Wellington Scoop

The season for demolition

Christmas seems to be a time for demolition – when most people are too distracted to be concerned about what their city is losing. This demolition opposite the Basin Reserve has just been carried out for the NZ Transport Agency, in preparation for the flyover that it wants to impose on the neighbourhood.

For decades there was a curving row of shops on this corner. They were full of interesting activities which added character to Mt Victoria. Using earthquake dangers as its excuse, the Agency has left them empty and decaying for years. And if the Agency gets its way, as it usually does, the space will soon be covered by extra lanes of traffic, and there’ll be a flyover nearby.

In Brooklyn, this landmark building will soon be gone. No one wanted to strengthen it.

Shop windows and verandahs have gone already. And soon the building will be gone too. Leaving Cleveland Street a blander and less interesting neighbourhood.

Radio NZ reports:

Six council housing blocks below quake standard


  1. Phil Colebrook, 21. December 2011, 4:42

    I have not been able to locate a book which documents the lost buildings of Wellington, although going by (admittedly hazy) memories of life in Wellington from the 1970s and 1980s it would make for extremely depressing reading.

    Wellington is becoming an anachronistic homage to the 1950s highway builders of the US, except that the traffic can’t actually go anywhere. Is this planning by “blue sky thinking” or brown paper envelope?

  2. Lindsay, 21. December 2011, 9:07

    In 1994, Victoria University Press published “Wellington’s Old Buildings,” an invaluable book by David Kernohan (with photos by Tony Kellaway). It’s now out of print, I fear but copies are worth searching for. A glance through its 230 pages shows so many buildings that are gone, so many that are now under threat (lots of them in Cuba Street), but happily many that have been saved and even restored, to the great benefit of the town.

  3. Phil Colebrook, 22. December 2011, 1:54

    I may have been too hasty with my comments and perhaps not noticed enough of the buildings that have survived (and considering it is an earthquake zone perhaps all the more remarkeable that many did.)

  4. Lindsay, 22. December 2011, 9:09

    The challenge for Wellington is still ahead of us, I fear. Think of all the great old Cuba Street buildings which give the street its unique character – but which need to be strengthened, if their owners can find the money. .

  5. Lee, 17. January 2012, 11:58

    When will this building be demolished?