29 Princes Street, Auckland

  • Hamurana, 29 Princes St, Auckland. East and north elevations.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Martin Jones. Date: 9/04/2007.
  • Hamurana, Auckland. Image courtesy of www.flickr.com.
    Copyright: Phil Braithwaite. Taken By: PhilBee NZ - Phil Braithwaite. Date: 2/08/2014.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7733 Date Entered 15th February 2008 Date of Effect 15th February 2008


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 2 DP 114585 (RT NA65B/8) North Auckland Land District and the building and structures thereon, and their fittings and fixtures. (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the registration report for further information). The registration encompasses all archaeological material within the extent described above.

City/District Council

Auckland Council


Auckland Council

Legal description

Lot 2 DP 114585 (RT NA65B/8), North Auckland Land District

Location description

On the western side of Princes Street, to the south of its junction with Bowen Avenue


Hamurana is one of the best-preserved examples of an elite urban residence erected in colonial Auckland, and is one of a significant group of adjoining houses linked with the creation of a well-to-do neighbourhood in the 1870s and early 1880s. Located on the Symonds Street ridge, the two-storey timber residence was constructed in 1876 on top of the remains of the Albert Barracks. The Barracks had formed the largest military installation in colonial New Zealand, capable of housing approximately 1000 soldiers in the 1840s and 1850s. Possibly itself erected on the site of an earlier Maori settlement known as Horotiu, the fortification was decommissioned following the final withdrawal of British troops in 1870, after which much of the land was subdivided for private lease. The choicest allotments lay on the western side of Princes Street, next to the planned location of Albert Park. The redevelopment was consciously planned as an elite neighbourhood, being located next to places of high social status such as the Colonial Governor's Auckland residence (Old Government House), the Supreme Court (now the High Court) and one of the main cultural venues in the city (Old Choral Hall). Conditions were placed on the construction of all new residences, requiring that they should be of at least two storeys and cost a minimum of £700.

Lots 10, 11 and 12 were purchased in 1875 by a brewer and provincial politician, George Johnstone (1839-1886). Johnstone had a commercial background, his father having founded the Scottish newspaper, the Stirling Observer. Following his marriage to Elizabeth Whitson, he became a partner in the brewery business of Whitson and Sons after 1869. Whitson and Sons commercial premises included the Albert Brewery in Queen Street, considered to be the largest brewery in Auckland province. By April 1876, Johnstone was constructing a large family residence on the site, overlooking the Queen Street gully. This was designed in an ornate Italianate style that was often used for mercantile premises and residences in Auckland during the late Victorian period. Modelled on the designs of Italian Renaissance buildings erected from the proceeds of commercial wealth, Italianate architecture reflected the town's emerging role as a major Pacific entrepot and the prominent social position of merchants in the settlement during the economic boom of the 1870s.

The new timber residence incorporated a striking double-storey balcony on its main frontage. Its interior contained several large public rooms, service quarters including a servant's room, bedrooms and a dedicated billiard room. The rooms were ornately decorated, some with marble fireplaces, friezes and windows with decorative glass. The building was designed by James Wrigley (1837?-1882), who had set up practice in Auckland in 1856 after training in New York. His previous buildings included the original portion of Carrington Hospital (1865) and additions to the elite Northern Club (1870) at 19 Princes Street. The residence's rear garden incorporated outbuildings, including a possible corrugated iron stables accessed from a service lane.

Johnstone and his family occupied the house until the early 1880s. Its subsequent leaseholder, William Vines, had been an extensive landowner in Whangarei and is said to have been a prominent member of the Plymouth Brethren. After a brief spell as a boarding house, it was again occupied as an elite residence by another brewer, Moss Davis and his family, who named it Hamurana. The Davis' were part of a significant Jewish community that lived in the neighbourhood during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Auckland's main synagogue had been built a few doors away in 1884-85. During the 1930s, the house was divided into flats, but retained much of its early fabric as well as gaining new decorative elements. Since the 1950s, Hamurana has been used as medical rooms and then offices. In the 1970s, awareness of the heritage significance of the place helped to save it from demolition. Part of the building is currently (2007) used as a language school.

