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…

Erskine #5 – June 2017

When I turned up at the Environment Court last week to hear the latest arguments in the Erskine saga, all was quiet.  It turns out that the parties were in mediation, which is a mile better on from where they were previously – even the Environment Court judge dealing with the case, who must see…

Heritage at Risk

It is unusual for public servants in New Zealand to publicly challenge members of the public or private companies for not looking after their heritage buildings.  It is perhaps our attitude of ‘a man’s [sic] house is his castle’ which is behind our culture of allowing owners to do virtually anything they want to virtually any building…

Erskine College #4

Further developments on Erskine are afoot.  As discussed in the last update we wrote in January 2017, the owner of the site in Island Bay, The Wellington Company, has applied for consent from the Save Erskine College Trust (SECT) to develop the site and demolish the buildings. In April 2017, SECT turned this down.  SECT has employed Victoria University architecture lecturer Christine McCarthy to…

Further Grants for Wellington buildings

The most recent awards from the Wellington City Council to fund strengthening or restoration work on listed heritage buildings brought to mind this photo, one of my recent favourites.  This is the team of police based at the Wellington Mount Cook police station in Buckle Street, taken in the courtyard behind the building.  Spot the two men…

Pots of Money

One of the positives of writing this hertiage blog has been reporting on the Wellington City Council’s Built Heritage Incentive Fund and the interesting projects that it has supported, such as the Futuna Chapel, the Wedge in Thorndon and the railway houses in Tarikaka Street, in Ngaio. In a city like Wellington, where heritage is constantly…

A Conversation with Heritage Architect Lianne Cox

For the latest of our guest articles by students and graduates of the Museum and Heritage Studies programme at Victoria University of Wellington, Rebecca Ford talked to award-winning heritage architect Lianne Cox. ‘Significance’ is a heavily used term in heritage management. It can sometimes be hard to remember that it’s not an abstract term. Not so, it would…

Church and Earthquakes

In the next of our guest posts, Max Reeves, a student of Victoria University of Wellington’s Museums and Heritage Studies programme, writes about two small churches affected by the November 2016 earthquakes.   One of the joys of travelling through small town New Zealand is the cosy, picturesque Gothic revival churches which pop up in seemingly every…

‘I have set up shop!’: Mary Taylor in Wellington

In order to mark International Women’s Day, it’s time to honour one of New Zealand’s first and most forthright feminists, and her connection to a prominent corner of Wellington. The work going on on the corner of Cuba Street and Dixon Street in Wellington, is transforming what was Te Aro House (but which I can’t help of…