Just a short drive along the waterfront east of Auckland’s CBD, at the mouth of the Waitemata harbour, sits the recently launched Mission Bay Pavilion.

It’s housed in the heritage-listed Melanesian Mission, which was built in 1859, and has served as an Anglican school for Melanesian boys, a naval training base, a World War 1 flying school and a museum. Newly restored and renovated by Herbst Architects, known for their designer holiday homes, this iconic basalt building now has a new neighbouring pavilion — and a new lease on life.

Juxtaposed against the original façade of scoria quarried from the volcanic island of Rangitoto, which sits across the harbour from Mission Bay, the contemporary addition reactivates an otherwise-dormant piece of history. The space is refined but inviting. The interior, designed by Katie Lockhart, features carpentry of rich spotted gum, coastal blue and white accents, and red bentwood chairs, and a hand-printed fish motif by artist Tracey Tawhiao swims all over the placemats.

Head chef Camillo Bisaccioni has devised a Tuscan-inspired sharing menu that takes cues from Mission Bay’s seaside locale with dishes like kingfish ceviche, pink ling fish sliders and grilled octopus. Wines from New Zealand and elsewhere are available by the carafe, and there’s a covered courtyard adorned with lemon trees for those who like to enjoy their meal within shot of a salty sea breeze.

Licensed until midnight, Mission Bay Pavilion will host a limited number of weddings each year, and with its elegant balance between history and modernity, it already feels like a timeless choice of venue — the kind of place likely to be loved for generations to come.

Food photography—Dean Foster | All other photography— Greta Kenyon | Location—Mission Bay  | Words—Casey Pavilion Vassallo | Florals—Shaye Woolford at On My Hand  | Invitations—Charise Geyser | Tableware, crockery, placemats & coasters— Mission Bay Pavilion