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Welcome to Auckland

Fifty years ago, Bernard Roundhill created a vision of Auckland in 2000. It’s a good guess: a bunch of new buildings, vast motorways, jet planes, traffic—and you can’t blame Roundhill for expecting new public transport options
'Welcome to Auckland' layout

Idealog September/October 2006, page 114. Auckland 2000, artwork for centrefold (1956), by Bernard Roundhill

Fifty years ago, Bernard Roundhill created this vision of Auckland in 2000. It’s a good guess: a bunch of new buildings, vast motorways, jet planes, traffic—and you can’t blame Roundhill for expecting new public transport options.

Roundhill is considered the father of commercial art in New Zealand. He imagined a society where milk tanker drivers travel with hostesses, citizens can get around at road level, the subway or overhead railway, and Winstone—which commissioned this work—despatches masonry and drywall around town, presumably to meet insatiable construction demand. But other than the Winstone trucks, his Auckland looks regulated. He sees the Milk Board, the Passenger Transport Service, the Aerial Tramways. Branding is absent and there’s not a billboard in sight. Good luck finding a decent coffee.

Things haven’t panned out that way. We don’t live in the regulated 1950s, thank goodness. However, much of our urban development has been careless, cheap and ugly. At least Roundhill’s Auckland is designed. Let’s hope the next 50 years can revisit that ethic, whether in government or private enterprise.