Stuart Houghton’s 100 ideas for Auckland continues

13: Victoria Park Market


What if Victoria Park Market actually was a market?

Victoria Park Market, the city’s old municipal refuse station and ‘destructor’; is a unique collection of historic buildings on the edge of the former foreshore across the road from Victoria Park. It has recently undergone an extensive programme of refurbishment of the old coupled with what are quite sensitively placed new buildings. By and large a good job has been done on this physical built environment side of the equation.

But that isn’t the real challenge in getting the VPM site to hum as a thriving and successful place.

You have to crack the nut of activity to be a real destination and draw. The problem is that the location is something of an island apart from everything around it. It is too far from the heavily frequented core of the city centre, the waterfront and up the hill on Ponsonby Road. While the western edge around Victoria Quarter is readily redeveloping and bringing new people to within proxy of the market, I don’t believe this will be enough anytime soon to support the large concentration of retail and hospitality they have gone with.

What would work to draw Aucklanders from far and wide? Isn’t it time Auckland could support a permanent food market? This seems like the ideal location. There could be the opportunity for the beginnings of a foodie precinct with the Daldy Street Linear Park connecting VPM with Sandford’s Fish Market. Really go to town with a focus on food; get La Cigale to relocate and work towards a vision of an Auckland version of Queen Vic Markets in Melbourne.

Vic Park Market

Image credit: Craig

Share this


  1. Always seems odd that Auckland has so many great markets but they only operate once every third Wednesday after a full moon or other similarly strange timetable. Something permanent would be great!

  2. VPM is a solution looking for a problem and has been for many a year.

    Needs way better connections and something unique to make the trip there worthwhile. Is a permanent food market enough of a draw card on its on? In that location?
    La Cigale is out of the way but leverages the tons of empty carparks in the weekends to make it work as both a outdoor venue with lots of stalls etc.

    Can’t/Don’t want to do that for VPM though, and while those in nearby suburbs can easily walk or cycle to it, those of us further away either have to drive to it, or use PT then walk/bus some ditance on not very pedestrian friendly roads and then schlep our purchases back.
    Why bother – most would go to the nearest Nosh or Faro Fresh or local farmers market, unless this had something really compelling you couldn’t get anywhere else?
    And what would that be? I can’t think of anything right now.

  3. I think the developers shouldn’t have made it individual titles as it seems to give it no cohesion. There was no vision for the place. It’s just a jumble of stuff that already existed that doesn’t draw you there. The internal layout is also oddly claustrophobic but not in a charming way. Amongst other things this is why it is a failure.

    The free link bus or future tram could roll past it to bring people there. More apartments need to be built around the area. The place needs experiences to be lived there.

    Food or quality artisan products could be a focus to save it but making sure not to just mimicking ponsonby central.

  4. If it could sort of emulate Borough Market in London, that would be amazing. Don’t know how with the way it’s been designed though?
    It seems it’s been refurbished without a proper vision of what it is supposed to be.

  5. I think they’ve done an amazing job down there and would love it to succeed as a foodie/ art mecca. Unfortunately with denser population around Ponsonby, places like P’by Central are more sustainable. I agree with the article that it is kind of an ‘inbetween location’ and people-traffic heads towards the Wynyard Qtr/ Viaduct so I cant see it being viable especially with the individual unit titles. I see the future being a ‘small business’ or technical park with a few supporting businesses thrown in, not as glamorous or exciting but sustainable longer term. Its certainly got a great feel down there.

Leave a Reply