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Devonport and Waitemata Harbour.JPG
Devonport and the Waitemata Harbour from Mount Victoria. Auckland CBD in the distance.
Basic information
Local authority Auckland Council
Electoral ward North Shore Ward
Local board Devonport-Takapuna
Date established 1840s
Population 3348 (2018 census)
Postcode(s) 0624
Ferry terminal(s) Devonport Wharf
Hospitals(s) Navy Hospital
North Vauxhall
Northeast Cheltenham
East (North Head)
Southeast (Waitematā Harbour)
South (Waitematā Harbour)
Southwest (Waitematā Harbour)
West Stanley Bay
Northwest (Duders Point)

Devonport is a harbourside suburb of Auckland, New Zealand. It is located on the North Shore, at the southern end of a peninsula that runs southeast from near Lake Pupuke in Takapuna, forming the northern side of the Waitematā Harbour. East of Devonport lies North Head, the northern promontory guarding the mouth of the harbour.

The population of Devonport and the adjoining suburb of Cheltenham was 5,340 in the 2013 census, an increase of 3 since 2006. With the additional suburbs of Stanley Bay, Vauxhall and Narrow Neck, the 2006 population was 11,142.

The suburb hosts the Devonport Naval Base of the Royal New Zealand Navy, the main facility for the country's naval vessels, but is best known for its harbourside dining and drinking establishments and its heritage charm. Devonport has been compared to Sausalito, California, US due to its setting and scenery.


The Devonport shops contain a fair array of antiques, gift & book shops as well a number of good cafes and restaurants making it a popular destination for tourists and Aucklanders. People often travel over from Auckland on the ferry for dinner, the starry sky and glittering lights of Auckland on the return trip being very beautiful.

Day trips combining a meal in Devonport with a trip up Mt Victoria or an exploration of the military emplacements on nearby North Head are also very popular. Devonport is also noted for the popular annual event, the Devonport Food & Wine Festival, as well as for the Devonport Museum located near Mt. Cambria.

The navy base at Devonport features strongly in the local character, with the North Shore City Council having signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Navy which recognises the developing partnership between them. The Torpedo Bay Navy Museum is also located in Devonport.



Around 40,000 years ago Devonport consisted of three islands of volcanic origin, Mount Victoria, North Head and between them Mount Cambria (now largely quarried away).

The earliest evidence for (Māori) settlement dates from the mid-14th century (roughly during the same time as the supposed landing of the Tainui waka which is commemorated by a stone memorial on the foreshore). The last remaining significant Māori settlement in the area, on North Head, was wiped out by rival tribes in the 1790s.

Jules Dumont d'Urville, a French explorer, is thought to have gone ashore in the area in 1827, possibly as the first European. The first permanent European inhabitant was a pilot and harbour master stationed on North Head in 1836. The suburb of Devonport itself was first settled in 1840 and is one of the oldest in Auckland and the first on the North Shore. It was initially called Flagstaff because of the flagstaff raised on nearby Mount Victoria (Takarunga). For the first half century or so of its existence Devonport was geographically isolated from the rest of the North Shore, and was sometimes called "the island" by the local inhabitants. Only a thin strip of land beside the beach at Narrow Neck connected Devonport to Belmont and the rest of the North Shore peninsula. In the late 19th century the mangrove swamp that stretched from Narrow Neck to Ngataringa Bay was filled in to form a racecourse, now a golf course. A new road was built along the western edge of the racecourse allowing more direct travel to the north.

On the southern shore, to the west of the centre of Devonport, a nearby deep water anchorage suitable for Royal Navy vessels, the Devonport Naval Base was established. William Hobson, then the Governor of New Zealand, considered the sandspit-protected area a better choice for a naval installation than the shallower Tamaki waters on the southern side of the harbour. While some facilities have expanded and shifted in location over time, the area is still the primary base for the Royal New Zealand Navy. The Calliope Dock at Stanley Bay, part of the base, was opened on 16 February 1888 and at the time was the largest dock in the Southern hemisphere. The suburb also had one of the oldest New Zealand shipyards, now part of the Devonport Yacht Club area.

The main centre of the suburb slowly shifted west from Church Street and the original wharf at Torpedo Bay, to its current location around the ferry wharf. The settlement itself was renamed Devonport by 1859 after the English naval town of Devonport. Devonport achieved Borough status in 1886 and was incorporated into North Shore City in 1989.

Devonport played a special role in the nuclear free movement. In 1981 the Devonport Borough Council voted to declare Devonport a nuclear-free zone, the first local council in New Zealand to do so.

Devonport auckland
Devonport as seen from Mt Victoria. Victoria Road on left, Devonport Wharf at the rear.

