The grounds and buildings of a defunct suburban bowling club, which closed following nearly a century of play, are now for sale.

Hillsboro Bowling Club in Auckland closed in 2017, after a continuing decline in patronage made the venue no longer financially viable. The club had been rolling on the greens for 92 years.

Its former headquarters at 16 Hillsborough Rd comprises 7975sq m of freehold land, plus the former 661sq m club house.

Hillsboro Bowling Club elected to merge with the nearby Onehunga Bowling Club and today the two former rivals — now known as Royal Oak Bowls — operate out of the old Onehunga site.


Following a previous unsuccessful attempt to market the Hillsboro property, the owners have now engaged Bayleys Real Estate to sell it via a tenders process closing at 4pm, on March 27.

Brokers Dave Stanley and Mike Adams say that with 18 months having elapsed since the previous attempt to sell, there is now a clean slate with which to proceed afresh.

Stanley believes that with a new marketing campaign the club can be confident of reaching a realistic sale price.

"With a fresh tender campaign, it is up to the market to decide where it sees value for what is essentially a residential development site in an established and comfortable Auckland suburban environment," he says.

The Hillsboro Bowling Club landholding across four individual titles is zonedResidential Mixed Housing Suburban, and Sport and Active Recreation under the Auckland Unitary Plan and is surrounded by a mixed housing urban and mixed housing suburban residential properties

The mixed housing suburban zone is the most widespread residential classification in Auckland — covering both established suburbs and green-field areas. The land use designation allows for the construction of one or two-storey dwellings in stand-alone or free standing configurations. The zone also allows for potential intensification provided any dwellings are built to a style which retains the existing suburban character.

Meanwhile, the Open Space Sport and Active Recreation zoning applies to land used for organised indoor and outdoor sports, active recreation — including the ability to sustain grandstands, clubrooms and changing facilities.

Adams says while the site's official address is 16 Hillsborough Rd, the former bowling club greens and clubhouse are also accessible through shared right-of-ways leading off both Mount Albert Rd and Budock Rd.

"What we see at 16 Hillsborough Rd is a perfect example of the transition of Auckland under the Unitary Plan, where under-utilised land, with its underlying purpose havingdwindled over the generations, is being replaced by housing, which the city needs," says Adams. "Auckland Council and central government have both flagged the need for more homes to be built in Auckland's existing urban areas. With the dire shortage of urban land available, we believe developers will be investigating the potential of this site."

Former Hillsboro Bowling Club president Ian Drew says the club has faced reality in its decision to sell the site.

"In the past Auckland Centre had around 60 bowls club across the region but now, with patronage of all types of club rapidly declining, the number of bowling clubs is less than 40 and reducing. We have faced challenges attracting patrons to the club and maintaining amenities such as the greens, bar and gaming machines have become too difficult, leading us merge and halve our overheads and to offer Hillsboro for sale," says Drew.

"Proceeds of sale will be for use developing new facilities in Onehunga, including carparking facilities and an indoor artificial bowling green."