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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.

north head from mt vic.jpg


Filtering by Tag: Mt Victoria/Takarunga

news roundup for May

Claudia Page

Devonport Heritage has decided to stand firm in the face of a threat to claim $21,150 in Environment Court costs from the society over the Masonic Hotel case. We believe the costs are an unreasonable imposition on a community group which has spent 22 years campaigning to protect heritage in Devonport. Recently Baycorp have been actively pursuing the society over the unpaid amount.

On 9 May our spokesperson and Deputy Chair Margot McRae presented our final Unitary Plan submission to a panel of Commissioners.   Our evidence supports the retention of the 8 metre HSA( Height Sensitive Area)  for Devonport Town Centre.

We reject the proposed amendment that  allows almost half of the HSA in the Town centre to be 13 metres. This conflicts with the whole intention of an HSA and is simply not warranted for a town/maunga relationship as important as Devonport and Mt Victoria/Takarunga.  We are especially concerned about the lack of assessment of the effects of the proposed amendment. Insufficient evidence has been provided that a 13 metre height limit will not affect the views of the mountain. Expert caucusing between two landscape architects and a member of the Devonport business association, and a walk around Devonport is not enough to justify the dramatic downgrading of Devonport’s HSA.

The fact is that reasonable development can occur in the town centre through the normal resource consent process. There are sites where greater heights will not impede views, but the correct avenue for proving this is through the non-complying consent process. If it’s shown that the extra height will not interfere with cone views, then there is no reason why it shouldn’t be approved.

In his rebuttal Peter Raeburn for Auckland Council supports the retention of the non-complying status for HSAs generally as the ‘best way of ensuring adequate attention is given to the prospect of adverse effects’. So he considers it the best method for other HSAs but not for Devonport.

The argument for increased heights is in fact based on an attempt to reduce consent and compliance costs for future development. Basically to make is easier and cheaper to go up.

Should we lose views merely to allow developers to keep their costs down?

In Summary - The Unitary plan process has become a debate about intensification – and the Devonport Town centre seems to encapsulate this. This intensification fever has gripped council and the planners and completely overtaken the whole process.

Yes to intensification -  but not at any cost.

Local community groups are the only ones standing up and saying ‘the price is too high’! Devonport and the HSA is a prime example of this. But it applies across the city.

Our volcanic cones that are so unique to Auckland must be sacrosanct. Surely in this great Auckland Supercity of the 21 century there must be room to better acknowledge, celebrate and respect the enduring connection between this maunga and this little town. 

The very name Takarunga translates as "Hill Standing Above", and that is how it should remain.

For further reading please refer to documents on our Downloadable Resources page

Auckland Council slippery slope sign   

Auckland Council slippery slope sign







Village views of maunga under threat

Spokesperson McRae

Historic view of Mt Victoria from the foot of the main street

Historic view of Mt Victoria from the foot of the main street

Auckland's Volcanic Cone issue is being re-opened by the Unitary Plan panel.  It has been proposed that building height in about half the Devonport business centre be raised to 13 metres. At present the shopping centre is covered by the Height Sensitive Area which allows only buildings to 9m. This has been in place for forty years but is now under threat.

The new map that has been pushed forward determinedly by the Devonport Business Association, allows for only the facade of the heritage buildings on the western side of Victoria Road to be kept at the present height , with taller buildings up to 13m to rise up right behind them.

We believe this is facadism of the worst kind and will ruin the heritage buildings and obscure views to Mt Victoria. The proposal will also allow for four storey buildings along the northern side of Fleet Street, throughout most of the the supermarket car-park, the east side of Wynyard Street and along a section of Clarence Street.

if these changes are approved they will result in the loss of views and also damage the relationship the village has with Mt Victoria. It could potentially ruin Devonport's identity and its sense of place.

Devonport Heritage Inc will be vigorously opposing this at the re-convened hearing on Viewshafts on May 4.

A link to our submission and further information can be found here

Previously 8m was the maximum for Victoria Road, under the current proposal it could go as high as 13m

Previously 8m was the maximum for Victoria Road, under the current proposal it could go as high as 13m

Victoria Road in 2016

Victoria Road in 2016

Background to the height debate - DBA and Devonport Heritage views

Claudia Page

In mid 2013  David Barton from the DBA approached Devonport Heritage to talk about the Unitary Plan and the possibility of the two groups making a joint submission to the hearings.

Several things were discussed at these informal chats. Allowing increased heights and building up to 4 storeys was one such subject.

Devonport Heritage said we could not support increasing the height limits  because we believed this would harm the heritage ambience of Victoria Road and the business district.

However we did agree for the two groups to hold an evening in spring 2013 for invited people where both groups would do a power point presentation on our vision for the Devonport business area. 'But this was stopped in its tracks when shortly before the meeting  Devonport Heritage was told there was not to be a joint presentation. So our views were never heard

We have been very busy doing submissions on several topics for the Untiary Plan hearings and we did not become aware of the scope of the DBA submissions until just before the hearings on Viewshafts and Height Sensitive areas and also on Special/Historic Character and Pre-1944 overlays in June. Negotiating your way through the Unitary Plan website is extremely difficult and the DBA or the BID committee should have helped members and the community by posting their submission on the DBA website or emailing it to members.

This is what most organisations do in order to keep their members informed of their actions.

The DBA and the BID did not do this, which has resulted in member businesses only finding out about the submission made on their behalf when they saw it in the Flagstaff.This is either a terrible oversight or a deliberate attempt to keep the submission under the radar.


Whatever the reason, the DBA clearly does not have the mandate from its members for a submission that calls for the Volcanic cones height sensitive area to be removed from the Devonport business district so that buildings of 12.5 metres can be built as of right.


This submission was not circulated to business members nor to the residents of Devonport and clearly is not supported by most locals.

In view of such strong opposition the DBA should withdraw its submission to the Unitary Plan.

Takarunga / Mt Victoria anchors Victoria Road

Advocating for our volcanic views

Claudia Page

On August 10 a delegation from Devonport Heritage went along to the monthly hui of the Tūpuna Maunga of Tāmaki Makaurau Authority to voice our concerns over the direction the Independent Hearings Panel is taking on Volcanic View-shafts and Height Sensitive Areas. These two mechanisms have been in place since the 1970s and have largely meant that important views of the volcanic landscape of Auckland have been preserved. Alongside this is the extremely high cultural value of the maunga ( mountains) to tangata whenua, with Co-governance of 14 Auckland Maunga now in place. Read our presentation here Devonport Heritage presentation to hui

Takarunga / Mt Victoria from the domain

Volcanic cones hearing news

Claudia Page

Today Margot McRae, Deputy Chair and spokesperson,  made a strong case for retention of the Height Sensitive Area overlay and Volcanic Cones view shafts which for many years have stopped buildings blocking the public's views of Mt Victoria/Takarunga and North Head/Maungauika. We are opposed to the Devonport Business Association and Wallace Flats Ltd one of the property owners, who were represented by Lane Associates Cherie Lane who have submitted that the height limit should be increased to allow up to four stories or 12.5m.

read our full text here

Alfred Sharpe's 1877 painting Devonport and the Waitemata Harbour from the Domain (Ref: C-126-001 Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington http://natlib.govt.records/22825399

Alfred Sharpe's 1877 painting Devonport and the Waitemata Harbour from the Domain (Ref: C-126-001 Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington http://natlib.govt.records/22825399