Wellington Scoop

Councillors unanimous on bigger spend for Movie Museum and Convention Centre

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Studio Pacific Architecture

News from WCC
Wellington City Councillors today voted unanimously to spend more money on a bold design to house the Movie Museum and Convention Centre.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says that by favouring the $150 million option over the cheaper, more basic alternative, the decision confirms the Council’s commitment to investing in the city to drive economic growth and global recognition.

“The operational costs over the first 10 years will be similar to what was consulted on, however the benefits will be far greater,” says the Mayor.

“Wellington deserves an outstanding Convention Centre and Movie Museum facility. Now we’ve confirmed it will be truly spectacular and globally recognisable. International visitors will take ‘selfies’ in front of this spectacular building, which will attract even more people to our city. We’re creating the heritage of tomorrow.

“Today’s Council decision gives the green light to this key economic development project, and gives TMML sufficient time to complete their work on the exhibition and fit-out design and requirements.”

The Movie Museum Limited (TMML) is the company formed by Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor and is responsible for the fit out and operation of the Museum component of the project.

Deputy Mayor Justin Lester says the decision to endorse the iconic building design – by Studio Pacific Architecture – was the correct one. “The Movie Museum will provide a one of a kind experience so it’s absolutely appropriate that we deliver a one-of-a-kind design,” he says.

“Wellington will be able to provide a film-based visitor experience unrivalled anywhere else in the southern hemisphere, and possibly the world,” says Cr Lester. “It generates some serious ‘wow factor’ and will create 540 jobs during construction and 568 ongoing jobs once operational.”

Cr Jo Coughlan, Chair of the City Council’s Economic Growth and Arts Committee, says the Capital’s GDP will receive a significant boost. “Construction alone will deliver a $44 million boost to the Wellington economy and ongoing benefits of $38 million per year in GDP,” she says. “It’ll be a huge boost to our offering in the lucrative convention market, providing a remarkable visitor experience for the delegates that will provide a competitive advantage for Wellington.

“The 300,000 people – most from overseas – who visit Hobbiton in the Waikato every year show the pulling power of the work of Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor. Many of those tourists will be tempted to carry on to Wellington to visit the museum.”

George Hickton, Project Director for The Movie Museum Limited (TMML), says: “The Movie Museum Limited welcomes the Council’s decision to proceed with the iconic design for the exterior of the combined facility.

“Our team has been working on detailed plans, designs and costings for the content and fit-out of the Movie Museum and that will be our main focus for some time. When we get to the end of that phase, we hope to share more about the vision for the Museum interior of what will be a dynamic new building.”

Last December, the Council agreed to purchase two parcels of land on Cable Street opposite Te Papa, and Wakefield Street. Subsequent consultation showed that community support was high, with 84% of submitters supporting the proposal, and 100% of submitters from the commercial sector in support.

The cost of the final proposal has increased from $135million outlined last December to $150million, the key reason being the additional cost to deliver the new façade design, together with other design enhancements since the early concept stage. It is anticipated that the project will drive considerable secondary investment in the city, particularly the regeneration of the surrounding Courtenay precinct, further increasing the city’s rating base.

Today’s decision is conditional upon getting final go-ahead from TMML.

Wellington.Scoop: It was a decision made in secret


  1. KB, 17. August 2016, 14:38

    The building lacks a key element, without which it will fail to be any sort of “spectacular” landmark: It is not a clearly detached/separated building, and it doesn’t have good viewability. It is closely abutting two other similar size non-distinct buildings, and for the most part is obscured from long range viewing on all sides, with particular obstruction by Te Papa. If Te Papa wasn’t in front of it then yes you would be able to see it from all around the Harbour and from many of the CBD’s high rise buildings. However Te Papa IS there, which means you can’t see the movie museum at all unless you are a stone’s throw from it. For the above reason alone, there is zero chance it will become an iconic building.

  2. chris, 17. August 2016, 15:39

    Well that’s good, the councillors actually made a decision to get on and do something. They should meet in secret more often so they stop acting for the cameras. And unanimous too – Leggett must be unhappy that it wasn’t more “toxic” so he could beat up on Justin and all the other candidates or tell them to shut up like he did to his deputy in Porirua when he didn’t like what she said.

  3. time for change, 17. August 2016, 16:21

    Chris, I wouldn’t worry about Nick Leggett. I’m yet to see any councillor come out and endorse him other than Diane Calvert who was at his campaign launch. Ian Apperley seems to like Nick. He said as much in his Wellington.Scoop article assessing the mayoral candidates and even described him as compassionate, though he rates him as unlikely to be elected. Ian must have been thinking again about compassion when reading that the Capital Coast DHB (of which Nick is a director) is considering closing Kenepuru’s after-hours emergency service. Hardly compassionate and no sign of Nick coming out publicly opposed to this idea. Nick has also been happy to close swimming pools and libraries on certain days. He is hard to work out but we are seeing it more clearly as the campaign rolls on. At least we know what we will get with Justin or Jo as we have seen them as councillors.

  4. Diane Calvert, 17. August 2016, 16:53

    @time for change You are incorrect. I haven’t endorsed Nick or any other Mayoral candidate. Yes I was at his campaign launch and was also at Justin’s. Both invited me. Helene was also at both. Never got an invite to any others. I want to work collaboratively with whoever is Mayor and both Justin and Nick have shown they want to do the same with councillors.

    If you want to make such accusations, you might want to say who you really are rather than hiding behind a pseudonym. Most respected commentators are comfortable in their views to disclose who they are.

  5. Tim Prebble, 17. August 2016, 19:22

    Let’s hope it is actually a New Zealand Film Museum and not just a Miramar one! [via twitter]

  6. Peter, 18. August 2016, 6:09

    Nick has other projects in mind. The sports museum, a video arcade and I hear other entertainment options that some of his property development mates want to place close to the railway station. Chow for now.

  7. esjay, 19. August 2016, 3:23

    All this huge expenditure and the commitment to the airport runway extension has not been included in our rates as yet. What vision!

  8. Ian Apperley, 19. August 2016, 11:26

    What is beyond belief is the fact that the WCC didn’t go out to tender for this project. Transparency and probity should be key controls.

  9. Keith Flinders, 19. August 2016, 17:42

    Nothing much changes, Ian. For years Mainzeal was treated as the construction arm of the WCC and other building firms never got invited to tender for larger projects. I complained to the Audit Office about one project and the answer was that “the Wellington City Council has assured us that due process was followed”. When this current project grows to over $200 million, as surely it will, the stock reply will be “we budgeted for cost overruns”.

  10. Hel, 19. August 2016, 18:12

    Ian, It is fine to have strong views and you normally do. But with this type of comment you come across as another keyboard warrior.

  11. Another Keyboard Warrior, 20. August 2016, 1:29

    Hel, since you don’t have anything constructive to say to the subject and prefer to trash talk about someone else’s relevant comment, you come across as a waste of oxygen. But you know, it’s the internet, and it’s the weekend, you clearly don’t care about the 15 million dollars at all, so fire away !!!! 🙂

  12. Keith Flinders, 20. August 2016, 16:16

    When voting next month keep in mind that WCC rates have risen 22% over the past 5 years, whilst the average wage has risen just 12.5% along with the pension.
    One would have thought Jackson and Taylor could have created, at a much lower cost, an illusion of the $15 million fish. The comments from the mayor and her councillors about it remind me again of “the emperor’s new clothes” story.