In July 2007, Devonport was given permission to be excluded from a list of local Auckland growth node centres. The Auckland Regional Council accepted that while it was encouraging intensified growth (such as higher-density housing) around transport nodes such as Devonport, the character and historical nature of the Devonport Wharf area would make such a designation inappropriate in this case.


The first ferry services to Auckland city began in the 1840s. These were open sailing cutters operated by local seamen running passengers to the foot of Queen Street, Auckland's main road. In 1860 the first paddlesteamer ferries began operation.

These were in turn replaced by double-ended, screw-driven ferries in 1904. Both passenger and vehicle ferries operated on the Devonport run until the opening of the Auckland Harbour Bridge in 1959. Immediately after the opening of the bridge, passenger ferry services to other North Shore destinations (such as Northcote and Birkenhead) were cancelled, as were all vehicular ferries. The Devonport passenger ferry was retained on a much reduced timetable. The majority of the ferries were scrapped, only a handful being retained until being replaced by more modern vessels. The last of the old-style double-ended ferries, the diesel-engined Kestrel (built in 1905), was retired from the commuter run in 1988 and was then operated for cruises and sightseeing. In 2002 the Kestrel was moved to Tauranga to serve as a floating restaurant. The Kestrel changed hands again in 2010 and moved back to Auckland. On 8 March 2016 the Kestrel broke up and sank while tethered in its Wynyard Quarter berth.

Notable people

  • Isabel Peacocke – teacher, novelist, broadcaster, born in Devonport in 1881.
  • Sir Dove-Myer Robinson – former Auckland Mayor born 1901, died 1989.
  • A. R. D. Fairburn – poet, satirist, and critic. Born 1904
  • Sir Peter Blake – international yachtsman, born 1948, died 2001.
  • Mary Taylor – artist, born 1948.
  • Tim Finn – musician and singer, current residence in Devonport, born 1952.
  • Debbie Harwood – musician and singer, notable as a member of When The Cat's Away.
  • Tom Ashley – sailor, windsurfer. Gold Medal at 2008 Beijing Olympics in Men's Sail Boarding. Born 1984.
  • Gin Wigmore – singer-songwriter, born 1986.
  • Finn Andrews & Sophia Burn – members of London-based band The Veils. Both grew up in Devonport and attended Takapuna Grammar School.
  • Lorde – pop artist born 1996. Attended Takapuna Grammar School.
  • Eliza McCartney – NZ women's pole vault champion and women's pole vault World Junior Record holder. 2016 Olympics Pole Vault Bronze medal winner. Born 1996.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
2006 3,417 —    
2013 3,414 −0.01%
2018 3,348 −0.39%

Devonport had a population of 3,348 at the 2018 New Zealand census, a decrease of 66 people (-1.9%) since the 2013 census, and a decrease of 69 people (-2.0%) since the 2006 census. There were 1,275 households. There were 1,590 males and 1,758 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.9 males per female. The median age was 45.5 years, with 615 people (18.4%) aged under 15 years, 534 (15.9%) aged 15 to 29, 1,575 (47.0%) aged 30 to 64, and 627 (18.7%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 92.2% European/Pākehā, 5.2% Māori, 2.2% Pacific peoples, 4.1% Asian, and 3.0% other ethnicities (totals add to more than 100% since people could identify with multiple ethnicities).

The proportion of people born overseas was 35.7%, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 58.7% had no religion, 32.2% were Christian, and 4.0% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 1,251 (45.8%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 189 (6.9%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $45,800. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 1,320 (48.3%) people were employed full-time, 513 (18.8%) were part-time, and 54 (2.0%) were unemployed.


North Shore United AFC

North Shore United are an association football club that play their football at Allen Hill Stadium, located near the southern end of Lake Road. The club, founded in 1887, currently play in the NRFL Division 1, a league in the third tier of New Zealand Football. The club is the oldest in both New Zealand and Oceania, winning the Chatham Cup 6 times and the New Zealand Club Championship twice.

North Shore RFC

North Shore Rugby Football Club is a Rugby Union club located in Devonport that play their games at Devonport Domain. Founded in 1873, it is one of the oldest clubs in New Zealand.


Devonport Primary School is a contributing primary (years 1–6) school with a roll of 207 located on the side of Mount Victoria with the address of 18 Kerr Street. The school was established in 1870 on a plot of land given to them by the Trevarthen family for the purposes of a chapel, before it was later renegotiated to be used as a school.

St Leo's School is a state-integrated Catholic primary (years 1–6) school with a roll of 43. It was founded in 1893.

Both these schools are co-educational. Rolls are as of February 2024.

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