Wellington Scoop

The landlord mentality on the waterfront

by Lindsay Shelton
I applaud the sentiments of Lowry Bay resident Tony Cranston, whose letter about the Wellington waterfront earned top position in the DomPost yesterday.

He wrote:
On Wednesday, walking around the waterfront I was again impressed by its beautiful views. Wellington is very lucky to have a waterfront where one is constantly struck by the views of harbour, houses and hills on one side, and an attractive city on the other.

Why the council prefers mediocre buildings to this natural beauty is a mystery. The latest example of what I call developers’ vandalism hits you right in the face as you approach Te Papa.

The “conversion” of the Overseas Passenger Terminal will clearly be an over-sized monstrosity, obliterating much of Mt Victoria and its charming houses; it will tower over the marine like Darth Vader and destroy a lot of the character of that part of the waterfront.

Might more councillors find some soul and save the waterfront from this landlord mentality before it’s too late?

Mr Cranston is evidently a keen observer of city council processes. He begins his letter by writing:

I write to thank the Wellington City Council for accepting a submission on Kumutoto from a former resident. I am, of course, saddened that most councillors disregarded it and all the submissions I read.

The public’s opposition to buildings on Kumutoto
More new buildings – but only two instead of three
A dollar a year – the council’s deal with the OPT developers


  1. Fish, 2. December 2012, 20:30

    Sorry the buildings on the waterfront provide the balance and diversity of setting that makes the Wellington waterfront the undoubted success it is. The Overseas Passenger Terminal was an eyesore.Those who think the Kumutoto area should be left alone are kidding themselves. It is a windswept eyesore that is desperately in need of some form of connection to the rest of the waterfront.

  2. luddite, 3. December 2012, 6:11

    I hate change.

  3. Pauline Swann, 3. December 2012, 10:14

    The reason the OPT became an eyesore is because WWLtd neglected it with the prospect of developers waiting in the wings to privatise it. The irony is of course with the Town Hall to be closed for strengthening, Positively Wellington Venues want to spend $6m plus on a temporary facility at Shed 6/Event Centre for conferences, when over the years the Overseas Passenger Terminal has been a great venue for Conferences, Balls, Concerts, Market days etc.
    Re Kumutoto, I suggest Fish reads all the submissions to the recent “Draft” design brief and he/she will see that the majority had some great ideas to welcome visitors to Wellington with special regard to cruise ship passengers. One was a single story iconic building to house an i-site centre, artisans workshops, recreation facilities and of course a Nautical/Maritime Theme Park for the Outer T.
    One can only imagine the shadows and wind funnels two 3/4 storey buildings the size of the Meridian building (privatising public space) would create, not to mention the loss of views across our harbour to the hills, monastery, ferry boats, fishermen etc.
    Kumutoto is not a “windswept” eyesore, as when you drive or walk along from the city to the north the maritime theme is so apparent with working cranes, police launch, ferries etc and the sun does shine nearly all day. Be honest – when the wind blows there aren’t many places to escape to in Wellington, which the apartment dwellers in the rebuilt Overseas Passenger Terminal will discover.


  4. erentz, 3. December 2012, 16:35

    Now with the OPT gone you do get a nice view across to Oriental Bay. I have to admit I’m quite enamored by it. Maybe pulling down the OPT and just leaving an empty wharf was a better option.

    That said I think we should do something entirely different. Let’s stop the waterfront redevelopment for a decade and put that attention and effort into the rest of the city. Our waterfront is already pretty great, and there is nothing wrong with leaving some of it for future development by future generation, with future ideas about how it could be improved, and what they’d like to see out of it (you only have to look at how badly we messed up Queens Wharf, and before that got Frank Kitts Park entirely around the wrong way, to see that over time ideas about these things tend to get better, not worse).

    Wellington is not just the waterfront. And day to day urban life does not and will not revolve around trips to the waterfront. Meanwhile we have been neglecting many areas of the central city and surrounds, which are developing very badly. We need to put some serious attention and energy on that for a while.