Hamurana has considerable aesthetic significance for its street and park setting, its striking external appearance and ornate detailing. It is considered to have archaeological value, incorporating evidence for remains connected with the Albert Barracks and other deposits linked to residential urban occupation. The main residence is architecturally significant as one of Auckland's best-preserved elite urban dwellings and as an impressive example of an Italianate timber residence designed by the architect James Wrigley. It is of historical value for demonstrating the transformation of a major urban area into an exclusive residential neighbourhood for Auckland's commercial and professional elite in the late nineteenth century, and for reflecting the wealth and lifestyle of such groups and their prominent position in Auckland society. It is a significant part of an outstandingly important cultural and historical landscape on the Symonds Street ridge that retains numerous archaeological sites, historic buildings and other places linked to its role as the epicentre of early British colonial power in New Zealand, and as a subsequent residential neighbourhood of note.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The place is historically important for its connections with the Albert Barracks and early military activity in New Zealand. It is particularly significant for demonstrating the transformation of a major urban area into an exclusive residential neighbourhood for Auckland's commercial and professional elite in the late nineteenth century. The place reflects the wealth and lifestyle of such groups and their prominent position in Auckland society. It is associated with later developments in urban history, including the increasing concentration of medical practitioners on the Symonds Street ridge during the twentieth century, and attitudes to heritage protection in the early 1970s.

Aesthetic Significance or Value

The place has aesthetic significance as an elite late-Victorian urban residence designed in an ornate, Italianate style. It has considerable value for its prominent contribution to the visual amenity of the Princes Street and Albert Park landscapes; for the striking appearance of its main residence including double balcony and front steps, and for the quality of its ornate internal and external detailing. It is aesthetically important as one of a conjoining group of high-quality and ornate historic residences on the western side of Princes Street.

Archaeological Significance or Value

The place has archaeological value as part of the Albert Barracks complex, the largest and most important military installation in early colonial New Zealand. Evidence exists that the place contains buried remnants of the Barracks' main defensive wall, as well as a drill hall, store, shed, yard and garden located immediately outside the defences.

The place can also be considered significant for its later colonial use as an elite urban residence. Elements associated with this activity include the well-preserved main residence and garden features. Nearby excavations have indicated that buried archaeological deposits linked with residential and related activity are likely to survive. The archaeological value of the place is enhanced as it is a rare survival of an elite residence and curtilage within the urban centre of colonial Auckland.

Architectural Significance or Value

The place has architectural significance as one of the best-preserved elite urban residences in late nineteenth-century Auckland. It is architecturally significant as a well-preserved example of a timber villa designed in the Italianate style. Its value is enhanced by the survival of adjoining residences of similar style and date which reflect the range of expression in Italianate design of the 1870s and 1880s. The place has architectural significance as a residential example of the work of James Wrigley, an early Auckland-based architect.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history

The place has significance for its association with British military activity in New Zealand, and Auckland's function as early colonial capital. It is of particular value for reflecting the economic boom of the 1870s and early 1880s, Auck-land's ongoing role as a major commercial entrepot, and the social prominence of Auckland's mercantile and professional elite. The place is also important for reflecting the emergence of exclusive residential neighbourhoods based on wealth in late nineteenth-century urban society. It has connections with Auck-land's Jewish community and the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century brew-ing trade.

(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history

The place has associations with individuals of some significance, including brewer and provincial politician George Johnstone.

(c) The potential of the place to provide knowledge of New Zealand history

The place has outstanding potential to provide knowledge of New Zealand his-tory, particularly the activities of the British Army in the early colonial period. The place is notable for incorporating the probable (and rare) archaeological remains of a military Barracks wall as well as an associated drill hall, store, shed, yard and garden. A study of these has the capacity to improve knowl-edge about the organisation and operation of colonial military garrisons in gen-eral, and the Albert Barracks in particular.

