Parliament House - Wellington, New Zealand
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member denben
S 41° 16.681 E 174° 46.614
60G E 313815 N 5427995
Quick Description: Parliament House is located on a 45,000 square metre site at the northern end of Lambton Quay in Wellington.
Location: North Island, New Zealand
Date Posted: 1/15/2015 7:46:33 AM
Waymark Code: WMN7WM
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Trail Blaisers
Views: 2

Long Description:
The New Zealand Parliament Buildings consist of Parliament House, the Executive Wing (The Beehive), the Parliamentary Library and Bowen House.


"Parliament House is the symbolic heart of government in New Zealand, the centre of the political life of the country, and the focus of political celebration and protest. The catalyst for construction of the building was, however, entirely apolitical.

In December 1907, less than three months after New Zealand was proclaimed a Dominion, the timber portions of an earlier Parliament Buildings were destroyed by a fire. Although the loss of the debating chambers and offices was regretted, their destruction presented the Government with the opportunity to erect a building better suited to contemporary needs, and to celebrate and express through architecture the country's rise in constitutional status from Colony to Dominion (an independent nation state within the British Empire).

To achieve these objectives, the then Liberal Government decided that construction of a new Parliament House should be part of a larger scheme to build a unified suite of governmental buildings in permanent materials. Included in this grand scheme was to be a new museum (to replace the timber Colonial Museum building then located adjacent to parliament), new government offices for the public service (to replace the timber Government Buildings on Lambton Quay), and an entirely new Parliament House. The vision of a unified governmental complex was to be realised in piecemeal fashion; its centre-piece and the first and only part of the scheme to be constructed was Parliament House.

In 1911 a competition was held for design of the building, won by the then Government Architect, John Campbell (1857-1942) and one of his staff, Claude Paton (1881-1953). Campbell entered a further competition entry with a former staff member, Charles Lawrence. This design was placed fourth in the competition. Following the competition, a final scheme was produced by Campbell and Paton combining the floor plan of the fourth-placed competition entry with the elevations of the first.

Throughout the design process Campbell and Paton envisaged a monumental stone-clad building in the Edwardian Baroque style - a style which aligned the political fortunes of the young Dominion with the British Crown. The style derives from English Baroque architecture of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, which was promoted by architects of Campbell's generation as uniquely English and characteristically imperial.

From the very beginning it had been decided that just over half of the proposed building would be constructed; it was anticipated that the remainder would be built when further space was required and resources allowed. By the time the foundation stone was laid in 1912, the Government had made further cost-cutting measures: a central dome, statuary and cupola were omitted from the plans.

Outbreak of the First World War slowed progress on construction and when, in 1918, the House of Representatives was first used it was dedicated as a memorial to those who had lost their lives in the war. Erection of the first half of the building was completed in 1922, and completion of the remaining portion of Campbell and Paton's design has been mooted several times since. However, construction of the Beehive on the site intended for the remaining wing of the building precludes completion of the original scheme, campaigns to shift the Beehive notwithstanding.

Even in its incomplete form the building is a monumental example of Edwardian Baroque architecture, emphatically British and imperial. The Speaker's Room is lined with Canadian bird's eye maple and walnut gifted to New Zealand by the Government of Canada 'to bond the Dominions'. A distinctly New Zealand inflection is discernible in the building nevertheless; the east and west elevations were faced with New Zealand stone (Coromandel Granite and Kairuru marble) and mainly South Island rimu was used for interior joinery. However, only in the Maori Affairs Committee Room, modelled on a whare runanga, was there any overt architectural expression of Maori engagement in the processes of political decision-making.

Between 1991 and 1996 extensive work was undertaken to strengthen the building, conserve historic fabric and better meet the needs of a modern New Zealand parliament. The most significant features of the 1922 building were retained, and new elements introduced. Among them is a new and more prominent Maori Affairs Committee room; its inclusion ensures that the building better reflects contemporary commitment to a bicultural partnership.

Left incomplete, though carefully conserved, Parliament House is the most monumental Baroque building in New Zealand, and one of the earliest and most successful of a group of Baroque legislative buildings constructed in various parts of the former British Empire, including Alberta, New Delhi and Canberra. Its architecture asserts the strength of New Zealand's allegiance to the Crown in the early twentieth century more emphatically than any other governmental building in the country, while the monumentality and scale of the building hints at a growing political confidence in the development of New Zealand as a nation in its own right.

The failure of vision which resulted in the abandonment of the original scheme is now evident in the development of a parliamentary complex that, contrary to the Liberal Government's intentions, has little aesthetic or architectural coherence. But despite this development, the fabric of Parliament House documents significant aspects of the evolution of our political history: the rise in status from Colony to Dominion; the growth, in more recent times, of a commitment to biculturalism; the nation's contribution to war efforts, the move to a unicameral system of government (the building includes a chamber for the former Legislative Council, abolished in 1951) and to MMP (requiring an increase in seating in the House of Representatives). With the exception of the years of the building's refurbishment (1991-1996), all legislation has been debated in the building since 1918. It has been the centre of the political lives and achievement of generations of New Zealand politicians, and the focus of public attention on the country's political processes and decision-making for over eighty years." (visit link)

Free, daily, one-hour guided tours of Parliament begin on the hour at the Visitor Centre in the foyer of the Beehive, Monday to Sunday from 10.00 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Date location was entrusted to the New Zealand Historic places: 7/20/1989

Type of history commemorated (short description):
Building of the second and actual New Zealand Parliament House

Website pertaining to the location: [Web Link]

Town, city, or region nearest to the site:

Year placed: 1918

Admission fees if any: 0.00 (listed in local currency)

Hours of operation:
Visiting hours Monday to Sunday from 10.00 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Is it accessible to the general public:

Visit Instructions:
Post a photo of yourself with your GPS next to the designated mark. Old vacation photos are also welcome as long as it is your photo. You may post a picture of the waymark with just your GPS in the picture if you are traveling alone. If you are not able to provide a photo, then please describe your visit or give a story about the visit.
Search for... Google Map
Google Maps
Bing Maps
Nearest Waymarks
Nearest New Zealand Historic Places
Nearest Geocaches
Nearest Benchmarks
Create a scavenger hunt using this waymark as the center point
Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log User Rating  
DD Drix visited Parliament House - Wellington, New Zealand 1/25/2015 DD Drix visited it
Punga and Paua visited Parliament House - Wellington, New Zealand 1/15/2015 Punga and Paua visited it

View all visits/logs