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.


News and Events

6 February 2020, Waitangi Day – Old Government Buildings open day,
55 Lambton Quay, Wellington

Open Day – Free entry.  Tours – Social and Political History, $5 each (10am to 11am; 11.30am to 12.30pm; 1pm to 2pm; 2.30pm to 3.30pm).  Bookings are essential for the tours, with each tour limited to 25 people. Contact: 04 472 4341. Email: information@heritage.org.nz.


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.


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.


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.




Lunchtime concerts are regularly held in heritage-listed building St Andrew’s on the Terrace on Wednesdays at 12:15. We don’t yet know when the first of 2020 will be.


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.


Saturday 14 March 2020: Baring Head Open Day. Greater Wellington Regional Council will “be putting on a bus 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.


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.


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.




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.


The September issue of Oculus is available. This is the newsletter of our national body, Historic Places Aotearoa. It includes a long article about seismic strengthening and potential funding sources. Click here (PDF): Oculus September 2019. The June issue of Oculus [June 2019]  is available by clicking the link.


The newsletters of the Wellington Region Heritage Promotion Council are available from the WRHPC website library.

  *            *            *