Quay Street Historic Area

Quay St East, Auckland

  • Quay Street Historic Area, Auckland. Chief Post Office, 12 Queen St. Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org.
    Copyright: No Known Copyright Restrictions. Taken By: Ingolfson - Wikimedia Commons. Date: 4/02/2007.
  • Quay Street Historic Area, Auckland. Endeans Building, 2 Queen St. CC BY-SA 3.0 Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org.
    Copyright: Schwede66 - Wikimedia Commons. Taken By: Schwede66. Date: 27/11/2013.
  • Quay Street Historic Area, Auckland. Wharf Police Building - (aka: Brew on the Quay). Image courtesy of ‘Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, Ref. ID #1477-2511.
    Copyright: Auckland Libraries . Taken By: Brian Cairns. Date: 9/12/2010.
  • Quay Street Historic Area, Auckland. Plan of Historic Area from registration report.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Date: 16/12/1994.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Area Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 7159 Date Entered 16th December 1994 Date of Effect 16th December 1994


Extent of List Entry

This area extends along the south side of the original settlement of Quay St East (the area east of Britomart Pl was extended and handed over to the Auckland City Council in 1914.

City/District Council

Auckland Council


Auckland Council



The area these buildings occupy was first gained in 1874 with the introduction of harbour reclamation and significantly expanded in 1882 when the Government converted land it had reserved in 1874 to railway use. The Auckland Harbour Board was formed in 1871 and reclamation was put into motion when the Auckland Harbour Act (1874) enabled the Board to borrow £150 000 to finance the reclamation of land in the shallow reaches of Commercial Bay. In 1886 when the reclamation was completed, the area of Quay St formed a wide dock running from Breakwater Rd (Britomart Pl) past Queen St to the Harbour Board offices.

The land fronting the Quay and wharfs was made available to heavy industry, engineering, boiler making, shipbuilding and processing. Close proximity to the wharfs was necessary for shipping companies needing to occupy a prominent position and for trading companies requiring storage facilities. The offices and warehouses built from 1898-1907 were built as a direct result of the increased prosperity and shipping trade occurring in Auckland after the depression of the 1880's and 90's.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

This area has important historic associations with the development of Auckland's harbour and commercial centre at the turn of the century. It is a product of Auckland's growth in harbour trade, established after the frozen meat market made New Zealand a viable export country.


The buildings, all constructed within a decade, are of similar scale, construction and architectural detailing and form a coherent group. These are utilitarian brick buildings characterised by arched windows, alternating keystones and little use of ornament. Used predominantly by wharf industries they help preserve the original port character of the area.


Together these buildings make a significant contribution to the streetscape of the port. The scale and character expressed in this group of buildings adds to the quality of the harbour area by maintaining a continuity between the early life on the Quay and the present ports of Auckland.


This group of mostly brick, utilitarian buildings that are all similar in scale and architectural detail represent Auckland's growth in harbour trade around the turn of the century.


Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

Notes from the NZHPT Register Database (not included in the registration report): South side of Quay St East. Buildings include Wharf Police building (Colonial Sugar Company); NZ Harbour Board Employees Union building; Quay building (NZ laundry Co); Union Fish Co. building; Northern Steamship Company building; Endeans building.

Construction Dates

Completion Date

28th November 1992

Report Written By


Other Information

The area extends along the south side of the original segment of Quay St East (the area east of Britomart Pl was extended and handed over to the Auckland City in 1914).

A full registration report is available from the NZHPT Northern Region Office.

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.

Historic Area Place Name

Endeans Building
Northern Steamship Company Building
NZ Harbour Board Employees Union Building
Quay Building (NZ Laundry Co.) - 8 Quay St
Union Fish Company Building
Wharf Police Building