The Masonic Tavern – The Debate Continues

Posted by on Mar 15, 2010 | 16 Comments

Devonport Issues

The Masonic Tavern was built on the corner of Church St and King Edward Parade in Devonport in 1866. It is one of New Zealand’s oldest Taverns. It is also one of the oldest remaining buildings on Auckland’s North Shore.

The Masonic has become the focus of a battle between the current owners, who want to develop the site, and members of the community, who want the site protected.


For more information on the development plans, click on the developer’s official website.


For more information on the plans to prevent the development going ahead, click on the link below, for the official Save The Masonic website.


What do you think? Let us know your thoughts on this important issue. The Speculator will keep you up to speed on developments.


  1. GB says:

    What’s the latest on this??..I emailed Joe Bergin recently, he will forward my mails onto all the rest of the Devo/Taka board members..included was the North Shore article from las year re a descendant putting in a claim with the Waitangi tribunal after Maori bones were found on the site, which btw makes the whole place ‘tapu’..but mainly the whole building is a protected piece due to it’s history and major heritage significance!

  2. John says:

    “Heritage experts Hamish Keith and Peter Macky have asked auditor general Lyn Provost’s office to outline the requirement for a full-scale review of the Auckland council’s failed heritage protection policies.”. Yip. Add the Masonic Tavern to the list of investigations. Read the full article here!/notes/save-turua-street/from-the-national-business-review-friday-18-february-2011/189544487743655

  3. Gladys says:

    – I hear Mr Michael Boulgaris of Boulgaris Realty has organised an invited 1000 people to come to a pre-sale open home on the same day as the food and wine festival and the Sounds of Summer dance party at the Masonic . That’s what happens when you choose a realtor with no local knowledge. I bet none of the local firms would touch this hot pototo with a barge pole!

  4. Overseas says:

    Development which takes away from a regions character rather than added to it shouldn’t go ahead. This Development is a mistake. Really hope the community stops it.

  5. LB says:

    I personally think that if I came into a lot of your properties and said you cannot do this or that – you would resent it wholeheartedly, this guy has to live here he is not demolishing the pub but adding apartments above, surely it is his business and not the few who when SOMEONE says it is going to be pulled down get yourselves all up in arms over a pub that is keeping the facade and still going to have food and drink downstairs – get back to your own back yards and keep a watchful eye out for those who might come and tell you that you cannot cut down this tree or they list it without your knowledge – or they tell you that you cannot put a deck here as all Devonport is a Heritage area. How is a person supposed to live in peace and quiet

  6. Jack says:

    Dear Simple. It sounds like your rant comes from a position of ignorance. Please let me help. First, it’s widely accepted that the current owner has failed to invest in his business for many years. The HPT, Devonport Heritage, NZ’s leading heritage architects, urban planners, the community (the list goes on) all acknowledge that the building & site are of huge historical significance to New Zealand. And finally, there have, over the last few years, been several approaches made to buy the tavern off the current owner. I understand that he turned them all down without the opportunity to discuss the price.

  7. simple simon says:

    I would suggest some of you need to have a good look in the mirror before pointing the finger at the current landlord of this property,
    They have run a great little community pub for 20+ years , have raised over
    $1.5 million dollars for the community to be distributed thru various foundations from gaming, supported and nurtured some world class performers, taken crap from all the drunks and loud mouths in devonport, employed alot of devonport people . supported inumerous sporting clubs/atheletes/individuals and want to rebuild the building that has been altered by the numerous over zealous landlords of the past and you want to point the finger at them?
    I would say , have a good look at yourself.
    No one is stopping you from making the owner an offer and running it yourself?
    This is the problem with alot of kiwis , sit on the fence and hurl abuse all day making others worse off at their own expense!

  8. JB says:

    Sadly, the Masonic’s historic value can’t save it, because an application to remove it from our District Plan’s list of protected buildings was applied for, and granted, some years ago. Why? no-one knows…and our community board weren’t informed.
    It’s a great shame, because this means the development is treated just like any other resource consent & no legal argument re it’s history can be considered.

