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Victoria Road
Auckland, Auckland, 0624
New Zealand

Devonport Heritage 2017, an incorporated society formed in 2017, promotes heritage and sustainable development in Devonport.


news roundup

Claudia Page

Kathleen Niccol in the garden of 159 Victoria Road c 1900. She later became Dame Sister Mary Leo, singing teacher.

BREAKING NEWS >>>>>We’ve recently been supporting neighbours who are unhappy about the  proposed child care centre at 159 Victoria Rd which we believe should be a notified hearing. Today we have  been informed that this is being notified. A neighbour has done some fantastic research into the property revealing that among other things it was the childhood home of Dame Sister Mary Leo, who grew up there as Kathleen Niccol. The house dates from the late 1880s, and although it is not a scheduled property currently, there has recently been a nomination forwarded to Heritage New Zealand to register it as a Historic Place. We will put the research material on our Downloads page.

  Here's the link to the application and documents, and submission forms :

Once again ,we have no issue with providing childcare, but this location has high heritage values being adjacent to a number of scheduled places and buildings – Dr Bennett's house next door at No. 157, the neighbouring group of local shops , St Leo’s school “hall”, the Jubilee Clock , the two historic churches, and the Mt Victoria graveyards.  Incremental changes will undoubtedly have a damaging effect on the overall character of the neighbourhood, and this is a particularly visible site, being on the main road into the historic village centre.  


In other recent news, Ryman Healthcare have unveiled development plans for a retirement village on their leased Ngataringa Road/Wakakura Crescent block . This will include 5 and 6 storey buildings on the 4.2 hectare site, which under the proposed Unitary Plan allowed staggered heights from 8 - 14.5 m (2- 4 storeys). The plan explains the logic for this as “ the large site areas of the precincts provide the opportunity to locate up to 4 storey buildings away from established residential areas, and surrounding areas generally to mitigate any adverse visual or dominance effect. 

In our submission on the plan we submitted that the Wakakura block should revert to the same zoning and density as the adjacent Ngataringa Road residential area.  In addition to this the housing immediately opposite has been retained in the Pre-1944 Historic Character Overlay. These groups of houses will be considered for inclusion in the Historic Character Zone that covers the main parts of Devonport. We will be speaking to the submission at hearings next year. Meanwhile multiple resource consent processes are underway. This includes determining if the public is able to have any input or not.

We have no issue with use of the land as a retirement village, but we are concerned with the visual effect of the buildings, dominance and how that relates to the heritage context of the street and underlying historic values.

This block of land has a very rich historical past, being the site of the early brickworks, and adjacent to the ancient maori portage from the Waitemata to Ngataringa Bay. Remains of the brickworks machinery can be seen as you walk through the bay-side glade, and it’s quite possible maori artefacts could be found too.

Purple shading and crosses show Pre-1944 Historic Character Overlay

Purple shading and crosses show Pre-1944 Historic Character Overlay


There are many concerns that are raised by this development and public debate and participation need to be allowed to occur.

Lastly, we are watching re-development of the historic Masonic Hotel with interest, subsequent to our earlier report of large-scale demolition.  It is to be hoped that as much historic fabric as possible is being restored for use in the building.

Our Annual General Meeting was well attended and the new committee will meet at the end of January. Meantime please contact us by e-mail

Merry Christmas

Claudia Page - newsletter editor