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. We are also on Facebook: facebook.com/historicplaceswellington
Wellington historic buildings to visit
Some of Wellington’s historic buildings can be regularly visited (although some require a guided tour). Click the links for more information:
Old St Paul’s Church; Parliament Buildings; Old Government Buildings; Supreme Court; Katherine Mansfield Birthplace; Government House; St Gerard’s Monastery; St Peter’s Church; Wellington Museum (including Nairn Street Cottage); Futuna Chapel, Karori; Golder Cottage, Upper Hutt; Paekakariki Station Museum, Paekakariki, Kapiti coast, Silver Stream heritage railway, Upper Hutt.
Wellington’s historic listed buildings
To see if a building is listed as historic by Heritage New Zealand (formerly NZ Historic Places Trust) click the link to search. Local councils also maintain a heritage list as part of their District Plans – see our useful links page. You can search the buildings on the Wellington City Council’s list here: www.wellingtoncityheritage.org.nz
News and Events
The January/February edition of Heritage Today is online. Two of HPW’s committee members are mentioned for their architecture (Deborah Cranko) and historic and advocacy work (Ben Schrader).
“Bells Above”: There is currently a photographic exhibition on the refurbishment of the carillon at the Hall of Memories (under the carillon), Pukeahu Park.
19 – 21 January (Wellington Anniversary weekend) – a lot will be happening on the Kapiti Coast. Organised by the Discover Kapiti Heritage Group, see their website for more details.
Sunday 3 February: Futuna chapel 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.
Exhibition at Home of Compassion, Rhine St, Island Bay on the sisters role in the 1918 flu epidemic – on until 31 March 2019.
Lunchtime concerts are regularly held in heritage-listed building St Andrew’s on the Terrace on Wednesdays at 12:15. They start again on 13 February 2019.
20 February, 7:30pm, at Wellington Museum: Archaeologist Mary O’Keeffe will talk about three of her recent projects – two in the Wellington region and one in Victoria, Australia. The Wellington ones are: archaeological monitoring of the Transmission Gully project, including the discovery of a cannonball, and archaeological monitoring of landscaping on the Wellington waterfront, including revealing the Customhouse foundations, a subsequent “brick conundrum”, and underground tunnel.
4 June (four weeks on Tuesdays, 5:30 to 7:30pm): An evening class is offered on Wellington’s Architectural Heritage at Wellington High School Community Education. Click the link for more information.
Old St Paul’s fundraising: Fundraising for a multi-million-dollar project to strengthen historic Old St Paul’s in central Wellington is underway ahead of its temporary closure next year to allow work to be carried out.
Old St Paul’s is a national treasure cared for by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, with support from the Friends of Old St Paul’s, on behalf of the country. Completed in 1866, the building will be closed from May to October 2019 to undertake necessary works. “This unique, timber, Gothic revival building has stood steadfast for 152 years while those around it have come and gone,” says Manager Heritage Assets Central, Paulette Wallace. “Sadly, it didn’t completely escape the impact of the Kaikoura earthquake in November 2016 and, while safe for the public to still visit today, it requires strengthening work.
“Under the tagline #ForeverOSP we are forging ahead with the project to strengthen and future-proof Old St Paul’s so people of all ages, persuasions and occasions can enjoy.”
The project will involve internal structural strengthening, external work to repair cracking and painting, and fire and electrical upgrades. When complete it will bring the building’s current seismic rating of above 34 percent to 90-100 percent.
A ‘donation station’ has been installed at Old St Paul’s for visitors to help contribute to the #ForeverOSP project, with tap-and-go options of $5, $15 and $25 suggested for donations – but of course, any cash or card donation is appreciated. Project costs will be covered by Heritage New Zealand, with a significant financial contribution made by the Friends of Old St Paul’s and the remainder coming from the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board, on site donations and other key donors.
You can also donate online to the #ForeverOSP campaign, by clicking here.
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.
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 is allowed and Gordon Wilson Flats should not be taken off the Council’s heritage list.
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 ). For more information about the Gordon Wilson Flats as architectural heritage, see the website of the Architectural Centre.
The Flats, which were built between 1957 and 1959, were on the City Council’s heritage list, but not on Heritage New Zealand’s Heritage List.
Historic Places Wellington financially supported the Architectural Centre’s appeal. The Committee held mixed views as to the architectural merit of the building – a reflection of wider community views – but all agreed that the delisting of a heritage building could set a dangerous precedent. It was on this basis that HPW gave its support. The Court’s rejection of the delisting will hopefully discourage other heritage building owners from taking this route. Nevertheless, the Wellington City Council is going to vote on changing the zoning status of the Gordon Wilson Flats from residential to institutional precinct. This could open the way for demolition.
To further promote the ongoing protection and future of significant historic and heritage sites, the Government has broadened the eligibility criteria of the National Heritage Preservation Incentive Fund (NHPIF) that Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga administers on its behalf.
From 1 May 2018, applications are open to all private property owners of places listed on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero, with the exception of historic areas. This includes Category 1 and Category 2 properties, as well as sites of significance to Māori.
More information is available on this website
The Government’s fund called Heritage EQUIP opened for applications on 15 December 2016. You can find more at this link: www.mch.govt.nz/heritageequip. This is separate from the facades and parapets policy.
Applications are welcome from owners of all privately-owned Category 1 Heritage New Zealand listed buildings across the country and for Category 2 listed heritage buildings in areas of high to medium seismic risk. “Grants are available for minor works under the Retrofit component of the fund, as well as for larger projects.”
The newsletters of the Wellington Region Heritage Promotion Council are available from the WRHPC website library.
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