Story: Auckland places

Page 5. The North Shore

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The North Shore grew rapidly after the completion of the Auckland Harbour Bridge – connecting the shore to the city – in 1959. It was formerly a series of boroughs, including Takapuna City, which were amalgamated into North Shore City in 1989, and all of which became part of Auckland city in 2010. The area has attracted many British immigrants and, more recently, migrants from Asia. The second most common language spoken is Korean.

Albany and North Harbour

The fastest growing area of the North Shore. Many of the district’s strawberry gardens and dairy farms were redeveloped in the 1980s and 1990s into 10-acre (4-ha) lifestyle blocks or intensive terraced housing. The township beside Lucas Creek has expanded to include mega stores and the 25,000-capacity North Harbour Stadium, home to the North Harbour rugby team. Nearby is the Albany campus of Massey University.

East Coast Bays

Series of sandy beaches and marine suburbs stretching from Takapuna along the north-east coast of the North Shore, up to Long Bay. This area was still a rural backwater when it was made a borough in 1954. It is now covered in housing. The Long Bay Regional Park is the nearest regional park to Auckland city, and a popular picnic site. It is also part of the Long Bay–Ōkura Marine Reserve.

Takapuna and Milford

Coastal suburbs at the southern end of East Coast Bays. Lake Pupuke lies 200 m inland from the beach. It is the crater of a 150,000 year-old volcanic eruption, later filled with fresh spring water. In the 19th century small dairy farms were established, while the beach and Lake Pupuke became resorts. Takapuna gained city status after the opening of the Harbour Bridge, and is the commercial and administrative hub of the North Shore.


Historic marine suburb at the southern tip of the North Shore peninsula. It was initially called Flagstaff, when a signalling station was set up on Takarunga (Mt Victoria) in 1841, but was renamed Devonport in 1868.

Naval HQ

Māori were the first to appreciate Devonport’s strategic location, building on Takarunga (Mt Victoria). In the mid-1880s gun emplacements were built to ward off a feared invasion from Russia. By 1909 Devonport was a naval base, with a deep-water anchorage at Stanley Bay. Military facilities were extended during both world wars, and a maze of tunnels built beneath North Head. Devonport remains the home of the New Zealand navy.

The establishment of the Devonport Steam Ferry Company in 1881 – connecting the settlement to central Auckland – transformed it into a suburb. Before the construction of the Harbour Bridge, car ferries to Devonport made it the beginning of the main road north. Attracted by the historic houses and buildings, and the proximity to central Auckland, people began to gentrify the suburb in the 1970s.

Birkenhead and Northcote

Historic suburbs on the northern shore of the Waitematā Harbour. Birkenhead stretches from Hellyer’s Creek to Little Shoal Bay. Northcote runs east to Stokes Point.

By 1849 European settlers were pioneering commercial fruit and strawberry growing. The establishment of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company in 1884 boosted suburban growth and supplied sugar for the whole of New Zealand. After the construction of the Harbour Bridge, cheap housing subdivisions transformed neighbouring Birkdale and Beach Haven.

Saving kererū

Concerned at the loss of Glenfield’s natural habitat, volunteers set up the Kaipātiki Ecological Restoration Project in 1997. The aim was to restore Kaipātiki Stream and the forest margins by ridding them of plant and animal pests. In 2003 they launched a scheme to reverse declining numbers of kererū (wood pigeons) by planting trees the birds could feed on. This evolved into a national project to save the kererū from extinction.


Inland suburb developed in the 1960s, as available coastal land dwindled. Small mixed farms were sold off and new, lower-income suburbs like Glenfield and Sunnynook filled their place. An industrial park was developed around Wairau Road.

How to cite this page:

Margaret McClure, 'Auckland places - The North Shore', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 15 April 2024)

Story by Margaret McClure, published 6 Dec 2007, updated 5 Aug 2016