The place also has potential to provide knowledge about the functioning and economy of elite urban households in late nineteenth-century Auckland. Con-sidered likely to incorporate a range of material linked to its use as a residence, it probably has particular capacity to supply information about the lives of wealthy mercantile and professional families in one of New Zealand's largest colonial urban centres.

(f) The potential of the place for public education

The place has considerable potential for public education about the military, commercial and residential history of colonial Auckland, being a highly visible Council-owned property on the fringes of a major park. Lying within Auckland's busy city centre, its potential is enhanced by its location close to two major edu-cational institutions - the University of Auckland and the Auckland University of Technology. Its potential for public education is increased by the large amount and variety of archival information available for presentation about the place, in-cluding photographs recording the interior and furnishings of the main residence at the turn of the nineteenth century.

(g) The technical accomplishment or value, or design of the place

The place has special value as one of the best-preserved examples of an elite urban residence in Auckland, and as a well-preserved timber villa of urban type designed in the Italianate style. It is also significant as a design linked with the Auckland architect, James Wrigley.

(i) The importance of identifying historic places known to date from early periods of New Zealand settlement

The place incorporates archaeological remains linked with the Albert Barracks, which was operational during the first three decades of New Zealand's colonial history.

(j) The importance of identifying rare types of historic places

The place incorporates the probable archaeological remains of a British military fortification, considered to be a rare type of historic place in New Zealand.

(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape.

The place is a significant element within a historical and cultural landscape of outstanding importance. The northern part of the Symonds Street ridge incor-porates places of significance to Maori and was the epicentre of British adminis-trative and military power in New Zealand. It also incorporates significant heri-tage linked with the redevelopment of the area as an exclusive residential and recreational neighbourhood in the late nineteenth century, its ongoing focus as a centre for wealthy residential and medical activity, and its occupation by the University of Auckland during the late nineteenth and twentieth century.

The importance of the place is enhanced as one of a group of residences of similar age and style that reflect variations in Italianate style, and both the indi-viduality as well as collective identity of their mercantile owners.

Summary of Significance or Values

This place was assessed against, and found it to qualify under the following criteria: a, b, c, f, g, i, j, k.


It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category I historic place because:

-it has outstanding potential to provide knowledge of New Zealand history, particularly the activities of the British Army in the early colonial period;

-it has special value as one of the best-preserved examples of an elite urban residence in Auckland, and as a well-preserved timber villa of urban type designed in the Italianate style; and

-it is a significant part of an outstandingly important cultural and historical landscape on the Symonds Street ridge that retains numerous archaeological sites, historic buildings and other places linked to its role as the epicentre of early British colonial power in New Zealand, and as a subsequent residential neighbourhood of note.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Wrigley, James (1838 - 1882)

James Wrigley (1837?-1882) was born in Huddersfield, England. He served his articles with the firm of Pritchett and Sons of York, Huddersfield and Darlington, said to have been the leading firm in the North of England. After arriving in Auckland in 1859, he is reported to have erected many of the largest buildings in Auckland Province. Wrigley served for many years on the Auckland City Council, and was chairman of the Remuera and Newmarket Highway Board on several occasions. He was also the last elected member of the Provincial Council in New Zealand, although he did not take up his seat due to the Council’s subsequent abolition.

Structures built to Wrigley’s design include St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Howick (1872), Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Waiuku (1873) and the Roman Catholic Church of St Peter and St Paul, Puhoi (1881). He is also believed to have designed the Wesleyan Chapel in Pitt Street (c.1860) and the Anglican Church of St Mathias, Panmure (1866). An elite merchant’s house at 29 Princes Street known as Hamurana (1876) is his work, as is the original portion of Carrington Hospital (1865) and substantial additions to the Northern Club in 1870. Wrigley's work in North Auckland included additions to the Waiwera Hotel (1880). He was also responsible for several cottages in Dargaville.

