Upcoming members’ events

Ashleigh Court Newtown Aug 2020Sunday 11 October, 2pm at St Peter’s Church, Willis St (undercroft). Entrance is via a door on the north side. Enter via Ghuznee Street gates:

We held our AGM on Sunday 30 August at 2pm over Zoom. The speakers we were going to hear after the AGM have been rescheduled to 11 October.

We will hear from three speakers about recent heritage listings on the Heritage New Zealand List, covering 1860s Thorndon, early 1900s Newtown and the Modernist 1950s suburb of Naenae:

Michael Kelly will talk about Cooper’s Cottage in Ascot Street, Thorndon.

Jamie Jacobs will talk about Ashleigh Court (formerly Langham Private Hotel) in Newtown [image shown].

Ben Schrader will talk about the former Naenae Post Office.

And with the Wellington City Council’s “Planning for Growth” strategy and our meeting place at St Peter’s Church, we have added another speaker to the line-up. Richard Norman will speak about “St Peter’s Church, Willis Street – from urban decline to rapid population growth.”

Richard Norman, a member of the St Peter’s Church Trust Board and Historic Places Wellington, reflects on planning and population changes affecting Te Aro. Since the 1980s, after decades of losing population, the central city now has 17,000 residents, more than the suburb of Karori.

Dr Ben Schrader is a Wellington public historian, with expertise in urban history and built heritage. He has a long research interest in the history of Naenae as a model state housing suburb. It is from this research that the talk on the Naenae Post Office is drawn.

Jamie Jacobs is the Director Central Region for Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga. Prior to relocating to New Zealand he worked for fifteen years as an architectural historian for the Historic American Buildings Survey and the National Historic Landmarks Program, both within the US National Park Service.  His book Detached America: Building Houses in Postwar Suburbia was published by the University of Virginia Press in 2015.  

Michael Kelly is an historian who has worked mainly in historic heritage. He worked for Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga and the Department of Conservation in the 1980s and early 1990s and has had his own heritage consultancy since 1997. Michael carried out the research and wrote the nomination form for the listing of Cooper’s Cottage.


Sat 17th October 2020: Annual Conference of Historic Places Aotearoa: “Our Heritage Visible, Valuable and Protected for Future Generations”. Our members are welcome to attend. It is in Whanganui and you can read more in the August issue of Oculuslink here. (PDF)


Wednesday 28 October, 5.30pm: We are hosting an event at City Gallery as part of Wellington Heritage Week:

‘Is Wellington Modernism too Ugly to Love?’

The event features two prominent New Zealand architects: Bill McKay and Ken Davis. By looking at a range of mid-century Wellington modernist buildings, the speakers will consider whether they’re too ugly to love or simply misunderstood.

These include the controversial and much-maligned Gordon Wilson Flats on the Terrace. Its owner, Victoria University of Wellington/Te Herenga Waka, wants to raze the structure and rebuild on the site.

Many Wellingtonians seemingly agree. This is despite the building having been identified by the Environment Court as having very high heritage values. A divergence exists between what heritage experts consider significant and what the general public thinks. Is it possible to bridge the gap so Wellingtonians might better understand and love their city’s modernist heritage?

No booking is required / Location: Adam Auditorium, City Gallery, Civic Square, Wellington / Cost: Free / Duration: 5:30pm – 7:00pm