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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 / Te Whanganui-a-Tara, 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

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Our chairperson Felicity Wong gave a presentation (online via Zoom) to U3A Wellington city on 31 August 2021 on Challenges to Built Heritage: Neglect, Earthquakes and Urban Planning. You can read a copy on our advocacy page – or click this link here. (PDF copy)

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Wellington Heritage Week will be on from 25 to 31 October 2021. The programme is available from their website. We are sponsoring a public talk on 27 October. See our upcoming events page for details.

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Saturday 13 November: Research your house workshop.

Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga is hosting a workshop in Wellington on how to research your house. Bookings essential. Please see their website for details.

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Historic Places Wellington’s Home Restorers Group supports the on-going maintenance, restoration and regeneration of 19th and 20th Century Wellington houses. The group will be of interest to home-owners, designers and craftspeople involved in caring for old wooden houses. Activities will include monthly seminars, workshops or site visits and will gather useful historical, technical and design resources. Click the link for more details, or follow us on Facebook to see when the next meeting will be.

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The latest issue of Oculus, the newsletter of our national body, Historic Places Aotearoa, is available on our useful links page (scroll down to HPA).

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St Andrew’s on the Terrace, a Category 1 historic place, has Wednesday (and occasionally Thursday) lunchtime concerts. Check their website for further details.

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Futuna Chapel will be open on the first Sunday of the month, from 11am to 3pm. A trustee will be present to answer your questions. Free entry: a koha is appreciated.

Located off Friend Street, Karori, Futuna Chapel was designed by John Scott and built in 1961 and is a Category 1 historic place.

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Aotearoa Unearthed is an eight-part New Zealand archaeology podcast series released recently. You can find the episodes by clicking the link (each is approximately 15-20 mins).

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Heritage at risk

Thorndon houses

In 2020 Wellington City Council issued a Draft Spatial Plan. “The Spatial Plan is essentially a ‘blueprint’ for our city that sets out a plan of action for where and how we should grow and develop.”  The draft plan reduced current inner city “character” areas (where pre-1930 houses generally need a resource consent before demolishing) by 71%. We opposed this drastic reduction. You can read our submission on our Advocacy page.

The Council received over 3000 submissions and voted on a revised plan (which ‘only’ reduced character areas by 50%). The council voted to go back to the c. 71% loss of the draft plan. You can read more and see how each councillor voted in this Scoop article. This will become part of the Draft District Plan, which is still to go through consultation processes.

Ben Schrader, urban historian and HPW committee member, wrote this opinion piece on 1 July 2021.

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Wellington is officially a UNESCO City of Film. Read more on the Nga Taonga (Film Archive) website. Or the Wellington City of Film website.

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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 more information on Blue Plaques on our resources page.

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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.

July 2020: the university presented its plans for the site, which includes renovating the Maclean Flats but demolishing Gordon Wilson Flats. Here are a few articles about it. Stuff July 29 and Stuff 30 July; Scoop July 29.

Urban historian Ben Schrader gives a useful overview of the building’s history and significance on the Bay Heritage website here.

This photo shows the colour scheme in the 1970s (from NZ Architect, No. 5 1978):

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