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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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Historic Places Wellington is setting up a Home Restorers Group to support 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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Futuna Chapel concerts and open day: Futuna Chapel is a Category 1 historic place off Friend St, Karori. The Futuna Chapel Trust’s annual concert series starts on 21 March and goes until 30 May at 2pm. See the link for more details. On Sunday 11 April, they will hold their annual open day, with a tour, concert and talk. See this link for these details.

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

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New Zealand Archaeology Week: 24 April to 2 May. The Wellington programme is available below (PDF) or keep an eye on their website or Facebook page for events. Note the following events are full: Mary O’Keeffe’s two tours on the waterfront 24 April and 27 April; the Terawhiti Goldfields trip; and the Lost Streams tour on 1 May.

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April is Nelson’s heritage month. You can download the programme from this website.

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New architecture book by Geoff Mew: Architects at the Apex: the top 50 in New Zealand 1840-1940. If you would like to buy a copy ($59.95 + $6 postage) please email us for the details.

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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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Heritage at risk

Thorndon houses

Submissions closed on 5 October 2020 on the Wellington City Council’s 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.”  You can read more on the council’s website. We asked that the consultation should be delayed and issued a media release. We also suggested some guidelines for making a submission, and made a submission. You can read them all on our Advocacy page. We also made an oral submission and our chair, Felicity Wong, summarised the oral submissions in this Scoop article.

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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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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.

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

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