Why (and how) we’re protecting this historic suburb

The opening of the Harbour Bridge in 1959 marked the end of an era for St Mary’s Bay. The waters which once lapped at the foot of the pohutukawa-clad cliffs disappeared under the reclamation needed to build the motorway linking the Harbour Bridge with the city. The tranquil days of swimming and sail boats on our doorstep may be over, but much of the historic charm of this little cul-de-sac of a suburb right in the heart of the city remains. Why? Because in 1975 a group of local volunteers formed the St Mary’s Bay Association, an incorporated society, to protect the character of the bay and its environs.

Current Issues:


  • Unitary Plan
  • Additional Waitemata Harbour Crossing (tunnel)
  • Parking
  • Urban cycleway
  • SkyPath
  • Ponsonby Road Masterplan
  • Billboards

Past achievements include:

  • St Mary’s Bay recognised by council as a suburb separate from Ponsonby.
  • Opposed plan by Auckland Harbour Board to fill in 30 acres of Westhaven to build car parks and marina berths; instead St Mary’s Bay Association members redesigned the plan which has become a benchmark for marinas throughout New Zealand.
  • Proposed the plan now known as Vic Park Tunnel. Transit NZ had originally intended to build a second Victoria Park Viaduct and widen the motorway for bus lanes.
  • Organised a “fighting fund” among residents to engage lawyers and engineers to prepare submissions opposing plans for a second harbour crossing in this area. One proposal had been for a tunnel under St Mary’s Bay with chimneys to release traffic fumes into the air; another was for a bridge over Westhaven Marina.
  • Princes Wharf development – negotiated on the Planning conditions that allowed it to proceed.
  • Hackett St and Cameron St closed from through traffic.
  • Traffic flow at Three Lamps – helped stop plans to direct traffic through historic Russell and Renall Sts and Freeman’s Bay streets from College Hill to Ponsonby Rd.
  • Negotiated to reduce size and soundproof Assembly of God church on corner of Beaumont and Fanshawe Sts.
  • Vic Park Tunnel noise mitigation.
  • Trial site for first residential parking zone.