  9. GB says:

    More Devo people getting banned recently for speaking out…check-out the Flagstaff October 1.
    If people wanna speak out against these ‘quick rich’ apartments, and ‘greed’ seems to be the flavour of some toffee nosed Devonport people, then they should be allowed to speak as they wish without having to be banned for it from a public place, and the Masonic is a public place.

  10. Chris says:

    If this building, with its history, architecture (look at the old photos), community significance and iconic location, is allowed be pulled down, then no other heritage building in this country is safe. Neglect of the structure, or neglect of the building’s commercial viability, or both, is apparently sufficient justification for flattening anything. When are we going to learn??

  11. Gladys says:

    Bella – there is not going to be a corner bar at the masonic. There is a small cafe/deli on the plans but this has to close by 4 p.m. The licence gets cancelled when the business closes -rumoured to be in Noemb er. The corner bar story was put about to avert objections to the development by regular patrons. That promise has been broken. Unless someone makes the owner a big fat offer soon the place is a goner. I heard some of the most regular drinkers have recently been banned from the premises… talk about friendly

  12. Bella says:

    I cant agree DE. If people who really feel strongly about preserving the Masonic as a pub (as I do, having been a keen patron for 33 years), will only go there under certain conditions, then we will get what we’ve got, or worse, lose it altogether.

    What about the choice views and proximity to the beach and sea of the Masonic? There is no other pub quite like it in NZ. If that’s not enough to get you there, then what will? A log fire….they’ve got that at the Patriot.

    What business (or home owner for that matter) would invest a truckload of money on a property, to make it more appealing to such a fickle audience? Particularly when the owner has already had the value of a substantial investment eroded by egregious infringement of his property rights.

    I bet you’d scream blue murder if the equivalent of the masonic friendly society made a very public fuss of your wanting to sell your heritage property, resulting in loss of value because potential buyers are scared off.

    From what Ive heard and seen, the plans for the Masonic include a corner bar and will probably meet most of the conditions you require, whilst retaining much of its heritage character. This combined with the Masonic’s unique ability to allow punters to have a quiet one within a sand wedge of the beach and sea should ensure we continue to have a great local. But only if people support it.

    More positive, less combative engagement with the owner and patronage of his business is more likely, in my opinion to produce a desirable result.

  13. DE says:

    I agree totally with Rose – and hey it’s really hard to patronise a pub which has a grumpy landlord and wishes to close at 8.30pm some evenings. I feel those who say ‘I don’t drink there, so can’t really comment’ are totally missing the point. As an owner of an old building myself, just a small family home, I recognise that although I ‘own’ the building I am really just a custodian, looking after it for the generations to come. I am unable to bulldoze my house and build apartments, I am barely allowed to change the colour of the front door ! How something that contravenes so many rules and regulations can be passed through baffles me. An enthusiastic landlord/lady can make a thriving business out of The Masonic; update the decor, warm and welcoming pub atmosphere, good food, beer garden for summer, log fire in the winter, the possibilities are endless – so please, sell the pub to someone who can make it a success for the whole community to enjoy.

  14. Bella says:

    So by not going to the Masonic you’re helping the end game. Brilliant.

  15. Jim says:

    Well said Rose. I quite agree.

  16. Rose says:

    The owners argue that the business is not profitable. There has been a clear concerted lack of effort to make a buck to justify their end game. Many locals don’t support the venue because it is outdated, has unreliable hours and some of the staff have been less than friendly over the years. Sell it and let the next guys turn it into the great pub it deserves to be. They also argue that the facade will be restored back to it’s appealing original look. No doubt this is true but there are also many historic “looking” buildings along Disneyland’s main street. They look great but have no historic value. That’s what Devonport will get – just another fake building with a gutted shell rebuilt for the coffee set. This is a crying shame and an Auckland disgrace. Once a pub is gone, it’s gone for good.

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