Avondale, Auckland

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Avondale suburb and the Avondale Racecourse
Avondale suburb and the Avondale Racecourse
Coordinates: 36°53′55″S 174°41′48″E / 36.8985°S 174.6967°E / -36.8985; 174.6967Coordinates: 36°53′55″S 174°41′48″E / 36.8985°S 174.6967°E / -36.8985; 174.6967
CountryNew Zealand
Local authorityAuckland Council
Electoral wardWhau ward
Local boardWhau Local Board
Establishedc. 1850s
 • Land531 ha (1,312 acres)
 (June 2021)[2]
 • Total21,760
Train station(s)Avondale Railway Station
Rosebank Waterview Mount Albert
(Whau River)
New Lynn Blockhouse Bay New Windsor

Avondale is a suburb of Central Auckland, New Zealand, located in the Whau ward, one of the thirteen administrative divisions for the Auckland Council. It was originally called Te Whau, which is the common name, of Māori origin, for Entelea arborescens, a native tree.[3]


Avondale covers 5.31 km2 (2.05 sq mi)[1] and had an estimated population of 21,760 as of June 2021,[2] with a population density of 4,098 people per km2.

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
Source: [4]

Avondale had a population of 20,082 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 1,788 people (9.8%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 2,517 people (14.3%) since the 2006 census. There were 5,985 households, comprising 10,086 males and 9,993 females, giving a sex ratio of 1.01 males per female, with 3,708 people (18.5%) aged under 15 years, 5,253 (26.2%) aged 15 to 29, 9,123 (45.4%) aged 30 to 64, and 1,998 (9.9%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 37.0% European/Pākehā, 11.1% Māori, 25.4% Pacific peoples, 36.4% Asian, and 4.7% other ethnicities. People may identify with more than one ethnicity.

The percentage of people born overseas was 47.2, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people chose not to answer the census's question about religious affiliation, 36.5% had no religion, 38.6% were Christian, 0.7% had Māori religious beliefs, 8.2% were Hindu, 5.0% were Muslim, 2.8% were Buddhist and 2.7% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 4,776 (29.2%) people had a bachelor's or higher degree, and 2,415 (14.7%) people had no formal qualifications. 2,292 people (14.0%) earned over $70,000 compared to 17.2% nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 8,478 (51.8%) people were employed full-time, 2,115 (12.9%) were part-time, and 729 (4.5%) were unemployed.[4]

Individual statistical areas
Name Area (km2) Population Density (per km2) Households Median age Median income
Avondale Rosebank 1.03 4,320 4,194 1,209 32.7 years $29,000[5]
Avondale West (Auckland) 0.74 4,017 5,428 1,095 31.4 years $25,900[6]
Avondale North (Auckland) 1.24 4,488 3,619 1,431 33.5 years $34,700[7]
Avondale Central (Auckland) 1.12 3,030 2,705 966 33.6 years $22,600[8]
Avondale South (Auckland) 1.18 4,227 3,582 1,284 32.2 years $32,400[9]
New Zealand 37.4 years $31,800


European settlement[edit]

The first European settler in the area was John Sheddon Adam in 1843, but settlement did not occur in larger numbers until the late 1850s, with the completion of Great North Road. Expansion was rapid, with churches, stores and a public hall built by 1867. With a railway connection to the settlement in 1880, the rate of settlement increased further. Te Whau became Avondale District on 5 June 1882, although the old name survives in the Whau River, an estuarial arm of the Waitematā Harbour, which runs along the western edge of the suburb.[3] In the late 19th century, Chinese-New Zealander Chan Ah Chee purchased 26 acres at land at Avondale, using the land as market gardens.[10]

A prominent community leader and Member of Parliament was John Bollard, who lived in Avondale from 1861 to 1915.[3]

In 1880, the North Auckland Line railway stations opened along the Auckland isthmus and West Auckland, extending to Helensville by 1881, which included a station at Avondale.[11] Taking advantage of the newly opened , New Zealand businessman William Hunt opened a brickworks adjacent to the railway line at St Georges Road, which continued to manufacture clay goods until 1969.[12] Other early industries in the Avondale area included tanneries and mills. Avondale also had numerous market gardens, especially on the Rosebank Peninsula. It was here that the "Hayward" cultivar of the Chinese gooseberry, later known as the kiwifruit, was developed by Hayward Wright.[3]

Suburban development[edit]

Local sculpture of the suburb's spider icon.

From the mid-1920s Avondale became increasingly suburban. In 1927 the Avondale Borough Council was absorbed into the Auckland City Council.[3]

The so-called Avondale spider (Delena cancerides), an introduced species of a spectacular but harmless Australian huntsman spider, was for decades only found in the area surrounding Avondale, and thus received its New Zealand name. It was introduced to New Zealand in a shipment of timber to the Aitkins Timber Yard in Patiki Road, and was left to spread, so its distribution pattern might help with the identification of future introduced species dispersal.[3]

3 Guys supermarket[edit]

Albert Gubay began building his fifth 3 Guys supermarket in Avondale in 1974. It operated from September 1975 to June 1997, but was plagued with building consent issues and was eventually demolished.[13] Auckland City Council took ownership of the site, selling part of it for private development in 2001.[14]

Most of the site was still vacant in 2019.[13] The site became popular for street art in 2017, and a structure was built to host street art in 2021.[15]

A similarly named "Free Guys Supermarket" opened in Avondale during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide free groceries to low-income households.[16]


In 2017, the council-controlled organisation Panuku Development Auckland announced a major redevelopment of Avondale town centre, including a new library building, community and recreation centre, increased housing and local business development.[17]

