Photos: Inside Aotea Square


Aotea Square - the new version - is a month away from opening, exactly two years after construction began.

Have they got it right this time?

It was opened in 1990, after many expensive legal wrangles and became a kind of  monument to  the project’s advocate, then Mayor Dame Cath Tizard, a strong arts supporter who later became a popular Governor-General.

Inside the hall there were endless complaints from concert-goers about the acoustics.

Outside, it was a concrete-dominated soulless square, something Auckland does well as evident from the Newmarket railway Station Square, discussed several times here.

The leaky car park problem seemed to visually symbolise the failure of the project.

Thankfully, this time there are trees amid the concrete. In fact there will be 63 native trees.

I popped my head in behind the tall green construction fence today for a look:

In 2000, landscape architects Ted Smyth and Associates won a competition to redesign Aotea Square. Plans were put on hold when the council identified damage to the Civic car park roof in December 2004 and introduced load restrictions.

In February 2008, the council reassessed the Aotea Square redevelopment plans and made $15 million in savings, bringing the budget to $80 million. It says it has since made further savings of about $10m.

Construction began in October 2008.

Features are:

  • The Queen Street entrance with fewer steps into the paved area
  • The walkway alongside the Auckland Town Hall widened
  • The main paved area of Aotea Square raised and levelled
  • Grass areas
  • Mostly granite paving

The official opening will be on Friday October 1 and Saturday the 2nd.




  1. patrick says:

    Just a small correction needed on opening dates.
    Aotea square and carpark was opened in 1979 and aotea centre was 1990

  2. Jon C says:

    @Patrick Thanks!


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