Marino Gardens Historical Society

Marino Gardens has its own Historical Society made up of residents and owners who meet on a regular basis to discover and share information.

If you would like to join this informal group please contact

The historical/preservation society is dedicated to preserving, collecting, researching, and interpreting historical information or items relating to the Marino Gardens complex. The information gathered will be a way to help future generations understand the heritage of the complex. The MGHS, will be dedicated to the study and appreciation of all aspects of the history of Marino Gardens through research, and the collection and preservation of fine arts, decorative arts, archeological objects, printed and manuscript materials and maps, and historic artifacts related to the heritage of Marino Gardens.

View our complete Historical Timeline (WIP) with everything we have collected in chronological order.

Construction (1935-36)

The development was undertaken by Winstone Limited to showcase building materials they stocked and sold. Constructed of brick and Steeltex, this building advertised safety from fire, borer, vermin, dry rot, maintenance and depreciation, and is considered early International Modern style.

Construction came at a time of increasing popularity of flats for residential purposes and were described as a modern trend of the time. It was designed in a two storey block with nine flats on each floor, 13 garages, three laundries, and drying space. Landscaping was planned to include gardens, shrubs and trees, and a tennis court with a brick shelter pavilion.

Architectural Award (1937)

In April of 1937 the New Zealand Institute of Architects awarded their Gold Medal for 1936 to Kenneth Walter Aimer (1891-1960) for his design of the Marino Gardens flats.

Aimer had been an associate of the NZIA since 1918, and in partnership with Hugh Grierson was noted for a number of projects in Auckland and elsewhere in the North Island. In 1922 Grierson & Aimer worked jointly with M. K. Draffin, and were associated with the winning design for the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

In fact more than one architect worked on Marino Gardens, as according to Peter Shaw in his book A History of New Zealand Architecture (1997, 2003), Aimer said on receiving his award that he gave full credit to Vernon Akitt Brown (1905-1965) as "the man who should have got the medal" (p144). It is uncertain how much input Brown had, but he was a talented draughtsman and architect in his own right.

Life at Marino Gardens

In September 1936, both the Auckland Star and the New Zealand Herald report the first birth associated with the complex; a daughter to residents Mr and Mrs Robert Stewart (nee Lydia Gosling). The first recorded death came in September 1943 with the Auckland Star obitary for resident Helen Laing, with a service to be held at Sibuns chapel on Khyber Pass, followed by a private cremation, and no flowers by request.

Many comings and goings were recorded in the "social news" sections of the day, including a visit by Miss Laurette Russell to her parents at Marino Gardens in February 1939. A year later in February 1940 the Evening Post announced the engagement of Laurette Russell, only daughter of Mr and Mrs Rex Russell, Marino Gardens. In November of that same year the New Zealand Herald reported on Laurette's wedding, commenting in detail on the bride's French lace gown.

A classified was placed in the New Zealand Herald in June 1937 seeking a lost fox terrier last seen in the Marino Gardens vicinity. And an advertisement appeared in the same paper in January 1941 for a married couple to apply to Winstone Limited as caretakers of Marino Gardens with weekly wages of £5/1/4.

Swimming pool construction

The original construction of Marino Gardens included a tennis court within the complex grounds.

More recently this was replaced by a swimming pool and tiled common area, as well as a changing shed in the same stucco finish as the main building, with sweeping art deco curves.


In the early 1990s the entire Marino Gardens complex underwent a redevelopment. The original floor plans included separate kitchen and dining rooms, whereas the redeveloped units featured modern open plan kitchen and dining spaces.

Heritage listing (2005)

On 8 September 2005, just prior to Auckland City Heritage Week (12-18 September), Marino Gardens was awarded Category B heritage status. Evaluation by council heritage staff gave a score of 64 points, which signals strong heritage value, and cited the complex as "a leading early example of a change in character in suburban dwellings."

The listing, now known as Category 2 under the Auckland Unitary Plan, prevents the main building from being demolished, damaged, or significantly altered. Owners are still allowed to renovate the interiors of their apartments, but the distinct yellow stucco exterior and all foyers are protected.

Residents sought the protection due to the neighbouring development on Kelly Street which was controversial at the time, amidst fears that Marino Gardens could be damaged once the diggers started to excavate.

Earthquake strengthening (2022)

In 2017 a report revealed that aspects of the building, including timber on the ground floor as well as brick chimneys, failed to reach the 34% New Building Standard (NBS) for earthquake risk.

A major project was undertaken over many years, including disruption near the end by the COVID-19 pandemic, and in 2022 the certifications were completed at last.

The entire complex now meets at least 68% NBS, placing it in the low risk category, and safeguarding the future of this historic building for generations to come.

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