Source: Registration Report for D. Graham and Company's Building (Former), May 2014

Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

Early history of the site

The site occupied by Hamurana was part of a significant Maori and early colonial landscape on the Symonds Street ridge. Prior to European arrival, land at the northern end of the ridge incorporated a pa known as Te Rerengaoraiti. Another settlement, Horotiu, may also have been located in the immediate vicinity, occupying high ground overlooking the Horotiu (now Queen Street) gully. Ongoing cultivations on the ridge were intermittently maintained during inter-tribal hostilities in the early nineteenth century and re-established by Ngati Whatua in the late 1830s. Ngati Whatua left these cultivations as a result of their offer, and the subsequent purchase by the Crown, of some 3,000 acres at Auckland in 1840 to accommodate a capital for the new British colony.

Following the establishment of Auckland as a colonial town, the Symonds Street ridge was at the epicentre of British administrative and military power in New Zealand. Significant buildings in the area included the Colonial Governor's residence at Government House, the Provincial Council and General Assembly, and the Albert Barracks - which was the largest military installation in the colony. Erected using Maori labour in 1846-1852, the basalt walls of the Barracks enclosed accommodation for approximately 1000 soldiers. Internal structures included at least one on the site of Hamurana, which lay immediately to the east of the main gate to the fortification. The Barracks wall also ran through the property, as did a military road connecting the main gate to the southern extent of Princes Street prior to 1873. A large drill hall, a garden and an enclosed yard were located immediately to the north of the wall. Indications are that the yard and the southern part of the hall similarly lay within the current grounds of Hamurana, as did a corrugated iron store and a shed inside the Barracks wall.

Following the relocation of the colonial capital and its associated administration to Wellington in 1865, many of the troops were withdrawn. In February 1870, the last of the fourteen British regiments to serve in New Zealand left the Barracks, after which the fortification was decommissioned.

Redevelopment of the Albert Barracks Reserve

Decommissioning enabled a large part of the eastern core of colonial Auckland to be redeveloped. Prior to the construction of the Barracks, the Surveyor-General Felton Mathew had intended that the northern end of the Symonds Street ridge should be occupied by residences arranged in fashionable avenues and crescents. In the 1870s, the area remained desirable for its proximity to places of high social standing such as the former Government House, and for its elevated vantage point overlooking Auckland's commercial district. The Auckland Improvement Commission subsequently laid out new roads, subdivided the land and promoted the creation of Albert Park.

The redevelopment appears to have marked a new approach in urban Auckland, consciously creating a neighbourhood based on wealth. Formal restrictions for leaseholders stipulated that sections could not be further subdivided and that the houses erected were to be two storied, roofed with slate or iron and to be built at a cost of at least £700. Plans for the houses were also subject to the approval of the commissioners. Earlier residential areas in Auckland were generally more mixed and influenced by shared places of work (such as occupation of the Symonds Street ridge by high officials and ordinary soldiers alike), although some areas were traditionally more prestigious than others. The redevelopment attracted many wealthy merchants, who had become Auckland's new elite following the departure of government officials to Wellington. The former were often self-made men from working- or lower middle-class backgrounds, whose success reflected the unusually high potential for social mobility in colonial New Zealand. Their rise was assisted by a prolonged economic boom in the 1870s and Auckland's emerging role as a major Pacific entrepot.

As part of the redevelopment, tenders for the southward extension of Princes Street from its junction with Waterloo Quadrant were received in June 1873. The road, along with others in the vicinity, was evidently complete by April 1875. In keeping with the proposed elite nature of the area, the streets were metalled, lit with gas and provided with drainage and sewerage. Deciduous trees were also intended to be planted. Most of the Barracks wall was dismantled in 1873-1875.

In December 1875, the Auckland Improvement Commissioners auctioned 99-year leases for fourteen sites on the western side of Princes Street. Considered to be the premier plots within the redevelopment, these were advertised as desirable for their 'unsurpassed and uninterrupted view' over the surrounding area and their proximity to the Government House grounds. They were also considered suitable as villa sites for businessmen as they lay just a few minutes walk away from Auckland's main commercial district in the Queen Street gully. All of the eventual purchasers secured at least two conjoining allotments to provide generous sites for their homes.

