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Welcome to the website of Historic Places Wellington Incorporated (HPW). We are a membership not-for-profit organisation based in Wellington, New Zealand. We advocate for heritage in the wider Wellington region, and offer events such as talks, walks and visits to historic places and buildings.  For more information, see our About Us page.  Our newsletters are under the Resources page, as are useful links and other heritage information. We are also on Facebook.

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News and Events

Lunchtime concerts are regularly held in heritage-listed building St Andrew’s on the Terrace on Wednesdays at 12:15

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Wellington City Council is holding three ‘Planning for Growth’ seminars. They start at 5:30pm on the following days. They are free but you need to register. Click the links for more details and to register (the first talk has been held; the third is booked out):

Thurs Feb 27: Living Comfortably with Risk’ explores the issues that stress or shock a city, and what it takes to recover and ultimately thrive.

Thurs 5 March: ‘The New Urban Community‘ features international speaker David Sim of Gehl Architects on the principles of creating a ‘soft city’.

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Sunday 8 March, starting at 10am: Queen Elizabeth Park open day, Paekakariki. If you have ever wanted to get a better look at the US Marines Memorial, the US Marines Memorial Trust will be on hand to open up the display hut and share the stories of the men who trained here. For more information see the Greater Wellington Regional Council website here.

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Saturday 14 March 2020: Baring Head Open Day. Greater Wellington Regional Council will “be putting on a bus from Wainuiomata Library to take you along the road to Baring Head which is home to a beautiful lighthouse and lighthouse keeper cottages.

We want to celebrate the amazing people who volunteer in this space so come along to hear Friends of Baring Head share all the stories behind this amazing landscape and the hard work they’ve put into it!

We’ll provide you with a map and then you can explore to your hearts content. We will also have 4WD shuttles for the steeper bits of the journey, meaning anyone can get involved!”. Starting at 10am from East Harbour Regional Park, Burden’s Gate entrance. Free. There appears to be no registration required. See GWRC website.

See Friends of Baring Head Lighthouse for information about their restoration project.

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Sunday 15 March, 3pm to 5:30pm: The Greytown Heritage Trust is holding a fundraising Jubilee garden party and art auction at Cobblestones in Greytown. Tickets can be bought from Eventfinda. The Art Auction Catalogue can be viewed on the Trust’s website.  Just click on the image.  Any problems in accessing the catalogue or in buying tickets, please email greytownheritagetrust@gmail.com

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Sunday 22 March: Futuna Chapel Open Day; open from 11am. There is a guided tour at 11:30am, and a musical performance at 2pm. At 3pm Ron Brownson, Senior Curator at Auckland Art Gallery, will talk about the work of Jim Allen, who was responsible for the sculptural work at Futuna Chapel. Bookings not required. Free but koha appreciated. Click the link for more information.

Futuna Chapel will also host a series of Sunday afternoon concerts (at 2 pm) from 22 March to 31 May 2020 – the Colours of Futuna series. Click the link for details.

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Thurs 26 March, 7pm to 9pm – public meeting: We have organised this event.

Restoring our old houses – do Wellingtonians need help?

Although Wellington has many built-heritage groups and associations, it has not had a group which focuses on supporting the on-going care of its iconic old timber houses. Historic Places Wellington is interested to find out if there is interest for such a group in Wellington.

Members of the Canterbury Vintage Home Restorers Group have been supporting one another for 30 years. Founding members Trevor and Jill Lord will present their experience in forming the group and examples of restoration projects undertaken by group members. Their presentation will be followed by a group discussion.

Venue: St Peter’s Garden Room, 90 Ghuznee Street, Wellington (behind St Peter’s Church). Admission: Free

You can read more about the group in this article: https://latitudemagazine.co.nz/valuing-vintage-canterbury-vintage-home-restorers-group/

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The latest edition (Jan-Feb 2020) of Heritage Today is available from Wellington Region Heritage Promotion Council – download a PDF copy here: Heritage Today Jan Feb 2020. Earlier editions are available from their online library.

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Karori Streets publication updated (information from Heritage This Month, Heritage NZ emailed monthly newsletter, Jan 2020)

Well-known Wellington author, Judith Burch, has done a fine job updating an earlier publication, Karori Streets 1841-1941 compiled by the late Will Chapman and Kitty Wood, and published in 1991, with the addition of new roads and subdivisions and history of the people the streets are named after.

