25 Years: Pre-Museum, Plans and Concepts 

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The Museum was first proposed in 1980 by a group of like-minded individuals, many of whom were Auckland Harbour Board and Union Steam Ship Company members. It was to house the growing collection of maritime archives within the Auckland Maritime Society and Auckland Museum collections, while establishing a New Zealand maritime history collection and exhibition facility. 

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Concept drawing of Hobson Wharf Auckland Maritime Museum, artist unknown. New Zealand Maritime Museum (2016.4.1)

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From the start there were debates about where to house a Maritime Museum. Initially the idea was to use an existing building on the waterfront, such as the Auckland Ferry Building or the sheds on Princes or Hobson Wharves. By 1989 more ambitious thinking led to the commissioning of architectural plans for a purpose-built Museum. 

(Above) Concept drawing elevation plans of Hobson Wharf Auckland Maritime Museum by Mace Development Corporation Limited. New Zealand Maritime Museum (2016.3.4)

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Concept drawing plan of Hobson Wharf Auckland Maritime Museum by Mace Development Corporation Limited. New Zealand Maritime Museum (2016.3.1)

Several architectural firms developed concept drawings and plans between 1989 and 1993 when the Museum opened. Further information on the development of the Museum’s design can be found in some excellent articles in Bearings, the magazine published quarterly by NZ Maritime Museum between 1989 and 1993. Bearings is available through various libraries, including the Bill Laxon Maritime Library.

In Issue 1 from 1989, a concept drawing by Charlie Ong is featured showing the museum on both Princes and Hobson Wharves, linked by the Launchman’s Building [see illustration]. Likewise, Mace Development’s concept drawings in Issue 3 show a proposed multi-stage build involving all three sites [see illustration]. The final design by Malcolm Deighton takes its form from the wharf sheds which have been a feature of Auckland’s working waterfront for almost a century.

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Concept drawing plan of Hobson Wharf Auckland Maritime Museum by Mace Development Corporation Limited. New Zealand Maritime Museum (2016.3.2)

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Concept drawing plan of Hobson Wharf Auckland Maritime Museum by Mace Development Corporation Limited. New Zealand Maritime Museum (2016.3.3)

By 1993 however, Ports of Auckland’s plans for Princes Wharf had changed, and the Museum’s final design encompassed two sites; the Launchman’s Building and Hobson Wharf. The final design by Malcolm Deighton takes its form from the wharf sheds which have been a feature of Auckland’s working waterfront for almost a century.

Our next 25th Birthday Blog will look at the building of the Maritime Museum on Hobson Wharf. 

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Concept drawing of Hobson Wharf Auckland Maritime Museum attributed to Mace Development Corporation Limited. New Zealand Maritime Museum (2016.3.5)

References

Bearings Vol. 1 no. 1 p.4 – Maritime Museum gets green light.
Bearings Vol. 3 no. 2 p.3 – Hobson Wharf: the new plan [Stage I, Launchman’s Building; Stage II, Hobson Wharf; Stage III, Princes Wharf]
Bearings Vol. 4 no. 4 p.49 [landscaping]
Bearings Vol. 5 no. 2 p.6 – A waterfront architectural heritage revisited.
Architecture New Zealand Jan/Feb 1994 – Pragmatic vernacular by Brian Taggart

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