including Freemans Bay

Suburb Specialists

Ponsonby is home to the pink dollar and good coffee. Yummy mummies sip skinny lattes with their designer-clad toddlers or their gay neighbours. To live in its narrow, double-parked streets you’ve probably sold your successful organic food company for millions, drive a late-model European and know what a Ghost chair is (a designer, see-through plastic number). Almost all of the tumble-down houses have been renovated to within an inch of their lives and spawned a new language: brown is mocha and a back verandah is a loggia. Historically, Freemans Bay was a poor and often disreputable quarter. It’s now known for its pretty mix of heritage homes and more modern single-dwelling houses. It is popular with young professional couples and trendy families alike. Homes have spectacular city views, but a reputation for losing the sun early in the day.

Who Lives There?

Ponsonby is not the eclectic mix of races and economic strata that it used to be. Professional sportspeople, media celebrities, advertising types, entrepreneurs and icons of Auckland’s gay subculture rub shoulders in Ponsonby Rd’s busy cafés, but that’s about as varied as it gets. There’s no shortage of people clamouring to live here but they have to have the money and the mindset to do so. Very few Asian migrants buy into Ponsonby – mainly due to the higher upkeep of the older homes. While it’s true the area has a warm social conscience and an appetite for all that is trendy, there’s also an obvious hankering for the finer things in life. Ponsonby residents are what the rest of New Zealand is visualising when they seethe on about “Dorklanders.” And Ponsonby residents love it.

Typical Homes

Ponsonby people love their houses, lavishing them with architect-inspired renovations then filling them with designer fittings and furnishings. This is where towels are folded onto the rail, not slung and where pillows are there for decoration, not comfort. Most houses are old villas and workingman’s cottages, nestling cheek-by-jowl on tiny sections in the narrow streets. You certainly get to know your neighbours well around here, even if you don’t want to. Freeman’s Bay has a broader mix of house styles – old villas, a smattering of 1930s bungalows, many 1960s ex-council flats (now being fought over tooth-and-nail by buyers for their retro appeal) and some new-ish townhouses. There’s even a beautiful little village of smart, angular wooden houses nestled between Howe St and the elevated motorway.

Population Profile


Aged Under 15 Years 13.75%
Aged Over 65 Years 7.65%
European 70.88%
Maori 6.80%
Pacific Peoples 8.92%
Asian 5.68%