Launched by the Karori Historical Society late last year, Judith Burch’s book, Karori Streets is a definitive account of Karori’s pioneers and how this podocarp forested valley in Wellington became Wellington’s largest suburb.

Judith has described in great detail how Karori was subdivided and how streets were named.  For instance, Alanbrooke Place, named after Alan Francis Brooke (1883-1963), a British Field Marshal during World War II.  He was Chief of the Imperial Staff from 1941-1946, and was created First Viscount Alanbrooke in 1946.

Another, Lemnos Ave, was formerly named Earl Street, but was renamed in 1925 to avoid confusion with Earls Terrace in Mt Victoria, Wellington.  Lemnos Ave is named after the Greek Island Lemnos, near the Dardanelles.  It was used as an Allied naval base during the Gallipoli campaign.

Many streets in Karori have been named after battlefields where thousands of New Zealand soldiers lost their lives in World War I.  Wellington Mayor, Andy Foster, a resident of Karori, was instrumental in getting new streets signs recognising these battle fields being added to these streets in Karori during the past three years.

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Civic Trust Awards Ceremony was held on 10 December 2019. The Wellington Civic Trust Awards were established in 2002 by the Trustees to recognize projects which enhance the city and contribute to making Wellington the best city in which to work and live.  The Awards are held every second year.

There are three categories for projects that enhance Wellington:

  1. Projects that enhance or protect the essential character of Wellington – Excellence Award
  2. Projects that preserve character buildings – the Grant Tilly Memorial Award
  3. The People’s Choice – for art and sculpture installations in public spaces.

The winner of category one was Press Hall, 78 Willis St (Cheops Holdings & McKee Fehl). T G McCarthy Trust Building upgrade, 60 Cuba St was runner up, and two were highly commended – Eva and Leeds Street laneways and Te Mara Apartments, Mt Cook.

The winner of the second category was the Public Trust Hall, 131-135 Lambton Quay, again Cheops Holdings & McKee Fehl. Maurice Clark spoke about his ‘labour of love’ in restoring the building. Centennial Flats, Berhampore (refurbishment project by Architecture Cubed) was highly commended. The event was held in the beautifully restored and renovated Public Trust Hall.

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Karori. 1961 designed by John ScottFutuna chapel (a Category 1 historic building) is open to visitors on the first Sunday of the month from 11am till 3pm. A trustee will be present to answer your questions.  Entry by koha.

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Blue Plaques. This is an initiative of our national body, Historic Places Aotearoa to identify and promote our built heritage. The large cast aluminium plaques are designed to be placed prominently on the facades of important heritage buildings. We have some interest from heritage building owners in Wellington.

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On 15 July 2019 at the National Library a series of talks on how to save Wellington Central Library was held to a capacity audience of 175 and 100 outside in overflow viewing. Talks by Gordon Moller (history of civic square and development) Ken Davis (working on the project 1989-91), Adam Thornton (a fantastic lesson in seismic design and possible costs) and Councilor Iona Pannet (Council process and perspective). MC Judi Keith-Brown NZIA president elect. This event was recorded and is available to view here. You can read more in our August 2019 newsletter.

Here is an article from last year by former councillor Helene Ritchie who chaired the committee overseeing redevelopment of Civic Square in the late 1980s.

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Victoria University of Wellington, which owns the Gordon Wilson Flats at 320 The Terrace, wishes to demolish the building. It is not currently habitable. A city council panel approved the proposal to take the Gordon Wilson flats off the council’s heritage list. The Architectural Centre appealed the decision. The decision from the Environment Court on Gordon Wilson Flats came out on 9 August 2017. The appeal by the Architectural Centre was allowed and Gordon Wilson Flats should not be taken off the Council’s heritage list.

Gordon Wilson Flats
Gordon Wilson Flats, late 1950s. The Terrace.

The decision noted that the appeal process had: “provided information that raises the heritage significance architecturally, socially and technically … of the GWF. Rather than diminishing the building’s heritage value … it has in fact strengthened the reasons for it to be listed” (at [51]). For more information about the Gordon Wilson Flats as architectural heritage, see the website of the Architectural Centre. And, also, on the DOCOMOMO NZ website.

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