Construction of 29 Princes Street

A wealthy brewer, George Johnstone (1839-1886) purchased the lease for three allotments, Lots 10, 11 and 12, at the initial auction in 1875. Construction of a large two-storey timber house on the site began soon after, concurrently with that of 31 Princes Street immediately to the south. By April 1876, building work was reported as progressing rapidly, overseen by a contractor, Mr Dawson of Wellesley Street. The house was centrally placed on its section and set back slightly from Princes Street.

Scots-born Johnstone was the only son of Ebenezer Johnstone, founder and proprietor of the Stirling Observer. After studying classics at Edinburgh University, George Johnstone travelled to the South Pacific in 1861 where he met Elizabeth Whitson. Following their marriage in 1865, the couple returned to Scotland where the first of their 10 children were born. When Ebenezer died in 1869, Johnstone returned with his family to Auckland. He subsequently became a partner in Whitson and Sons, the brewery business of his father-in-law, Robert, and brother-in-law, Thomas Whitson. Their premises included the Albert Brewery in Queen Street, said to have been the largest brewery in Auckland province. It was located two doors away from those of Johnstone's new residential neighbour at 31 Princes Street, John Smith. In 1875, Johnstone became a member of the Auckland Provincial Council, which was abolished the following year.

Situated on a ridge overlooking the Albert Brewery, Johnstone's house was designed in an Italianate style that incorporated prominent colonial elements. Italianate architecture was often used for mercantile residences and premises in Auckland during the late Victorian period, being modelled on the designs of Italian Renaissance buildings erected from the proceeds of commercial wealth. Of framed weatherboard construction with a slate roof, Johnstone's house had a symmetrical main frontage to Princes Street that incorporated an impressive double-storey verandah, essentially a colonial feature. The building's height and location facilitated uninterrupted views in all directions, as well as enabling it to be seen from a considerable distance.

Internally, the residence contained a spacious hall at ground floor level, off which were a dining room, drawing room, nursery, library and servants' room. Attached to the rear was the kitchen, offices (pantry, scullery etc.) and a bathroom. The equivalent space upstairs was occupied by a billiard room, while elsewhere at first-floor level there were large bedrooms. Those at the front were furnished with fitted wardrobes, between which was a further bathroom. At the time of construction the building is said to have had a cellar constructed of brick.

The residence was designed by architect James Wrigley (1837?-1882), who had arrived in Auckland in 1856. Although hailing from Yorkshire, England, Wrigley is said to have served his articles with an architect in New York. Wrigley's practice, one of Auckland's most prolific in the 1860s and 1870s, was responsible for numerous prominent buildings. These included the original portion of Carrington Hospital (1865) and part of the elite Northern Club (1870).

Johnstone occupied his residence on Princes Street until the early 1880s. In 1877 Johnstone's brother-in-law Thomas Whitson, erected a house of very similar design on the adjoining property to the north. Other Whitson relatives including his father-in-law, Robert, lived in nearby Waterloo Quadrant. In 1880 Johnstone sold his interests in the Albert Brewery back to the Whitsons and subsequently moved with his family to Gisborne. Additions made to the residence prior to 1882 included a moderate enlargement of the service facilities, with a kitchen lean-to on the south wall. By this time, the residence also had a brick outbuilding at the rear, and a long, corrugated iron outbuilding that extended most of the length of the back (west) boundary. This may have been stabling, possibly accessed from an informal service lane at the back of the property.

Ongoing use as an elite family home

The property continued to be largely used as a family residence until the middle of the twentieth century. In June 1882, the lease was transferred to William Vines, an extensive landowner in Whangarei who is said to have been a prominent member of the Plymouth Brethren. It is uncertain whether he occupied the house.

