Topic: Grey Street, Tauranga

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In describing the early appearance of Tauranga, Jinty Rork notes that "behind the beach the land rose steeply, with ancient sea cliffs at the corner of Wharf and Willow Streets and where Hamilton Street meets Cameron Road. A small stream with its origin at the south western end of Grey Street flowed into the harbour at the southern end of the beach, by the Triangle (Rork, J., 1994).

When the street was built, it was called Grey Street , after Sir George Grey, Governor of New Zealand. Two significant Grey Street buildings identified in a 2007 CBD Heritage Study include the former Tauranga Post Office and Rydall House.

Former Tauranga Post Office, 1 Grey Street

“This was Tauranga's first purpose built post office, previous post offices either based in other buildings or as part of the Government Building which burned down in 1906. Post office buildings such as this one were part of a major building and public works programme undertaken by the first Labour Government. Its construction reflected the growing needs of Tauranga, which was developing rapidly during the 1920s and 1930s. It was opened on 1 December 1938. It is an important example of the work of architects Edgecombe and White of Hamilton who designed a number of other significant public buildings in the Waikato. After the building was sold by New Zealand Post as surplus in 1991, it was adapted by architects Andrews, Scott, Hill as the Tauranga branch of the National Bank. It is one of a group of important public and commercial buildings clustered around the intersection of Spring Street and Grey Street.

The site on the corner of Spring and Grey Streets had been occupied by a Black Smiths and livery stable which had been there since the establishment of the township. Historic photographs show that there was a group of small timber and corrugated iron buildings located here. These are shown on the survey plan for the town which was prepared in 1932, prior to the construction of the post office. The construction of the post office in 1938, with its basement level under part of the ground floor is likely to have resulted in the removal of potential archaeological resources on the site. (2007 CBD Heritage Study).

Former Post Office

First purpose built Post Office, image ID 99-1287


Rydal House (former Public Trust Building), 29 Grey Street.

"The former Public Trust building was purpose built in 1955 and was one of the most substantial buildings in central Tauranga at the time of its construction. It has helped to define the lower part of Grey Street for over fifty years. The offices of the Public Trust were significant public buildings in many New Zealand towns and cities. Branches were established throughout New Zealand and Public Trust Offices continue to provide an important public service in the preparation and holding of wills, executing wills and administering the estates of thousands of New Zealanders. It is an important example of the work of architect Stanley Fearn who designed numerous Public Trust offices in New Zealand, particularly in the 1920s, and was awarded the first NZIA Gold Medal for the Salvation Army centre in Wellington in 1913. It forms part of a group of important public and commercial buildings in Tauranga clustered around the intersection of Spring and Grey Street which make an important contribution to the established built character." (2007 CBD Heritage Study).


Rydal House, taken in 2015


A few significant dates for Grey Street include the following.


C.A. Clarke, a Mayor of Tauranga, owned the cordial factory at the corner of Grey Street and Spring Street (1872). This changed ownership about 1900 (T.H. Hall), and was in existence until the 1940s. 

T.H. Hall's Cordial factory. 


“Light industry existed side by side with stores: in the 1880s there was a cordial factory on the corner of Grey Street, a brewery on the opposite side of the road “ (2008 Heritage Study, p. 28).


Gas Works was built half way down Grey Street (2008 Heritage Study, p. 28). (99-721.tif). That year Grey Street was one of a number of streets laid with gas mains during the first part of 1909 by Mr F. Lees, the winner of the tender set out the year before. “The change-over from gas to electricity for street lighting was made on 2nd October, 1915. Gas remained, however, as a source of power for domestic purposes“. The Gas Works show rooms were built on a section that led through from Devonport Road (Bellamy. 1982 p. 76).


“Besides being the site of the Gas Works, also housed a skin and hide factory and it was an odoriferous and unsightly area” (Bellamy. 1982 p. 76).


Clarence (Charlie) Moffatt (after whom Moffatt road is named), moved to Tauranga from the Waikato in 1919 and bought the Tauranga Carrying Company which was based in Grey Street. He was later a member of the Tauranga Borough Council.

However, farsighted councils in early 20 th century undertook significant public works, including the establishment of a gas works on Grey Street (where Hallensteins is now) and power stations in the Kaimai ranges (2008 Heritage Study. p.21).


Mr Charlie Haua bought Mr Alf Davoren's blacksmith shop on Grey Street, situated where the Post Office Savings Bank would later occupy (Bellamy. 1982 p. 223).


A newly purchased 20 horse power Austin Ambulance arrived in Tauranga on September 22 as part of a new Tauranga branch of the St. John Ambulance Association. It was first housed in a shed provided by Mr Jim Padlie in Grey Street until a garage was built at the corner of Monmouth Street and Park Street.


In 1938 a new Post Office and Telephone Exchange (at least in 1939) in the Art Deco style was opened on the corner of Spring Street and Grey Street (2008 Heritage Study. p.50).


Hall’s soft drink factory operated on the corner of Grey and Spring Streets until the 1940s.

The R.S.A, anticipating WWII returnees, raised six thousand pounds and additionally, purchasing a section in Grey Street from Messrs lls & Co. (Bellamy. 1982 p. 183).


Gas Works on Grey Street were demolished.


Former Public Trust Building / Rydall House at 29 Grey Street was designed by architect Stanley Fearn.


Piccadilly Arcade constructed, 1966.


The City of Tauranga District Scheme planning maps for 1969 has Grey Street as part of Commercial B1 Zone, (predominately shops, cafes, bars) (2008 Heritage Study).


Jenkins and Roberts and Associates (Architectural Practice) designed the large parking and shopping

complex on the corner of Grey Street and Elizabeth Street in 1990 (2008 Heritage Study. p.143).


Master Carver Tuti Tukaokao created the stone gourd sculpture in 1995, inspired by the legend of Taurikura. It stands at the corner of Grey Street and Spring Street outside the old 1938 Post Office (now a bank).



  • A series of articles written by Jinty Rorke and originally published as a series of weekly articles in the Bay of Plenty Times August 1994 to September 1995, as indicated by the dates throughout.
  • A 2007 Tauranga CBD Heritage Study prepared by Matthews & Matthews Architects Ltd, Jennie Gainsford and Lisa Truttman ( accessed September 2015 ).
  • Bellamy, A.C. ed. Tauranga 1882-1982. Tauranga, Tauranga City Council, 1982
  • A 2008 Central Tauranga Heritage Study (Part one), prepared for the Tauranga City Council and Environment Bay of Plenty by Matthews & Matthews Architects LTD in association with Jinty Rorke, Jennie Gainsford, Lisa Truttman, R. Askidmore & Associates.


This page archived at Pema CC in September of 2016:

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Grey Street, Tauranga

Year:c.1920, c.1930, c.1940, c.1950, c.1870, c.1880, c.1890, c.1900, c.1960, and c.1910