Grey Lynn

including Pt Chevalier, Westmere and Arch Hill

Suburb Specialists

Grey Lynn is a highly desirable inner-city suburb, seen as a slightly cheaper alternative to neighbouring Ponsonby, and traditional home to free-thinkers and anti-establishment types. Westmere and Pt Chevalier residents exhibit similar tendencies but beneath the liberal veneer, they have more conservative concerns (like, how am I going to pay this mortgage if the interest rate goes up again?). Grey Lynn is a study in social and economic contrasts. Visit the Foodtown supermarket and you’re almost guaranteed to bump into someone famous or get cornered in conversation by a disheveled bag lady. Grey Lynn still feels pretty urban in parts and not all of its streets have benefited from gentrification yet. In Westmere and Pt Chevalier things are a little more sedate and the lawns more consistently clipped.

Who Lives There?

Aside from the neo-hippies, Grey Lynn is where many of the artistically inclined and media types like to live (go celeb-spotting at the local supermarket). It’s also the traditional home of gay women – gay men live in the more expensive neighbouring Ponsonby because men generally earn more money and don’t have kids to support. Grey Lynn is attracting people on its own merits, which include wider streets, off-street parking and larger sections. The area attracts young hipster renters who want to be close to the city centre, the clubs and cafés along Ponsonby and Karangahape Rds. Older people who have lived in the suburb for most of their lives choose to remain and there is a sizeable number of Maori and Polynesian families in long-held family homes, although their slow but steady displacement seems inevitable as more and more affluent buyers are attracted to the area. Westmere and Pt Chevalier are not as outwardly arty as Grey Lynn, however the suburbs are full of trendy liberals, often with school-age child accessories and their pampered pooches that they drop off at Barkley Manor, the much talked- about local doggie day-care centre, en route to work in the city. Westmere’s waterfront appeal continues to increase. Pt Chevalier has well and truly shed its status as a backwater appealing only to the elderly. Before Meola Rd linked it to Westmere in the late 1970s, the peninsula suburb was a backwater. Now it is in demand from young professionals and families as a commuter suburb and a great place to raise a family (parks, schools and tidal beaches.)

Typical Homes

Grey Lynn and Arch Hill’s villas and bungalows have undergone a steady spit and polish regime during the past decade. Most are now smartly renovated with modern interiors, leaving only a few remaining broken-down houses or those artistically embellished with weird colour schemes. There’s a group of well-established terraced houses near the West Lynn shops and some apartment buildings on the main arterial Great North Rd. Arch Hill has narrower streets, smaller worker’s cottages and more do-ups. Westmere and Pt Chevalier were originally developed as bungalow suburbs in the 1920s and grew directly along the tram routes. In fact Pt Chevalier used to be a popular holiday destination for people living in the city until urban sprawl morphed it into a desirable destination suburb. Westmere has everything from wooden bungalows, ex-state homes and the occasional stucco clad Art Deco house to glamorous award-winning, architecturally designed homes along the water’s edge in Rawene Ave. Subdivision of larger sections has meant that there is a good smattering of townhouses, especially throughout Pt Chevalier.

Population Profile


Aged Under 15 Years 18.46%
Aged Over 65 Years 8.77%
European 68.14%
Maori 8.48%
Pacific Peoples 12.99%
Asian 8.18%