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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.  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); Golder Cottage, Upper Hutt; Paekakariki Station Museum, Paekakariki, Kapiti coast.

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

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News and Events

Festival of Architecture, 7 to 17 September. Check out the NZIA website for Wellington events.

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heritage week logo

Starting on Labour Day, this is a week-long public event that includes open heritage properties, city tours, special museum exhibitions, films and presentations.

Highlights of the week include:

  • Open days at Antrim House, St Gerard’s Monastery, Government House, St Mary of the Angels and Wrights Hill Fortress;
  • Special tours at the New Zealand Cricket Museum and The Great War Exhibition; Wellington
  • Archaeologist Mary O’Keeffe hosting her previously sold out tour of the city’s most interesting sites;
  • Nga Taonga Sound & Vision presenting heritage films on the development of Wellington City and important events that have shaped the city;
  • Special presentations at the National Library of New Zealand and the City Gallery.

All events are open to the public. Bookings are required for some events as spaces are limited. Further information here.

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City Talks: a series of talks at the City Gallery, initiated by the New Zealand Institute of Architects Wellington Branch and presented in partnership with City Gallery Wellington. Mondays at 6pm on the following days:

11 September: Vajarasana Retreat Centre – non heroic architecture — Gill Matthewson

16 October: Raupo to Deco — Adrian Humphris

20 November: I bought a Building – Did I Mean To Do That? – Malcom Walker

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Maritime Archaeological Association of NZ: 2017 Speakers Programme

20 September       Bob McDougall: “The Night Hitler’s Navy Came to Wellington”

18 October          John Ackrill, 75th Anniversary of the sinking of the Awatea

All talks held at 7-30pm, at Museum of Wellington.  Supper follows. Contact Mary at mary@heritagesolutions.net.nz

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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 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 [51]). For more information about the Gordon Wilson Flats as architectural heritage, see the website of the Architectural Centre.

gordon wilson flats

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

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The July-Aug 2017 issue of Heritage Today is available from the Wellington Regional Heritage Promotion Council Online Library. The July issue of Oculus from Historic Places Aotearoa is also available here (PDF): Oculus 2017-07

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Special war-ending commemoration planned at St Peter’s Church, Willis Street

A memorial at the front of the nave in the Category 1 listed church on Willis Street has 24 names from the parish who died in World War One.  The bellringers of St Peter’s Church in Wellington want to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I – 11 November 1918 – in a very special way next year. The bellringers would like to invite the relatives and descendants of those named to a special ‘peace ring’ at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month.

“If you know any of these former members of the parish or their relatives, or even have contact details, we would love to hear from you,” says Bells Master, Br Graham-Michoel Wills (brgeem@gmail.com).

St Peter’s Church has the oldest bells in Wellington, preceded by just a few months by the Category 1 listed St Matthew’s in Auckland which has the oldest peal of bells in the country.

The roll of honour list from St Peter’s is: Private Frederick A Allen, Private Frank A Barton, Private Henry S Bernard, Rifleman George P Crawford, 2nd Lieutenant John S Dagg, Lieutenant John C Dudley, QMS Joseph G Faulkner, Lieutenant Oscar Freyberg, Rifleman Paul M Freyberg, Captain Leslie V Hulbert, 2nd Lieutenant James G Kinvig, Gunner Mark A Lavin, Private Leon G Lawrence, Corporal Eric Lyon, Sergeant William B Millington, Private Sydney H Parsons, 2nd Lieutenant Nathaniel A Pearce, Private Alfred G Petch, Sergeant Ernest N Player, Trooper Wilmot F Powell, 2nd Lieutenant Sydney O Smith, Captain John L Turner MC, Sergeant Frank V Tyerman and Sergeant Thomas C Webb.

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Update on Carillon bells (from latest Mt Cook Mobilised newsletter): “Refurbising the bells is a complex project, the provisional date for completion has moved to the end of July. The original steelwork has proven to be in much worse condition than expected, hence the continuing delays. Timothy Hurd QSM, National Carillonist, has advised that all support bolts are being replaced with marine grade stainless steel and that the stainless transmission components have been refurbished and are awaiting installation, following all other steel replacement works.”

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The Wellington City Council last year appointed architects Tennent Brown “to lead a high quality team of designers, sporting experts and heritage advisors to help redevelop the iconic Basin Reserve”.

 

This is part of the Basin Reserve redevelopment proposals, which would see the Museum stand demolished (the cricket museum would be relocated). Built in 1924/5, the stand is on the Council’s heritage schedule and is also listed with Heritage New Zealand.   This article appeared in the Dominion Post on 20 April 2017, which notes the mayor and deputy mayor support demolition. We favour retention and strengthening of the stand. See our latest newsletter on the newsletters page for more information.

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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 for the next round close on 21 August.

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.”

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The March 2017 newsletter of our national body, Historic Places Aotearoa is available here (PDF): Oculus 2017-03. The Winter 2017 issue of Heritage New Zealand‘s newsletter is available from this link. The newsletters of the Wellington Region Heritage Promotion Council are available from the WRHPC website library

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