Karori Campus (former)

Karori Campus (formerly Wellington Teachers’ College) was designed by architects Toomath and Wilson in the 1960s. It is listed by Heritage New Zealand as a Category 1 historic complex; the listing noting:

“Wellington Teachers’ Training College (Former), in Karori, was built in two stages between 1966 and 1977, and has outstanding architectural significance as one of New Zealand’s finest examples of brutalist architecture, consisting of an integrated grouping of multi-storey buildings and landscape features. The College represents an elegant and expert interpretation of the movement and was a milestone in the long and distinguished architectural career of Stanley William (Bill) Toomath (1925–2014). The College has historic significance because its creation was motivated by major mid-twentieth century teacher training reforms to compensate for increased educational demands resulting from the post-World War Two ‘baby boom’. The College also has social and cultural importance as a tertiary institution associated with thousands of students and staff, including some notable contributors to New Zealand’s education system, arts sector and Māori rights movement.”

In late 2017 Victoria University of Wellington (which had acquired it from the Ministry of Education) sold the complex to Ryman Healthcare for conversion to a retirement complex.

We were very disappointed to hear of Ryman Healthcare’s plans to demolish some of the buildings at the former Karori Campus.  We sent a  letter to the editor of the Dominion Post on 15 December 2017 about the former Karori Campus:  Karori Campus letterBen Schrader, historian and HPW committee member, published this opinion piece on Scoop  about it.  You can also read more in our newsletter of May 2018 and newsletter of Nov 2018. In March 2019 we wrote to the Prime Minister: Letter to PM. Here is the PM’s response:  PM response Wellington Teachers’ training college 

In June 2018 we wrote to the chair of Heritage New Zealand’s Board asking the Board to consider a heritage order for the former Karori Campus: Karori campus HPW letter to Board chair. We wrote another letter in November 2018: Karori campus letter (2nd) to HNZ Board Chair Nov 2018.

Ryman’s latest plans involve demolition of two of the heritage buildings (Nov 2019).

You can also read more about it on the Architecture Centre website. The Architecture Centre published an open letter in October 2018. Here is a link to the Minister for Arts and Culture’s reply.

A number of people were invited to have a guided tour through some of the buildings in November 2017. These are some of the photos (taken by Vivienne Morrell).