A Popular Wee Building

Today we have a guest post from Kate Jordan, a historian currently working at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.  She wrote about this building while completing her post-graduate studies in Museum and Heritage Studies at the Victoria University of Wellington.  In downtown New Plymouth is a rather small, unassuming building. Its demolition has been raised…

Sorry, I am Not a Bus Stop

As part of the recent much-talked-about changes to the bus system in Wellington, one of the buildings left with an existential crisis is the diminutive Miramar Tram/Bus Stop, in the central island of the Miramar shopping centre on Park Road. I researched the history of this building a number of years ago, when it still…

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…

A Women’s Space

For International Women’s Day, I’m sharing some of the research I completed about this building, the Barrett Street Nurses’ Home in New Plymouth.  It tells the story of a space planned, paid for and inhabited by women.  It is also a useful lesson for heritage professionals like me about  how the smallest and humblest details…

‘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…

Teaching history, changing lives

Today we are publishing a thoughtful piece by passionate history teacher Clementine Fraser, Head of History at Avondale College, Auckland, about her experience of opening young people’s eyes to the connections between their past and their present reality.  She also demonstrates the benefits of visiting the places where events really happened, reminding us of the need to…