Just south of Auckland city, in a valley formed by the ridges of Symonds Street and Karangahape Road, Newton was once a populous inner-city suburb. Its narrow, crooked streets were lined with weatherboard houses and shops. In the 1891 census, the Karangahape district had more than 4000 residents, a seventh of the City of Auckland's total population.
By the time the motorway was built through Newton, the area was already in decline. Tramline extensions had opened up newer suburbs like Sandringham and Grey Lynn to commuting workers. In the 1940s and 50s, houses around Upper Queen Street became a focus of Auckland City Council's slum clearance project. Motorway construction destroyed hundreds of homes and moved tens of thousands of people out of the inner-city suburbs. Small-scale industry took over the truncated streets on either side of the Northwestern Motorway. It wasn't until the late-90s apartment boom that people returned to living in Newton.
There are still traces of the old Newton in the streets and building facades. This is a little history of the hidden city.