By 1884, the residence was occupied by a Mrs Spiers, who briefly ran a boarding house on the site at a time when Auckland's economy began to decline. The leasehold of two of the three lots was transferred in December 1887 to a brewer Moss Davis (1847-1933) and less than a decade later was transferred to his wife Leah, who named the house Hamurana. Members of the Jewish community, the Davis' had boarded at the residence after coming to Auckland from Nelson in 1885. A partner in the brewing firm Hancock and Co. from 1885, Davis owned or had interests in a brewery in Khyber Pass, the Captain Cook Hotel and the nearby Grand Hotel in Princes Street. The Davis' arrival occurred shortly after construction of Auckland's main synagogue at 19A Princes Street in 1884-85. Many other Jewish families lived in the immediate neighbourhood during the late nineteenth century.

A sociable family with eight children, the Davis' furnished the house lavishly. Photographs taken in 1908, shortly before the couple went to live in Britain, record its exterior and grounds as well as the interiors of the major rooms. During the Davis' tenure the front steps were remodelled from straight-sided to curved sides with plinths. A plan of circa 1908 indicates the presence of several outbuildings to the rear - one a washhouse, another perhaps a henhouse within a chicken run. By this time a lean-to had also been added to the north side of the kitchen wing.

In 1909, the lease was taken over by a Katie Ralph about whom little is known other than that she was a member of the Ralph family that owned extensive coal mining interests in Huntly, in the Waikato. Upon her death in 1921 the residence transferred to Marie Ralph. The property remained a family residence from 1909 until 1938 when Thomas Lowes took over the lease and converted the building into six flats, subdividing generously-sized rooms and adding kitchens and bathrooms. A two-storey lean-to was constructed at the rear of the building on the north side. During the early twentieth century, wealthy families increasingly moved out to suburban neighbourhoods, leaving their large urban residences to be tenanted for use by multiple households.

Medical use and heritage protection

From soon after the redevelopment of the Albert Barracks site, medical practitioners had increasingly become attracted to the area, perhaps encouraged by the presence of wealthy patrons and contemporary notions that connected open spaces and fresh air (such as found in Albert Park and its surrounding boulevards) with good health. This trend appears to have intensified in the early and mid twentieth century. In May 1946 Dr James Aitkenhead Paterson became Hamurana's lessee. By 1950 the west side of Princes Street was well visited by patients seeking medical services. At this time, four medical practitioners saw their patients at Hamurana. Other doctors and specialists were located at 23 and 25-27 Princes Street.

By the 1970s, the land on which the house stood had reverted to Auckland City Council ownership following the expiry of its 99-year lease. In 1963 the Council had decided that Hamurana, along with its neighbours on the western side of Princes Street should be demolished to become part of Albert Park. By 1972 a developing awareness of the importance of preserving heritage, and heritage values in formal city plans, led the Auckland City Council to retain and restore the Victorian residences. The Auckland Improvement Trust Act 1971 allowed the Council to keep one or more of the houses as examples of Victorian architecture, and a subsequent Act detailed how the buildings were to be managed. In 1974 the Council resolved to designate the houses and the adjacent synagogue as a conservation area and to restore them. Physical boundaries separating the property from Albert Park and adjoining houses appear to have been removed at this time or later.

During the 1970s, Hamurana was leased to the Auckland Civic Trust which had been formed with the intention of providing a service to the business and industrial concerns of the city and to the community at large. Lean-to additions to the north of the kitchen were demolished in 1976 and many of the 1938 alterations associated with the building's conversion to flats were reversed. The slate roof was removed and replaced with asbestos tiles. The building was formally opened on 12 March 1978 with the Mayor Sir Dove-Meyer Robinson in attendance. During the early years of its occupancy, the Civic Trust installed period and demolition fire surrounds at Hamurana and built-in wardrobes were moved. Early subtenants of the building included the New Zealand Foundation for Peace Studies, the New Zealand Town Planning Institute, the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, and Student Travel. Further modifications were carried out in 2004, including conversion of the service area on the ground floor into toilet facilities and other rooms with some loss of early fabric.

The building is currently (2007) occupied by the New Zealand Peace Foundation. The ground floor is let for use as a language school.

