Queens Shed Debate Erupts


Highly respected ARC Councillor and strong public transport and cycling advocate Dr Joel Cayford has posted an extraordinary outburst on his blog about the Queens Wharf shed debate.

In a posted headed: Can We Trust The Historic Places Trust?,  he pulls no punches in questioning the effectiveness of the trust and its perceived national office lame backdown on trying to save the 98-year-old sheds from being wiped for Party Central.

He writes:

You really wonder why New Zealand would bother with an organisation that is so spineless at National level, and so unsupportive of genuine preservation work that its Regional Office was carrying out in Auckland. So unsupportive of their initiative which had been taken seriously by ARC, and was being acted upon. As you can see. And right now these sheds, Auckland’s heritage, needs all the help it can get. The pressure and speed to dismantle/demolish must be slowed so good sense can prevail.

Now, as someone who has been strongly passionate about saving what there is left to save of Auckland’s heritage after its outrageous rape and pillaging in recent decades, I am in the odd position of, for once, not being at all passionate about saving these sheds as such.

A close inspection for me did nothing to ignite any preservation flame  as they looked in bad shape and took up far too much on the wharf to serve any useful purpose.

I know of other countries who have adopted such buildings in their wharf revamps and I was hoping these could be - but maybe it’s the rusty look of them turns me right off.

I would hope something can be salvaged but agree with ARC Chair Mike Lee on this one - and his record on heritage up to this point has been faultless.

Anyway I again urge you to check out the sheds in person at the Queens Wharf open day on Sunday afternoon and I will be interested in your thoughts after that.

I’ll have another look - and may even change my mind.

Queens Wharf sheds: Should the trust fight for them?

But the trust’s lack of spine is a bigger worry. If the trust is not going to go into bat on such matters, at a time the government is also messing with the makeup of the trust for its own ends, then what’s the point of it?

They should be a loud and vigorous voice for the country’s heritage, as I am sure they have been in at times in the past, especially at a regional level.

Is the government scaring the national office off with its changes to the trust’s structure so they are choosing their political fights carefully?




  1. Brent C says:

    Those buildings from a distance look to have been modified over the years. If so, the historic value of the building will be partly lost.

    I agree with Joel in the fact that there is probably isn’t a high heritage value to these sheds. I don’t see any kind of unique design aspect to the sheds that needs to be saved.

  2. ingolfson says:

    Brent, what are you implying? I haven’t read Joel’s post, but I get the point that he is implying they DO have a high heritage value.

    As for me, as I’ve said, I think we can at least save one. I agree that with both kept, you can’t really do much with the wharf, so let’s make the best out of the better one (or use material from one to fix the other). And I agree with something (I think) the HPT said some time ago: If we only save what is currently considered “pretty”, then we will lose much of our heritage.

  3. James B says:

    I half remember reading that these sheds were constructed from Australian hardwood, which would make them far from cheap and nasty as stated by Mike Lee.

  4. Brent C says:

    Quite right. I’ve got what Jon said mixed up with Joel.

    These are the kind of decisions that should be made in a waterfront plan. Its just a pity Auckland doesn’t have one. This could be done up to look nice, but I still wonder to why it would be worth it

  5. Matt L says:

    Brent - There is already a waterfront plan that was done a few years ago. It has just been forgotten by many people.

  6. Joshua says:

    Astrailian Hardwood, a good bloody reason to get rid of them, sorry not the best by my standard, I’d go down the track of Kauri if I was you, and I see no Historical Value in these at all. They are cheap and Ugly when they were built - to - now - and for the forseeable future.

    Will go see these in person to see if I change my mind but last time saw no Historical Value, Sorry but they are just sheds, if you like it, buy it off the council and place on your property.

  7. ingolfson says:

    “These are the kind of decisions that should be made in a waterfront plan.”

    Yeah, we will soon have a waterfront CCO for that. Quick and decisive. Sorry, you aren’t invited to their decisions.

  8. Joshua says:

    Anyone know what time the gate are open? it’s not even on Auckland Citys website!

  9. Jon C says:

    @Joshua 1-5

    The times of specific events are:

    1pm: official welcome by Auckland Regional Council (ARC) and the Government
    2pm: display by the Ports of Auckland “dancing tugboats”
    3pm: performance by Drums of the Pacific on main stage
    4pm: performance by Chinese Lion Dancers on main stage.
    Other activities running throughout the afternoon are:

    visits aboard HMNZS Rotoiti
    steamboat rides on SS Puke (leaving from Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum, Viaduct Harbour)
    encounters for kids with Agent Ani and Rugger
    rugby fun with Ruggerland bouncy castle and scrum machine
    rowing Lake Karapiro at the virtual RowBox
    vertical bungy
    climbing wall
    waterfront displays by Sea+City, the Viaduct Events Centre and Ports of Auckland
    spot prizes and giveaways.


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