Public Art Around The World

More Than Just The Plaque


Sir Dove-Myer Robinson The Shirtless Mayor


One of the most delightfully eccentric characters immortalized in bronze would have to be Sir Dove-Myer Robinson. Known simply as “Robbie” by the locals, the bespectacled Sir Dove-Myer Robinson was Auckland city’s longest-running mayor. He held office for 18 years. He was also delightfully weird, highly astute and a true visionary.

Among his eccentricities, Robbie was often seen walking to work shirtless. This was fine and dandy until he was featured shirtless in an episode of the British documentary series, Whicker’s world, making the city mayor a little bit of a laughing stock.

Robbie was relentlessly bullied at school but he had the last laugh when he was Knighted in 1970. Being of small stature, his massive ego and booming voice made him formidable. Unfortunately, his polarising personality may have hindered many of his forward-thinking ideas.  

It is hard to imagine what the city of Auckland would be like today, had ‘Robbie’s Rapid Rail’ eventuated. Robbie had great plans to build an inner-city light rail network in the 1970s. It was thwarted at the last minute by a newly elected government.

One of his greatest legacies was the sewage ponds near Manukau Harbour which became known as “Robbie’s Ponds”.

Want to read more about the shirtless mayor? Click here, Sir Dove-Myer Robinson.

Or if you can get your hands on a copy of Urban Legend by John Edgar and Finlay MacDonald (2012 by Hachette Publishers), you are guaranteed an entertaining read.

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