Wellington Scoop

Defence House to be demolished; repairs “not economically viable”

Confirmation today that another major city building is to be demolished, because of earthquake damage. The announcement was made by the NZ Defence Force, which says it is “sad” at the loss of its headquarters building.

News from NZ Defence Force
Defence House (Freyberg House) in Aitken Street, Thorndon, sustained damage in the earthquake of 14 November. It was occupied by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

From 16 November, critical headquarters staff for both the NZDF and MoD have operated out of the Freyberg Building, immediately behind Defence House.

By the end of April about 900 staff from the NZDF and MoD will be based in Freyberg Building.

Since the earthquake the owner of Defence House, AMP Capital, has been involved in investigations to determine the extent of the damage to the building and to understand what will be required to rectify the damage.

This week, AMP Capital advised the NZDF that it was going to demolish Defence House. AMP Capital advises that the building can be repaired but that the cost of repairs is not economically viable. As Defence House does not present any immediate health and safety risk, the demolition will be completed by “deconstruction” – meaning that the building will be taken apart in a controlled manner.

Long-term accommodation options for the NZDF and MoD in Wellington are under consideration, as we work out of our interim accommodation.

The loss of Defence House will be sad for the NZDF. However, our people are what makes a headquarters – and we continue to work together to deliver for the NZDF and for New Zealand.

Any further queries on the future of Defence House should be addressed to AMP Capital.


  1. KB, 4. March 2017, 14:30

    It’s a shocking that high rises in wellington are being an abandoned and demolished due to unsafe structures, considering the CBD was declared “Open for business!” just days after the quake. Imagine if we had a another similar sized quake during working hours in that week. How many lives could have been lost?

  2. Godzonekid, 5. March 2017, 7:48

    Let’s hope they do what “should” be done… follow in Parliament’s retrofitted footsteps and build on base isolation piles. Damage to Parliament in the earthquakes? Nil. Sums it up pretty well methinks.

  3. TrevorH, 5. March 2017, 13:56

    I totally agree KB. I made the same point in this forum shortly after the declaration was made and received some very critical responses.

  4. Richard Keller, 4. April 2017, 23:43

    “Open for Business” showed Mayor Lester’s inclination to neo-liberal correctness.