Hamurana is one of very few elite dwellings remaining from when the Symonds Street ridge was the premier residential address in the city. Along with the adjacent building at 31 Princes Street, it is also one of the best preserved. Many contemporary houses that occupied neighbouring streets have been demolished, and of those that remain most have lost significant aspects of their nineteenth-century surroundings, including their curtilages. Together with Albert Park and other houses that remain on the western side of Princes Street, Hamurana forms an important reminder of a major recreational and residential landscape on the fringe of Auckland's colonial commercial district.

Physical Description


Hamurana is located in the eastern part of Auckland's Central Business District (CBD), on the Symonds Street ridge. It is situated on the western side of Princes Street, a broad tree-lined thoroughfare that separates the city campus of the University of Auckland from Albert Park, one of central Auckland's main recreational spaces. Hamurana is one of five large adjoining historic residences along the eastern fringe of the park. A narrow service access, Bowen Lane, separates most of these properties from the adjacent park grounds.

The immediate area is noted for its historical and cultural heritage significance, encompassing numerous important buildings and archaeological sites. To the north of Hamurana is the former Synagogue (NZHPT Registration # 578, Category I historic place), and the Northern Club (NZHPT Registration # 663, Category I historic place). To the east is the former Government House and its grounds (NZHPT Registration # 105, Category I historic place), the University of Auckland Old Arts Building (NZHPT Registration # 25, Category I historic place), and a remnant of the Albert Barracks Wall (NZHPT Registration # 12, Category I historic place). To the south and west, Albert Park is also an important archaeological and historical landscape, incorporating the buried remains of the Albert Barracks, several registered historic places (including a band rotunda and a keeper's cottage), and other elements linked with nineteenth-century recreational and Second World War military use.

Hamurana is the second southernmost of a group of five surviving historic residences, and occupies a 1685 m ² rectangular lot. The ground is slightly raised above the level of Princes Street and is mostly flat. The property contains a large two storey timber building with a lower, two-storey rear portion. Its surrounding grounds incorporate a short flight of steps from Princes Street, a winding path between rock retaining walls, and a substantial plant bed that contains trees and large shrubs adjoining 31 Princes Street. The garden is separated from Princes Street by a low basalt retaining wall, which was once topped by railings. The northern, southern and western boundaries of the property are unfenced. The site may incorporate the archaeological remains of a large drill shed, enclosed yard, a garden, part of the basalt barracks wall, a corrugated iron store, shed and a military road that connected the main gate of Albert Barracks with the original southern terminus of Princes Street prior to 1873. It may also contain buried remains associated with the later residential use of the place. Nearby excavations at 31 Princes Street in 1990 revealed the well-preserved remains of features connected with both phases.

Main residence - exterior

The main residence consists of a large weatherboard structure of Italianate design. It is L-shaped in plan and has an asbestos-cement tiled roof. The roof of the main part of the house is hipped with a rear-draining central gutter. A slightly lower, gabled two-storey wing extends at right angles to the rear of the building continuing the line of the south wall. Towards the west end of the south wall is a narrow single-storey lean-to. Three corbelled chimneys project above the roofline, two in the front section and a third in the rear wing. In general, the building exterior conforms strongly to its late nineteenth-century appearance.

The main (east) façade is dominated by a distinctive two-storey verandah. This is balustraded and incorporates slender free-standing arches between heavy posts. Behind the verandah, the main east wall of the residence is symmetrical. It is clad with rusticated weatherboards and has timber quoins at its north and south corners. The building's centrally located entrance is particularly ornate. It incorporates elaborate coloured side-lights, a fanlight of acid-etched glass and an unusual metal grille of ornamental wrought iron. Its doorstep is clad with brass. Slender colonnades frame the doorway and two flanking bay windows at ground floor level. The upper floor of the front elevation contains four, two-pane sash windows. Above the verandah roof there are wide, bracketed eaves.

The building's other elevations are simpler, and are clad with plain overlapping weatherboards. The north elevation has three evenly-spaced sash windows on each floor. Other than a set of three casement windows in the upper floor of the rear wing, the south wall has similar windows and a set of French doors towards the east end of the ground floor. There is a single sash window on each floor on the west and north walls of the rear wing. The west wall of the main structure has a sash window at ground and first floor level, and a stained-glass window that provides light for the main internal stairwell. A plain single-storey porch at the junction between the main building and rear extension shelters two external doors.

