The Third Landing Site: Wahine 50 years ago

A story I wrote about Kevin Mitchell’s experience of Wahine Day was published on-line by Stuff today, to mark the 50th anniversary of the disaster this week. Tucked into Kevin Mitchell’s copy of a book about the history of the Wellington Free Ambulance Service is a typed report posted to him at his home in Wadestown, written…

‘Where Will the Queen Stay Now?’: Revingtons, Greymouth

One of the buildings damaged in the storm yesterday was the famous Revingtons Hotel in Greymouth. The mayor, Tony Kokshoorn, apparently has said today ‘I am calling for the demolition of Revingtons Hotel. A large part of the roof has come off it and for health and safety reasons I want the demolition brought forward…

Brutal but Beautiful

The Kaori Teacher’s College campus is a complex designed by the celebrated Wellington architect, William Toomath, between 1963 and 1977, and is considered to be the best ensemble of Brutalist architecture in New Zealand. It isn’t just Toomath’s individual buildings that are significant – there is considerable architectural significance in the coherent community of buildings…

Earthquake Prone Beauties

My friend Andy Spain, an architectural photographer, has recently begun a project to document all the Earthquake Prone Buildings in Wellington, to reflect on the fragility of these buildings and how easily they could lost. To help me choose which of Andy’s beautiful shots to display below, I have chosen buildings which are not only…

A Stitch in Time: The Archaeology of Newtown

Wellington archaeologist Mary O’Keeffe has kindly provided a summary of her archaeological investigation on a number of properties recently demolished in Newtown, which provided a rich and highly significant addition to our understanding of the social history of Wellington. The diverse and fascinating artefact assemblage she found gives an insight into the lives and aspirations…

Further Funding for Wellington Heritage

Another set of interesting buildings have been given funding from the Wellington City Council’s Built Heritage Incentive Fund. The ten buildings (listed at the end of this article) jointly received over $280,000 in funding to carry out work on heritage buildings – in particular earthquake strengthening. A number of the buildings are in historic neighbourhoods such…

Controversial monuments: doing the maths

Today we are publishing a guest post by Ewan Morris, a New Zealand historian with a particular interest in memorials and how societies remember the past. In the wake of last month’s white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia – held to protest against the proposed removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee…

A prominent marker of an alternative vision: the Gordon Wilson Flats

Urban historian Ben Schrader has been vocal in his support for Wellington’s Gordon Wilson Flats. His research into the social history of the building supported the Architectural Centre’s appeal against removing the heritage status of the Gordon Wilson Flats from the Wellington District Plan, which would have facilitated the building’s demolition. His work has shown…

We Walk into the Future Facing the Past

Today we are publishing a guest post by researcher Dr Emma Jean Kelly about the recent restructuring of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, Ngā Kaitiaki o Ngā Taonga Whitiaahua me Ngā Korero, and the series of losses it brought about. I’ve had some disagreements in the last year or so with Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision,…

New managers for old places

Back during the dark days of the 1980s privatisation of New Zealand government departments, many historic buildings spent time in limbo, as the government decided who was to manage them in the future, particularly those which had been previously been cared for by the old Ministry of Works, which was being disestablished, including Wellington buildings…

He Tohu – A Declaration | A Treaty | A Petition

Today we are publishing a review of the new He Tohu exhibition at the National Library by historian Jock Phillips, written especially for this blog.  Jock has been New Zealand’s Chief Historian and editor of Te Ara Encyclopedia, among many other achievements, and we are grateful he took the time to write this for us. Last month…