Uptown History

The Uptown area is where a number of Auckland’s most famous roads intersect. It is a place where some of the city’s first enterprises operated, and residents lived, so it has a rich history. As it is located at the fringe of the city, on the way to the outer suburbs, a progression of transport options have shaped the area.

For the first half of the 20th century it was a thriving retail and entertainment destination. Churches, halls and pubs attracted Aucklanders in their droves. Many arrived by tram. Older Aucklanders will recall dancing at the Orange Coronation Ballroom on Newtown Rd or shopping at some of the iconic stores that called Symonds Street their home.



As Auckland housing spread, more and more people hit the roads in their own car. In the 1960’s a large area of Newton – 15,000 homes – was demolished to make way for the motorway interchange. About 50,000 people were made to move to Auckland’s outer suburbs. But Uptown’s location made it attractive to commercial operators and its special character and its edgy artistic feel has attracted creative services businesses.

Now Uptown is on the cusp of another evolution. Responding to changes in kiwi’s lifestyle preferences, high-rise apartments are springing up in the area. The population is increasing as people choose to banish the long commute and live inner city. One only has to walk the side streets of Uptown to see the building and development that is underway.

In 2024 a redeveloped Mt Eden rail station will open and provide even more convenient access for shoppers, workers and residents to the Uptown precinct. The evolution of this historic and eclectic area continues.

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