Excerpts from "The First Twenty Five Years" publication:
Once it was decided the ASP needed workshop space of its own the search for a suitable site began. It was hoped to find premises as close to the mid city as possible and to this end two old houses in Collingwood Street, Ponsonby were considered. These however proved to be too expensive. The Gas Company offered a site in Beaumont Street near the gas works but this too was unsuitable. About this time Clive Symes, chief valuer for the Housing Corporation, found an old house at Mt Wellington which was due for demolition. If the ASP could take it away it was theirs!
A section next door to the Gasometer in Seaview Road, Onehunga was considered next and Dave Parton and Roger Paul talked over plans with the Onehunga Borough Council, but the Secondary School at the rear of the site was not happy and the planning committee declined permission. Ruth Court approached the then Mayor of Onehunga, Leo Manning wo was keen to have us in the borough and he suggested a site in Neilson Street. In those days the was approached down a long drive and the completely undeveloped area was covered with rocks and waist high fennel, but the potential was obvious.
Armed with building design, drawings, plans and the legal aspect, Ruth Court, Dave Parton and Roger Paul again met with the Onehunga Borough Council. The Mayor, Borough Engineer, Town Planner and some of the Councillors were very supportive and a lease and permission to move the old house onto the site was granted.
The first of many working bees was arranged to prepare the house for removal. Chimneys were demolished, pipes etc disconnected and pathways ripped up in readiness for Daverns Ltd who neatly sliced the building in half and removed it to the Te Papapa site where it was jacked up and put together again.
A builder was found to rebuild the roof and put the verandah on but a great deal of the work was done by members wielding hammers, wheelbarrows and paintbrushes.
The ASP is indebted to many firms and individuals who donated their expertise, time and materials to make the dream of a workshop centre for the ASP a reality.
The ASP centre was opened by the Onehunga Mayor Mr Leo Manning at a ceremony in September 1975.
At this ceremony Mr Leo Manning was given a throwing lesson by Ruth Court and made his first pot on a Leach type kick wheel.
September 1975 newsletter: "The new Craft Centre at Onehunga was given a great opening with an informal barbecue and a very good turnout of potters."
Other bits of interest:
The House was gifted to the Society but the total cost of shifting it to the site and the cost of renovations was $13, 085.
The first overseas guest to teach a weekend workshop was Alan Caiger-Smith of Aldermaston, England.