50 Ponsonby Road, Auckland

  • House. Image courtesy of -
    Copyright: geoff-inOz. Taken By: geoff-inOz. Date: 17/11/2009.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 4581 Date Entered 21st September 1989


City/District Council

Auckland Council (Auckland City Council)


Auckland Council

Legal description

Lot 1/2 Allot 36, Section 8, AK CT No. 58/300 DP No. 242

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

50 Ponsonby Road has been used as a private dwelling, a private hospital, a boarding house, residence and doctor's surgery and as a hostel. In recent years it has been an elegant restaurant and is now used by its present owners as offices. The building has not had any associations with great historic events or famous people.


This house is a particularly fine example of a style of domestic architecture now rare in Auckland. The site, size and extensive use of decoration mark this as one of Auckland's most substantial late Victorian houses. It shares much in common with the former merchant's houses on Princes Street. The cast iron decoration on the verandahs is some of the finest in Auckland.


The house is on a corner site on a wide road that runs along a ridge and its verandahs, ornate iron lace and belvedere make it highly visible to the passerby. The house shares its grounds with four attractive trees listed by the Auckland City Council in the District Scheme.


Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description


This is a large, two storeyed villa with wide verandahs on both floors. It is principally Italianate in style. An attractive octagonal belvedere, echoing the form of the two bay windows, sits atop the house. The large verandah features fine decorative valences and balustrades on both storeys. Most of the bay window arches which contain double hung sash windows spring from pilasters with Corinthian capitals. The hipped roof has slate tiles while corrugated iron covers the short snub-nosed verandah. The bays and belvedere are topped by decorative iron lightning conductors.

The interior of the house has been much modified but the fine ceramic floor tiles in the vestibule, some doors and fireplaces and the wooden ceilings upstairs are original.


1952-53, Architect: R.A. Nicol

(1) Ground floor verandah, Crummer Road side, filled in to become a staffroom; a window was removed and a door fitted.

(2) Similarly, the upstairs verandah, Crummer Road side, was also filled in and became part of a dormitory.

(3) Access stairs to the first floor were added on to the rear of the building.

(4) Dr Drury's living room became a staff lounge with access cut through the wall by the fireplace to what had been Dr Drury's surgery, waiting room and office. This area became Staff bedrooms.

(5) A wall was removed between bedrooms 3 and 4 to make one large dormitory.

(6) The sunroom became a lavatory block and bedroom 5 became a bathroom.

(7) A fire escape was added to the wall of bedroom 1 (now a dormitory).


A bedroom was added to the rear of the house when it became a Baptist Hostel for Alcoholics.

1981, Architect: John E. Cooper & Associates

The property was redeveloped as a restaurant with further modifications:

(1) The filled in verandahs were reopened.

(2) The walls were removed in the 'Surgery' so that staff bedrooms became a large open room.

Notable Features

The verandahs, cast iron lace and belvedere.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1893 -

1952 - 1953
Various see Physical Description for details

1971 -
A bedroom was added to the rear of the house when it became a Baptist Hostel for Alcoholics.

1981 -
Various see Physical Description for details

Additional building added to site
- 2013
New two-storey structure adjoining the house as part of the full refurbishment/renovation

Construction Details

Roof, slate lead flashed, timber framed. Chimneys; plastered brick. Exterior wall structure; double skin brick, plastered. Interior wall structure; 100mm timber frame. Ceilings; timber. Floors; tongue and groove rimu. Foundations; continuous concrete walls and concrete piles.

Information Sources

Dixon, 1978

Roger Dixon & Stefan Muthesius, 'Victorian Architecture', London, 1978

Easdale, 1980

N. Easdale, Five Gentlemen's Residences in Princes Street Auckland: The Occupants and Their Enterprises 1875-1900, Auckland, 1980

Stone, 1991

R. C. J. Stone, The Making of Russell McVeigh: The First 125 Years of the Practice of Russell McVeigh McKenzie Bartleet & Co. 1863-1988, Auckland, 1991

Salmond, 1986

Jeremy Salmond, Old New Zealand Houses 1800-1940, Auckland, 1986, Reed Methuen

Stacpoole, 1976

John Stacpoole, Colonial Architecture in New Zealand, Wellington, 1976

Phillips, 1983

J Phillips & C Maclean, In Light of the Past, 1983

Auckland Directories

Auckland Directories

1873-74, 1882, 1883-84, 1889-1899, 1901-1987

Hitchock, 1954

Henry-Russell Hitchock, Early Victorian Architecture in Britain, Volumes I & II, London, 1954

Auckland City Council

Auckland City Council

Auckland City Environments, Property file (i) Valuation Roll,

Number 11/190/226/0/0

(ii) Works Report B4/193, 23.11.77

(iii) Property Records: copies of plans 1952 and 1981

City of Auckland District Scheme, Proposed 1987, Scheme Statement, Appendix 1; 1.1 & 1.4

Fletcher, 1948

B. Fletcher, A History of Architecture on the Comparative Method, London 1948

Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians

Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians

Claudia Lazzaro 'Rustic Country House to Refined Farmhouse: The Evolution and Migration of an Architectural Form', Vol XLIV, No. 14 December 1985, pp. 346-367

Other Information

Received an award in the New Zealand Institute of Architect's 2013 Architecture Awards (Auckland branch)

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.