New Lynn gets a makeover but remembers its past

New Lynn is under development. Stage two was completed when the Merchant Quarter in the historic heart of New Lynn was officially opened this year, signalling the completion of the second phase of growth.

The iconic new buildings reflect New Lynn’s geography and heritage. Inspiration from the west coast bush can be seen in the medical centre’s triangular precast concrete panels and the panel edge colours match Crown Lynn tea saucers. The cladding of the car park takes it cue from west coast beaches and the air vents reference those of the 1969 Holden Monaro.

Ref: JTD-11N-04189-3, New Lynn railway station, West Auckland Research Centre
Links to New Lynn’s history as the cradle of ceramics and pottery in New Zealand are signalled by public art made from bricks and the Ambrico Place brick kiln feature. Future public investment will include the development of Crown Lynn Park on the old clay pits site previously used by the iconic ceramics producer.

Ref: JTD-11G-01845, clay pits at New Lynn, 1963, West Auckland Research Centre
Let's take a trip back in New Lynn's past and see where the modern New Lynn first came from ..... Land was first occupied in the area during the 1300s by Māori. The Crown purchased the land east and west of the main ridge during the 1850s. In 1863 Frederick Utting named the area New Lynn after its resemblance  to Kings Lynn in Norfolk.

By 1852, the first west Auckland brickyard was established on the Whau Creek. During the 1870s, 13 brickyards were established along the Whau Creek on waterways, including Monier Brickworks which continues to operate today.

Ref: JTD-11K-02335, boating on the Whau Creek, c. 1900s, West Auckland Research Centre
In the 1880s the railway opened and by 1888 the Astley Tannery was established on the edge of the Whau. This building is possibly Auckland’s oldest industrial site in continuous use.

Ref: JTD-11G-04032, Astley Tannery, 1969, West Auckland Research Centre
During WW1 the area was considered strategic due to the Whau River and the railway. Machine gun posts, tank traps and air raid shelters were built.

Ceramco House was built in the 1960s and became the most dominant player in the clay industry. The brick building still stands today. By 1970 Crown Lynn had become the biggest pottery manufacturer in the southern hemisphere, with 500 staff turning out 15 million pieces of china each year. However in 1989
Crown Lynn shut down manufacture.

Ref: JTD-11G-01588, Crown Lynn entrance, 1959, West Auckland Research Centre


  1. Success recognised - the New Lynn transformation project scooped four out of eight awards including the premier, Project Excellence Supreme Award at The Inaugural Project Management Community of Practice (PMCOP) Conference and Awards event on 11 July in Auckland.

  2. Thank you for posting the photo and information about E. Astley & Sons Tanneries. My father worked there for 50 years with the Astleys. He was their Accountant - Trevor Speirs. So nostalgic for me to see this photo.

    1. Yes I did a school project on Ashley’s with the help of Trevor Speirs. I also still have two calf skins belonging once to my parents from New Lynn .

  3. Thank you for your feedback, nice to have that connection back to your family.

  4. my home town I used to walk across that rail over bridge every morning on the way to school new Lynn primary school i lived in delta ave the first house in the street no 38.
    I remember one cold but clear winters morning on the way to school walking on to the bridge it was white covered in ice, and the morning train to town underneath me.
    I never throught if see it again.

    many thanks.
    Dave Cossill

  5. my old home town 1963 / 1990

  6. I worked in the New Lynn Borough Council office after leaving school in 1958. Always fascinating to read stories of times gone by.


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