Community spirit is alive and kicking at Stonefields, one of Auckland’s first master planned communities. Sheltering on the sunny side of Mt Wellington, on the site of the old Winstone quarry just 10 km from the CBD between St Johns and Meadowbank.
Community spirit is alive and kicking at Stonefields, one of Auckland’s first master planned communities. Sheltering on the sunny side of Mt Wellington, on the site of the old Winstone quarry just 10 km from the CBD between St Johns and Meadowbank, this close-knit, high quality urban village is home to a friendly bunch who can often be seen in the street swapping the latest goss while young kiddies shimmy around on scooters or bikes.
Stop to ask where ‘so and so’ lives and they’ll point you in the right direction. They proudly tell you almost everyone here knows one another. How could they not with a compact suburb layout where houses stand shoulder to shoulder and it feels as safe and secure as a gated community?
Lined with smart contemporary apartments, terraces, duplexes and individual homes, it has the stamp of a fresh new designer village within a city, where everything is pristine, orderly and nothing is old or shabby. Village developers, Todd Property say when the suburb is complete in 2025 – and cranes still hover above large construction sites that are forging ahead - around 6500 people will live here.
Nowhere is the upbeat, friendly vibe more apparent than at the local café, Charlie & George in the well-designed shopping hub at Stonefields Market. This is where all the action happens and you don’t have to wait long to catch a bus to town or the train station at Glen Innes. Tables are regularly filled to overflowing with young couples, families and locals who come to feel the buzz, top up latte levels and indulge in delicious home-made treats. Next door Speights Ale House is famous for its lamb shanks, venison and lambs fry and around the corner an excellent pizza kitchen beckons at Palermo.
Nearby Lunn Avenue has its restaurants, big box stores, a New World supermarket and Farro for the finest fresh food, but it’s easier and more convenient to nip into the Stonefields Market for groceries at SuperValue grocery, trendy furniture at Akia or even pick up a gift at Chatterbox.
Conversation often turns to school in this crowd. Families move here just so their kids can go to Stonefields School to benefit from an open learning environment, the latest technology and a high teacher student ratio. During the week the school hall is busy with dance classes, Taekwando, scouts, keas and other community activities. The Stonefields Residents Association keeps everyone up to date with local news and brings locals even closer with regular events like the annual Christmas light competition and meet the neighbours days.
At Stonefields, wide open spaces abound in beautiful parks and reserves with heritage tracks through the 5.3 ha native Maungarei Springs Wetland built around three lakes where you can wander or picnic. It’s not far to drive to beautiful eastern beaches, Waiatarua Reserve or the Remuera Golf Course either.
If thrills are your gig, try Dialled for trampoling or Extreme Edge Rock Climbing. The weekends see cars pour in, headed for the pools at Swimtastic and school sports. Football, rugby and cricket are catered for at Colin Maiden Park in Morrin Road and netball is in full flight at the AMI Netball Centre.
Transformed from a disused quarry to a humming modern community within earshot of the University of Auckland Tamaki campus, this innovative new development delivers a blueprint for successful urban living. Visit, take a look around, chat to the locals. No doubt you’ll be convinced it’s time you moved here too.
Homes at Stonefields sit in an easy to navigate, level grid on a sunny, sheltered level 110ha site that was once the old Winstone’s quarry. A diverse range of medium to high density design and build homes feature brick and Linear weatherboards embraced within the quietude of the former quarry’s bluestone walls.
Around 2500 high quality apartments, terraces and individual homes in a variety of contemporary styles cater to different income levels, lifestyles and age groups. Many focus on small pocket parks and green spaces with magma-referencing names. The crown jewel is the dramatic 5.3 ha wetland where three lakes and surrounding wetland zones are embellished by solid serpentine boardwalks.
Stonefields might be one of Auckland’s most recent neighbourhoods but its history goes back to around 9000 years ago, when Auckland’s largest volcano, Maungarei or Mt Wellington, erupted. Spewing hot lava down the slopes of its 130m high cone, it formed the rich layers of basalt stone fields from which the suburb takes its name. Then 600 years ago, the Maori arrived to build their pa settlements under the watchful gaze of the mountain. Maungarei translates as ‘Watchful Mountain’ or ‘The Mountain of the Reipae,’ a Tainui ancestress who travelled to Northland in the form of a bird. Terraced Maori pa sites and fortification ditches can still be seen on the side of the mountain.
By 1936, the Maori were long gone. Winstones arrived to open a quarry next to the mountain in the basalt lava field. They excavated about 18 million cubic metres of rocks to supply concrete aggregate for major construction projects such as forming the runway at Auckland’s airport. When the rocks in the quarry had dwindled, the operation was no longer viable, so it closed in 2001, 65 years after it had opened.
In the same year, land development company, Landco, now part of the Todd Property Group, bought the quarry. They were determined to counter any negative connotations associated with the quarry and set about producing the Stonefields master planned community, built around a school and town centre for the 110 ha block.
The development had location on its side, with neighbouring established suburbs such as Ellerslie, Meadowbank and St Johns and being an easy commute to downtown Auckland.
Teaming up with Fletcher Residential for construction reinforced to prospective buyers that Stonefields would be a quality development. Construction began in 2006 and the first of 2600 new houses on compact sites, ranging from 220sqm standalone residences to low rise terraced housing and apartments appeared in 2007.
Eyebrows were raised initially about Fletcher’s plans for this new style of living but demand grew rapidly. Its success is undeniable. Even during an economic downturn there was intense interest among those who sought a safe neighbourhood with solid, high quality, low maintenance homes and modern facilities close to the city. The rest, as they say, is history.
Stonefields is now a thriving community in a sheltered leafy urban village offering a relaxed, social and safe lifestyle.