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


News and Events:

Researching your house – Wellington workshop

This workshop will be held on Saturday 11 March, from 10am until 1.30pm, at Antrim House, 63 Boulcott St, Wellington.

They will have expert presenters from Archives New Zealand, Wellington City Library, Wellington City Archives, National Library of New Zealand, Victoria University School of Architecture, a heritage consultant and staff from Heritage New Zealand.

Please reserve your place for this workshop to Marina, office administrator, Heritage New Zealand Central Region Office, on (04) 494 8320, or email infocentral@heritage.org.nz  by 24 February.

Cost $20 per person. You can pay online to Heritage New Zealand at 030502 0939456 00 and mark payment Antrim Workshop.  Cash or cheques also accepted on the day.

Morning tea will be provided on arrival. For more information: please contact David Watt at dwatt@heritage.org.nz or phone 04 494 8322


big-smoke-book-coverMonday 13 March, 6pm, at City Gallery – the first talk in the 2017 City Talks series — Ben Schrader on The Big Smoke: New Zealand Cities 1840-1920.

At a time of national debate over housing and the growth of our cities, Wellington historian Ben Schrader reveals how our urban origins have shaped the people we are today and invites us to consider such questions as: what did cities look like and how did they change; why were women especially drawn to live in cities; in what ways did Māori experience and shape cities; how far was the street a living room and stage for city life; and why did New Zealand so quickly become a nation of townspeople?


Facades and parapets policy announcement

The government has proposed that owners of certain unreinforced masonry buildings be required to secure street-facing parapets and facades, in response to the 2016 Hurunui/Kaikōura earthquakes. The focus will be on unreinforced masonry buildings in four areas with a heightened risk of earthquakes, on routes that have high pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

The areas mainly targetted are Wellington, Lower Hutt, Marlborough and Hurunui. The primary focus is public safety. On busy thoroughfares, street-facing unreinforced masonry parapets and facades present significant risks to life safety due to their vulnerability in an earthquake event.

“In recognition of the public and private benefits from securing unreinforced masonry facades and parapets, the government will establish a $3 million fund to support building owners in areas of heightened seismic risk to meet the requirements. The public contribution will provide approximately half the cost of securing street facing unreinforced masonry features, up to a maximum of $15,000 for a facade and/or $10,000 for a parapet. When the securing work is done building owners can then apply to MBIE, which will administer the fund.”

The special law will exempt the required work from requirements to gain resource and building consents, provided the work was overseen by a qualified engineer.

After the Order in Council takes effect (likely to come into force in mid to late February 2017), councils will issue notices to certain building owners who will then have 12 months to complete the work.

Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment guidance on securing facades and parapets will be available from late February 2017. More information will be added to their website and www.building.govt.nz over the next few weeks, as the requirements and securing funding are finalised.


The Government’s new 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 first round closed on 10 February.

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. Unlisted buildings with heritage values may be eligible for funding at the discretion of the expert panel which will assess the applications.

“Grants are available for minor works under the Retrofit component of the fund, as well as for larger projects.”



An evening class on Wellington’s architectural heritage is offered in June at Wellington High School. This well-illustrated course will give an outline of Wellington’s history since 1840 and in particular will look at some of the important buildings that illustrate different periods of its development. Click the link for more information or to enrol.



The Wellington Region Heritage Promotion Council’s Jan-Feb 2017 issue of Heritage Today is in their Online Library – click this link to read:   http://www.wrhpc.org.nz/library/index.htm. The latest newsletter of our national body, Historic Places Aotearoa is available here (PDF): oculus-2016-12-newsletter


The Architecture Centre made a submission on the government’s proposed regulations under the Earthquake-Prone Buildings Act. In it they comment on heritage buildings (pages 5-6) and the impact of a building’s age (page 4).  They also made a submission in support of Inland Revenue’s proposal to make seismic assessment’s of buildings tax deductible. Click the links for PDF copies of the submissions.


On 29 November 2016 Mayor Justin Lester launched the city council’s new online heritage inventory. It is an online source of information for heritage items listed in the council’s District Plan. It documents over 450 buildings, and also includes over 150 biographies of architects and some original drawings sourced from city archives. To begin searching: www.wellingtoncityheritage.org.nz


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 recently approved the proposal to rezone the Gordon Wilson flats. The panel’s recommendation was considered by Council on 11 May and the council approved the plan change by a vote of 12-3. The Architectural Centre has appealed the decision. The appeal is largely focused on the process that VUW followed to delist a heritage building. All the documents from the original hearing are at: http://wellington.govt.nz/your-council/plans-policies-and-bylaws/district-plan/plan-changes-and-variations/active/change-81-rezoning-of-320-the-terrace

The Architectural Centre is currently hosting on its website a series on ‘My favorite modernist building‘ – which also includes this article on why modernist architecture is important…. worth a look!  And this is a link to their website with more information about the Gordon Wilson flats.

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.  This is a heritage assessment prepared for Victoria University. (Image: Gordon Wilson Flats from this news article).


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. You can read more about the proposals here (pdf).  Or here.


The Summer 2016 issue of Heritage New Zealand’s newsletter is available by clicking the link (PDF): Heritage Quarterly Summer 2016. The Spring 2016 issue here: Heritage Quarterly Spring 2016. Winter 2016 issue here (PDF): Heritage Quarterly Winter 2016. There are articles about Old St Paul’s and Mount Street Cemetery. The Autumn 2016 issue  here: Heritage Quarterly Autumn 2016. (PDF). There are articles about St Mary’s of the Angels, Boulcott Street; the former Lower Hutt Fire Station, and the ‘Hikitia’ floating crane in Wellington harbour. The October 2016 newsletter from our parent body, Historic Places Aotearoa, is available – click the link: october-oculus-2016-newsletter348 (pdf).

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

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