Myers Park Historic Area
Upper Queen St, Auckland
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
16th December 1994
Extent of List Entry
Parts of Myers Park in Upper Queen St, including the Myers kindergarten; terrace of shops in Upper Queen St; Theosophical hall; entrance and seats in Myers Park; and several stands of trees.
Auckland Council (Auckland City Council)
The buildings within the area were built over a fourteen year period from 1908 until 1923 and illustrate the transformation of what was substantially a residential area on the periphery of Auckland's commercial centre to an area of commercial/community character.
Although introduction of electric trams to Auckland in 1902 enabled services to be provided on routes previously too steep for horse-drawn trams, it was not until October 1916 and the establishment of a line via the Town Hall to Karangahape Road that the area became more accessible. The locality was also seen as more desirable following the development of Myers Park, a former slum area in the gully between Queen Street and Greys Avenue. The money necessary to transform the area had been donated by the previous Mayor of Auckland, Sir Arthur Myers. As Mayor, Myers had taken the initiative in 1911 proposing legislation to introduce town planning to New Zealand; however, it was not until 1926 that New Zealand's first Town Planning Act was passed.
At the park's opening ceremony in February 1915, Sir Arthur Myers announced his intentions to donate the necessary money to build a kindergarten. This was opened eight months later.
In 1917 the YWCA Building was completed. A few years later the Myers Park area had been considered unsuitable by the Board but by 1917 the trams were running up Queen Street and the building could serve the young women employed in both the Queen Street and Karangahape Road business areas. The YWCA and the Kindergarten both served as community facilities, for example, during the 1918 influenza epidemic they served as temporary hospitals. The YWCA Building was demolished in 1985 and replaced by the IBM Centre (a nine storeyed concrete office block with blue mirror glass cladding) which is not included in the area.
Other buildings of significance in the area are a block of sixteen terrace shops along Queen St with dwellings above (1908) and the more recent Theosophical Society Hall erected in 1922. (The Theosophical Society was founded in Auckland in 1891)
The clearance of the slum area to create this park environment illustrates the growing awareness at that time of the importance of fresh air and sun in urban centres and the need for more controlled town planning. The park, enhanced by a range of architectural styles, has significant townscape value.
Historical Significance or Value
This area is particularly significant in terms of the redevelopment of a once slum area into a commercial/community centre. The creation of Myers Park together with community facilities such as the Kindergarten indicate Auckland's growing interest in the importance of town planning in the early decades of the twentieth Century. The redevelopment of this area was made possible with the improvements in transportation.
The buildings grouped around the formal entrance to Myers Park represent the diversity of architectural styles common during the first quarter of the century. The terrace shops with a range of features incorporated into their design illustrate the eclectic nature of Edwardian architecture. The Kindergarten is designed in the Arts & Crafts style, popular at the time, and in contrast, the Theosophical Society Hall follows a more traditional neo-Classical design.
The Myers Park area has aesthetic appeal and acts as a mediating space between the parkland and the urban nature of Queen Street. The area is enhanced by mature trees and a group of historic buildings ranging in architectural styles.
This area underwent considerable change around the turn of the century. A slum housing area was transformed into an attractive recreational space with community facilities reflecting the community's expectations of better urban conditions.
DESCRIPTION OF BOUNDARY:
The buildings are grouped around approximately an acre of Myers Park, an extensive reserve in the gully confined by Queen St, Greys Avenue, Poynton Terrace and Mayor Drive.
LIST OF ITEMS:
Terraced Shops, Myers Kindergarten, Theosophical Society Hall, seats at the entrance to Myers Park. Trees-2 Phoenix Palms, 1 Morten Bay Fig, 3 Oaks, Grove of mature trees (includes 5 Puriri, 2 Laurel, 2 trees of unknown species) west of Theosophical Hall but within Myers Park.
Terrace Shops, 456-86 Queen St - Category I
Architect(s): T.W. Hay, Alex Wiseman
(built at different stages) 1908-12
Brick construction; two storey
Features: series of arched verandahs along the street frontage give the impression of one continuous building, individual shops with subtle variations in design
Kindergarten, 379 Queen St - Category II
Architect: Chilworth & Trevithick
Free English Renaissance, 1915
Brick construction; two storey
Features: rough cast brick, pointed brick finish, Marseilles tile roof
Theosophical Society Hall, 371 Queen St - Category II
Architect: H.F. Robinson
Neo Classical, 1922
Concrete construction; three storey
Features: elaborate Neo Classical facade
Park gates and seats:
Large mature trees within park: 2 Phoenix Palms
1 Morten Bay Fig
Grove of mature trees (includes 5 Puriri, 2 Laurel, 2 trees of unknown species
This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. This report includes text from the original Proposal for Registration 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.