Local government[edit]

Avondale had a local government just like other suburbs of Auckland at that time. The local government was called Avondale Borough Council, which started in 1922 and merged into Auckland City Council in 1927, eventually amalgamated into Auckland Council in November 2010.[3]

Mayors of Avondale Borough Council[edit]

  • 1922–1923 James Watkin Kinniburgh
  • 1923–1927 William John Tait
  • 1927–1927 Edward Ernest Copsey
  • 1927–1927 Herbert Tiarks[3]



Avondale College atrium
  • Avondale College is a state secondary (years 9-15) school with a roll of 2693 students. It is one of the largest high schools in New Zealand.[18] Avondale Intermediate is a school for years 7-8 with a roll of 359.[19] It shares the site with Avondale College.
  • Avondale Primary School and Rosebank School are coeducational state contributing primary (years 1-6) schools with rolls of 290 and 412 students, respectively.[20][21]
  • St Mary's Catholic School is a state-integrated full primary (years 1-8) school with a roll of 152.[22]

All these schools are coeducational. Rolls are as of March 2022.[23]


The Avondale Jockey Club operates the Avondale Racecourse - one of only two gallops tracks in suburban Auckland. The racecourse is also the location of the Avondale Sunday markets, the largest in the country. The interior of the racecourse is occupied by several sports fields, which are used for rugby union, rugby league, soccer and cricket. A set of netball courts are located adjacent to the racecourse. Additional sports facilities are located along Rosebank Road, at Eastdale Reserve and Riversdale Reserve.


Avondale Railway Station is situated on the Western Line of Auckland's metropolitan rail network.


Avondale has a local branch of the Auckland Libraries system.


The Hollywood Cinema[edit]

There were movies in the Avondale Town Hall from 1900,[24] but it wasn't until the building was upgraded in 1915 and 1924 to be a more functional cinema, that they were shown on a regular basis.[25] The Hall has been used as a cinema and performing arts centre by a variety of managers and became officially known as The Hollywood Cinema in 1966 when it was taken over and run by Jan Grefstad, until his death in 2001.[26] Over the years it became known for midnight showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and performances on a Wurlitzer organ. Under new ownership since 2015, it continues to show movies and present concerts by international artists such as Billy Bragg,[27] and local musicians, including Marlon Willams.[28]

Places of worship[edit]

Avondale has several places of worship, including multiple churches, a Hindu temple, a mosque, and a Seventh-Day Adventist Church Plant (ACTS Community Church).


  1. ^ a b "ArcGIS Web Application". statsnz.maps.arcgis.com. Retrieved 7 July 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Population estimate tables - NZ.Stat". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Lisa Truttman, 2003, Heart of The Whau, The Story of the Centre of Avondale 1841-2001, Words Incorporated.
  4. ^ a b "Statistical area 1 dataset for 2018 Census". Statistics New Zealand. March 2020. Avondale Rosebank (130600), Avondale West (Auckland) (131700), Avondale North (Auckland) (132000), Avondale Central (Auckland) (133100) and Avondale South (Auckland) (135000).
  5. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Avondale Rosebank
  6. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Avondale West (Auckland)
  7. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Avondale North (Auckland)
  8. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Avondale Central (Auckland)
  9. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Avondale South (Auckland)
  10. ^ Mackintosh, Lucy (2021). Shifting Grounds: Deep Histories of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Bridget Williams Books. p. 164. doi:10.7810/9781988587332. ISBN 978-1-988587-33-2.
  11. ^ Scoble, Juliet (2010). "Names & Opening & Closing Dates of Railway Stations" (PDF). Rail Heritage Trust of New Zealand. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  12. ^ Diamond, John T. (1992). "The Brick and Pottery Industry in the Western Districts". In Northcote-Bade, James (ed.). West Auckland Remembers. Vol. 2. West Auckland Historical Society. p. 52. ISBN 0-473-01587-0.
  13. ^ a b Truttman, Lisa (27 February 2021). "At the heart of Avondale". Beacon.
  14. ^ "Avondale Three Guys Supermarket Site". scoop.co.nz. Auckland City Council. 26 February 2001.
  15. ^ "Avondale Pavilion boosts street art". Unitec.
  16. ^ Haimona-Riki, Mare (6 July 2013). "Social supermarket provides free shopping for Avondale locals". Māori Television. Te Ao.
  17. ^ "Panuku Development Auckland". panuku.co.nz (Press release). 7 November 2017. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  18. ^ Education Counts: Avondale College
  19. ^ Education Counts: Avondale Intermediate
  20. ^ Education Counts: Avondale Primary School
  21. ^ Education Counts: Rosebank School
  22. ^ Education Counts: St Mary's Catholic School
  23. ^ "New Zealand Schools Directory". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  24. ^ Truttman, Lisa J. (2017). "When the flicks first came to Avondale". The Avondale Historical Journal. 17 (97): 2–3. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  25. ^ Grefstad, Jan (2001). History of the Whau Public Hall, Avondale Town Hall, Grosvenor Theatre, Hollywood Cinema Avondale: Celebrating 77 Years Entertaining Avondale & District. Self published.
  26. ^ Cassidy, Paul. "Farewell to a Great Cinema Operator". Film-Tech. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  27. ^ Kidd, Sarah (21 November 2018). "Billy Bragg, Auckland NZ, 2018". Ambient Light. Retrieved 1 May 2021.
  28. ^ Duda, Marty (27 March 2021). "Concert Review: Marlon Williams – Hollywood Avondale March 25, 2021". 13th Floor. Retrieved 1 May 2021.

External links[edit]