Some of New Zealand’s greatest writers have lived in the Auckland region, including literary luminaries like Janet Frame, Hone Tuwhare, Frank Sargeson and Riemke Esling.
Here are six of our favourite literary sites to visit around Auckland. The Auckland Literary Heritage Trail has many more.
1. Army Bay
Janet Frame bought a cottage in Army Bay upon returning to New Zealand in 1972. Despite the idyllic location, the increasing noise from suburban development and summer campers, as well as the deaths of a number of close friends, including Charles Brasch, made for a frustratingly sustained period of writer’s block.
2. Frank Sargeson’s house, Esmonde Road, Takapuna
Frank Sargeson was an acclaimed short story writer and a pioneer in capturing an authentic 'Kiwi' voice in literature. He was also a friend to many celebrated authors including Janet Frame and CK Stead.
The Edwardian architecture in Helensville provided the perfect film set for Jane Campion’s An Angel at My Table, the autobiography of author Janet Frame.
4. Ambrico Kiln, New Lynn
Maurice Gee’s novel Going West vividly describes the once extensive brickworks of New Lynn, home of the iconic New Zealand crockery supplier Crown Lynn. Ambrico Kiln is one of the few remnants of this brick and pottery empire. Visit Te Toi Uku Clay Works while you’re there.
5. Oneroa, Waikehe Island
Janet Frame's novel A State of Siege is partially set on Waiheke Island, where the writer spent time living in a holiday cottage on Queens Drive, Oneroa. Filmmaker Vincent Ward adapted this work for his first short film.
6. Awataha Marae, Northcote
Hone Tuwhare was a resident of Beachhaven for 30 years and witnessed the sad events of the disinterment of urupā at Awataha Marae in 1942: “Hurry rain and trail him, to the bottom of the grave” (from ‘Burial’).