s most famous resident was the mountaineer and explorer Sir Edmund Hillary, who built a home in Remuera in 1956 where he lived until his death in 2008. His home was removed from its original location in 2010 and stored until moved in 2011 to Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate in Ōtara where it now houses a training programme for young leaders.
Bruce McLaren (1937 – 1970)
Race car driver Bruce McLaren was born in the suburb and his family lived above their garage and service station on 586-592 Remuera Road until they moved around the corner to 8 Upland Road when he was 9. At the age of 10, McLaren was diagnosed with Perthes disease, a degenerative disease of the hip joint, and spent two years in a rehabilitation home for disabled children in Takapuna. When he was 15, he got his driver’s licence, started racing and by the age of 22, McLaren was the first New Zealander and youngest driver in history to win the F1 Grand Prix. He died in 1970, while testing a new Can-Am car.
Sir Paul Holmes (1950 – 2013)
Remuera was home to well-known New Zealand broadcaster Sir Paul Holmes who gained national recognition through his high profile and controversial radio and television journalism. In the 2013 New Year Honours Holmes was appointed as a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to broadcasting and the community. Just two week after receiving his knighthood, on 1 February 2013, Holmes died at his family home in the Hawkes Bay, aged 62. 
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