Main residence - interior

Retaining much of its late nineteenth-century layout, the interior of the building incorporates a central hallway and large flanking rooms to the north and south. Access to the rear garden is via a door at the western end of the hall. A dogleg passage at this point also provides access to rooms created within the outline of the earlier kitchen. A servant's room and other service elements such as the scullery and pantry have been removed. The upstairs area is particularly well-preserved, incorporating several rooms arranged around a large landing and hallway. A single large room over the earlier kitchen at the rear of the building retains an upper part of the service stairs. There has been some partitioning of an early bedroom. A small brick cellar survives, accessed from beneath the ground floor staircase, next to the location of the former servant's room.

A considerable amount of nineteenth-century detailing survives, as well as decorative and other features introduced in the 1930s. The ground floor entrance hall includes an ornamented arch, and a staircase with turned balustrades and timber panels. Large front rooms, originally the parlour and dining rooms, have east-facing bays and incorporate chimneybreasts. That in the former parlour on the north side retains an elaborate 1870s fireplace surround of carrara marble. A decorative frieze at cornice level is of 1870s date. A preserved, blocked-in archway originally provided access between the parlour and library. The former library, nursery and kitchen all contain blocked-in fireplaces. A decorative glazed door of 1930s date survives in the single-storey lean-to on the south side of the former kitchen.

The staircase to the upper floor is lit by an early window with acid-etched glass and coloured borders. There is a timber dado rail on the north wall of the upper stairwell and south wall of the upper landing. On the first floor, skirtings, architraves, doors, and board and batten ceilings appear to be original. Built-in cupboards of 1870s date survive in the chimneybreast spaces in the middle and westernmost rooms, formerly bedrooms, on the northern side of the building. A similar cupboard of 1930s date in the hallway incorporates 1870s timber. A former bathroom, now a men's toilet, contains sections of pressed metal dado panelling with a chevron and stripe pattern on its west, north and south walls. In the western part of the upstairs area, the former billiard room incorporates a coved ceiling and a blocked off fireplace with timber fire surround.

Remnants of surviving wallpapers were found during inspection of the building in 1997-1998 for the preparation of a conservation plan.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1876 -

1882 -
Kitchen lean-to (south wall, ground floor)

Lean-to (north of kitchen, ground floor)

1925 -
Bathroom installed (west side of library/morning room, ground floor)

Archway between drawing room and morning room walled off (ground floor), billiard room partitioned north-south (first floor)

South end of verandah closed in (first floor), south front bedroom partitioned north-south, front windows replaced with French doors to verandah room (first floor)

1938 -
Two-storey lean-to rear wing on north side

1938 -
Installation of kitchenettes, bathrooms, windows, partitioning

1976 -
Addition of rear porch north side (ground floor). Replacement of slate roof with cement tiles.

1976 -
Removal of: two-storey lean-to addition to the rear wing north side, lean-to bathroom north of kitchen (ground floor), several small kitchens and bathrooms, and many doors and windows.

2004 -
(Ground floor). Part original servant's room, nursery and lobby converted to single space, provision of toilets in part of former kitchen and servant's room area, partition wall removed between original bathroom and pantry.

2004 -
External ramp access provided along part south wall towards west end (ground floor)

Construction Details

Timber, asbestos-cement tile roof

Completion Date

8th November 2007

Report Written By

Martin Jones

Information Sources

Davis, 1949

Eliot R. Davis, A Link with the Past, Auckland, 1949

Easdale, 1980

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

Southern Cross

Southern Cross

Stone, 1973

R. C. J. Stone, Makers of Fortune: A Colonial Business Community and its Fall, Auckland, 1973

Other Information

A fully referenced Registration Report is available from the NZHPT Northern region office.

Management of the place is governed by the Auckland Improvement Trust Amendment Act 1973. Section 4 of the Act provides constraints on use and modification.

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.