A shattered community
Motorways are meant to connect people. In reality, they can do just the opposite. This is the border of the inner-city suburb of Newton in 1908. Today, it looks utterly different, split in half by the tangle of motorways known as Spaghetti Junction (right).
When this map was made, Newton was a bustling, working-class neighbourhood with several schools and churches within walking distance of people’s homes. It was home to hard-workers and entrepreneurs: it had several small factories making clothes, furniture, baskets and bicycles, and it was the base for one of the world’s first airmail services — mail sent by ‘pigeon-gram’ to Great Barrier Island. According to the NZ Truth newspaper, Newton was also ‘the haunt of many of Auckland’s best-known crooks’ who had often ‘baffled detection’ by police.
The area’s close-knit community all but vanished when the motorways sliced through it in the 1960s. Thousands of homes and businesses were demolished. Whole roads vanished. The Kings Arms pub, at the bottom right, is one landmark that survived the carnage. Once a neighbourhood hotel, today it’s a popular rock music venue hemmed in by a motorway, warehouses and dead-end streets.