New Kiwi Icon: New Lynn Rail Trench Pottery

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Artists collect the free rail trench clay

Watch out at Christmas for a potential new Kiwi icon - a one-off batch of New Lynn rail trench pottery!

Today, dozens of local potters queued up in the rain to score some historic New Lynn clay.

It came from the huge amount dug out during the digging of New Lynn’s rail trench. Artists and potters were invited to help themselves to some free.

Ironically New Lynn (and in fact just around the corner from today’s clay handout) was the home of New Zealand’s iconic Crown Lynn pottery works, which made the famous thick railway cups which served Auckland-Wellington train express customers a much-welcomed warm cuppa tea at stations like Te Kuiti on their overnight journey for decades.


Painting, NZR cup |Rudolf Boelee

Tom Clark was the genius behind Crown Lynn, making porcelain tiles and electrical fittings alongside his family’s brick and pipe works.  In the 70s, Crown Lynn was the southern hemisphere’s biggest pottery manufacturer, employing 500 and annually producing 15m pieces of china for NZ, the Pacific islands, Australia and other countries.

Artists benefit from the building of the rail trench

RAIL TRENCH: Bob Harvey has been a champion for rail

The factory closed in 1989 after being hit by difficult economic times and New Zealanders, with new export channels opened as part of the new Rogernomics economy, started to demand more “sophisticated” china.

Today’s handout is another testament to the influence of Waitakere mayor Bob Harvey who has so successfully and effectively pushed the arts in his pioneering eco-city so that it’s part of life there – such as bridges that have been built with input from artists.

So too is Bob Harvey’s wonderful influence shown in the New Lynn rail development and the striking Henderson rail station, none of which wouldn’t have happened without his understanding of the balance needed between cars and public transport.

Sadly for us, the mayor has made it clear he won’t stand for the supercity mayoralty but let’s hope he at least considers a place on the council. Auckland needs him to continue his good work.




  1. Hi, Good site and sentiments. You have used one of my NZR Cup paintings on this page. Could you please mention that?
    Thanks Rudol

  2. Jon C says:

    Absolutely, have done so. I had not earlier spotted the reference so thanks for pointing it out. I am very big on making sure credits are given for anything that is not mine.
    Thanks for your kind comments.

  3. Ross McDonald says:

    I must have the wrong settings ~ the page is all brown and the only way I can view is if I highlight the text. Can you tell me what I need to do to be able tio view normally?



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