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Aotea Square, Auckland Overview

Aotea Square is an open public outdoor space located in Auckland Downtown where most of Auckland’s public gatherings take place. It is an area of 4,500 square meters located on Queen Street and is used for various occasions like music festivals, rock concerts, art shows, parades, political rallies protests etc. The public space is vibrant with art installations and Aucklanders whiling away during the day on open furniture or under the shade of a tree. It is often referred to as the heart of Auckland city as it is where Aucklanders gather either to voice out their concerns, to express and appreciate art, or to celebrate joyous occasions as civilians.

Aotea Square has been equipped with more greenery and key civic facilities such as the Town Hall and the Aotea Centre. It is a public space and is open all day all year long. The name ‘Aotea’ is inspired by the Maori name of the Great Barrier Island which is also named Aotea. The public square is instilled with a sense of the indigenous Maori culture through many artistic installations. The Aotea square carries a blend of vibes between modern day Auckland and the indigenous Maori. The square is usually in its most vibrant form during the summer and winter months. Most of the many fun-filled festivals, gatherings, markets etc are organized in these months.

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Aotea Square

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Significant Events

There are a number of events happening at Aotea Square every year from rock concerts to political rallies and occasional art festivals. This square has served as venue for many important events taken place in Auckland’s recent history.

On December 7th 1984, the Aotea Square was the venue for a rock concert which later turned into a riot. The bands performing that day included Herbs and DD Smash. The riot which was set off by a number of factors later spread into Queen Street and a damage worth NZD 1 million was reported.

During the early October of 2011 a protest by the name ‘Occupy Movement’ took place at the Aotea Square. Protesters occupied the square by pitching in tents and camping on grass. The Movement went on till January 2012.

Art Installations

Waharoa: ‘Wahoroa’ means gateway in Maori and the artistic installation is an arch at the Queen Street entrance of Aotea Square. The arch was created by a Maori artist named Selwyn Muru. It is made out of wood and copper and features many symbols like birds, fish, starts, moon etc.

Statue of Sir Dove-Myer Robinson: The bronze statue of the former Mayor of Auckland, Sir Dove-Myer Robinson is situated just in front of the Town Hall and is created by the New Zealand sculptor Toby Twiss in 2003.

Bronze figure of a Māori warrior: This item was commission for Auckland’s savings bank lobby in 1960 and in 1977 it was presented to the city of Auckland and considered a part of Aotea Square. The statue was sculpted by Lyndon Smith.

Bronze fountain: This item was installed with a view of being the centre piece of Aotea Square in 1979. Sometime after 2009 the fountain was relocated to the forecourt of the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Parnell. It was the creation of the New Zealand sculptor Terry Stringer.

Bronze statue of George Eden: The Bronze statue of Lord Auckland and the former governor-general of India is located in front of the Administrative building of Aotea Square and was originally created in Calcutta, India in the 19th century. It relocated to Auckland in the 1960s.

Dragonhead: This item was a temporary sculpture placed in Aotea Square in April 2011. It was created by a Japanese sculptor named Ujino.

Things to Do Around Aotea Square

Aotea Centre
It is situated on Aotea Square and has two theatres – the ASB theatre situated inside the main building and the Herald theatre at the right side of the centre.

The Civil – Auckland Live
It is one of the few remaining atmospheric theatres of the world and has become a popular landmark in Auckland.

Odyssey Sensory Maze
Growing as a new tourist attraction in Auckland, located within a kilometer of Aotea Square, the Maze is a fun filled activity with full of light effects, sounds, and mirror illusions. A fun activity to do with friends and family.

History

The square was opened in 1979 by the former Mayor of Auckland, Sir Dove-Myer Robinson. Underneath it is a large car parking space opening into Greys Avenue. In 2004, there was a discovery of a few damages in the car parking roof which called for some repairs. In 2008, a redesign plan was adopted and the Aotea Square underwent a number of upgrades and reconstruction with a view to host a larger group of people. The construction continued and lasted till 2010, until then there were no events organized in the square.

How To Reach Aotea Square

  • Aotea Square is located in the heart of CBD Auckland and is accessible through many routes with an efficient public transportation facility.
  • The nearest bus station to the square is ‘Queen St outside St James’ just 500 meters away. There are frequent buses connecting the street to other parts of Auckland.
  • The nearest train station to the Aotea Square is ‘Britomart’ which is 1.7 kms away.
  • There are a number of cab services in Auckland which are also a decent option of transportation.

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