Sep 9, 2013

Auckland – Then & Now – Page 19


This is the Auckland of 1885 when my grandmother's family arrived in New Zealand. Well, it wasn't quite so advanced, this postcard is from 1908. The Waverley Hotel, large building on the left, was built in 1885, and where the horses are standing is where the main Auckland Chief Post Office was about to be built in 1909. Built in the same Imperial Baroque style as the Auckland Town Hall, construction began in 1909 on reclaimed land chosen for its proximity to the port, railway and tram terminus, it was opened on 20 Nov 1912. Since then after closing in 1992 it fell into disrepair until the City Council purchased and refurbished it, today it is the entrance to the Britomart Transport Centre (photo left). Up to about where the white building is in the postcard was originally Commercial Bay, Britomart Point was a headland on the eastern side of the bay, hence the name. The land was reclaimed from the sea and when the Waverley Hotel was built massive piles upwards of 40 feet in length were driven down through the mud and drift of the old foreshore, to the solid bed-rock. Visitors to Auckland are surprised at the solidity & magnificence of her public buildings, they are amazed that any Harbour Board at the Antipodes could boast such palatial offices as those recently erected on the reclaimed land. From a wilderness of ti-tree & fern & a scattered village of raupo or rude wooden hovels, Auckland has grown in a generation to a busy, flourishing city, with fine buildings, museums of art, repositories of literature, seminaries of learning, & most of the institutions of the ripened culture & civilisation of the old world. The city has doubled its dimensions & population in a decade. Ten years hence it will take rank as one of the foremost cities in the Southern Hemisphere, the entrepot of Polynesian commerce, the world's sanitorium, an example to the nations in social & political reform & progress, a model of industry & productiveness. Climate & soil, geographical situation and abundant resources are moulding Auckland's future. Her people are borne along irresistibly by their circumstances and environments. It is their destiny to become great and prosperous - taken from an 1885 newspaper article. The photo below is how it looks today, the Mercure Hotel now replaces the old Waverley. In 100 years it has all been replaced & modernised. (Most of the above I found in an old newspaper article).


  1. Hey there, do you have any other information on the old Waverley Hotel? I find it tragic that the old building was replaced with the eye-sore (in my opinion) Mercure hotel today. For all I know, it could've been damaged, unstable, or in desperate need of renovation, but would still like to know.

    Can you imagine the line of buildings going from the old Endeans building, Britomart, the old Waverlery around the corner on to Customs St with the newly revived ones there, would've been fantastic!


  2. Hi Liam, I don't need to imagine them, I remember them!!!! I found that newspaper article on the NZGovernment website PapersPast so I'm sure you'd find a whole lot more about it on there, in fact if you type in 'Waverley Hotel' you'll get 23,250 hits! You'll find it here:-

    I hope you see this because you didn't leave me anyway in getting in contact with you! Cheers....Dawn