< Last Photo   << Last Chapter                Notes on the Geography of Places: New Zealand: Wellington         Next Chapter >>   Next Photo > 
New Zealand: Wellington picture 1

An Interislander ferry enters Wellington Harbor from Picton, 50 miles and 3 hours away on New Zealand's other big island, the South Island. Not an ideal crossing.

New Zealand: Wellington picture 2

Water, water, everywhere.

New Zealand: Wellington picture 3

The sea is never far away.

New Zealand: Wellington picture 4

On the other hand, never underestimate the power of builders to make dramatic locations boring. This is Jervois Quay, with a lineup from the 1970s. Maybe that wasn't such a good decade, after all.

New Zealand: Wellington picture 5

The oldest surviving house in Wellington. It's on Nairn Street and was built in 1858 by William Wallis, a carpenter whose family remained in it until 1977. No wonder it feels homey. Three years later it opened as a museum.

New Zealand: Wellington picture 6

Here it is again, on the far left. Downhill it's boring time again. Up ahead are the Berkeley Dallard apartments, built in 1975 and with 153 apartments the biggest block in the City Council's housing portfolio.

New Zealand: Wellington picture 7

Over on the other side of town, this is the childhood home of Katherine Mansfield who, it will be recalled, at 19 got the hell out of Dodge.

New Zealand: Wellington picture 8

A neighboring house, also on Tinakori Road. Maybe the occupants a century ago were as uptight as their house.

New Zealand: Wellington picture 9

Some people made money in old Wellington. Mansfield's father was a banking executive. (Trivia for the day: the OED reports that the word "executive" in this sense was first used when Mansfield was 14, in 1902. It seems not to have been in common use until the 1930s.)

New Zealand: Wellington picture 10

On the edge of the gridded CBD, this is Toomath's Buildings, from 1901 and on Ghuznee Street between Cuba and Marion. What line of migration is implied? Ghazni, after all, is an Afghan province and city. Toomath is Irish, though a Toomath of the next generation would be New Zealand's first Harvard-trained architect.

New Zealand: Wellington picture 11

Cuba Street has gone and gotten itself pedestrianized.

New Zealand: Wellington picture 12

To think of it! A noble house of money reduced to burgers and fries, with possibly a few apartments.

New Zealand: Wellington picture 13

Empty now, the Albemarle opened as a hotel in 1905, became a boarding house, then a whorehouse and then--if there's a difference--the Mayfair Gentleman's Club. After a failed attempt to renovate it, a second investor paid almost NZ$800,000 in 2012 for a building needing earthquake strengthening before he could proceed with a restaurant down and apartments above.

New Zealand: Wellington picture 14

It's colloquially the State Opera because the State Insurance Company restored it in 1977.

New Zealand: Wellington picture 15

The Town Hall, completed in 1904, when town halls really had halls: this one sat 3,000. The facade was clipped back in 1934, when Napier had a bad earthquake and people began worrying about one here.

New Zealand: Wellington picture 16

The addition in 1989 of a City Council Building didn't do much to help.

New Zealand: Wellington picture 17

Now this is more interesting: it's the Victoria University Law School, built in 1876 to house the national government and known even now as the Old Government Building. At first it housed the civil service and cabinet, then just the Education Department. It sat empty from 1990 to 1996, when it took on its present life. Though it affects masonry, it's all wood, which does make you wonder how it escaped fire all these years.

New Zealand: Wellington picture 18

Now here's masonry for you, though this parliament building, from 1922, never got the dome intended for it. The so-called beehive, to the left, houses the prime minister's offices. No jokes about going around in circles.

New Zealand: Wellington picture 19

Today's Parliament Building replaced an earlier building of wood that burned in 1907, but that building's twin did not burn: the General Assembly or Parliamentary Library survives as the state library, from 1899.

New Zealand: Wellington picture 20

More wood, more fires. This is St John's Prebyterian Church, built in 1884 to destroy one than burned. The architect was Thomas Turnbull, who also designed the General Assembly Library. When this church opened in 1885 it was in a residential neighborhood. Problem: now it's on the edge of the CBD.

New Zealand: Wellington picture 21

A super-special, Great Mirror Three Star winner, this is Old St. Paul's, which from 1866 to 1964 was the cathedral of the diocese of Wellington. The architect was none other than the Reverend Frederick Thatcher, who evidently feared fire less than earthquakes. The transepts, visible here on the left, were added later for stability; the slate roof came in 1924 and replaced shingles. The church might have been destroyed when a new and bigger church opened, but somebody in the city had a brain. The government bought the church in 1967 and maintains it. No longer a parish church, it's still consecrated and available for weddings and more.

New Zealand: Wellington picture 22

You're not impressed? That's because you haven't seen the interior: all wood and not a drop of paint.

New Zealand: Wellington picture 23

The atmosphere is terrific, right up there with Norway's stave churches. What's that you say? "Why didn't you use a flash?" Oh, sorry, what's a flash?

* Argentina * Australia * Austria * Bangladesh * Belgium * Botswana * Brazil * Burma / Myanmar * Cambodia (Angkor) * Canada (B.C.) * China * The Czech Republic * Egypt * Fiji * France * Germany * Ghana * Greece * Guyana * Hungary * India: Themes * Northern India * Peninsular India * Indonesia * Israel * Italy * Japan * Jerusalem * Jordan * Kenya * Laos * Kosovo * Malawi * Malaysia * Mauritius * Mexico * Micronesia (Pohnpei) * Morocco * Mozambique * Namibia * The Netherlands * New Zealand * Nigeria * Norway * Oman * Pakistan * Peru * The Philippines * Poland * Portugal * Romania (Transylvania) * Senegal * Singapore * South Africa * South Korea * Spain * Sri Lanka * Sudan * Syria (Aleppo) * Tanzania * Thailand * Trinidad * Turkey (Istanbul) * Uganda * The U.A.E. (Dubai) * The United Kingdom * The Eastern United States * The Western United States * Oklahoma * Uruguay * Uzbekistan * Vietnam * The West Bank * Yemen * Zambia * Zimbabwe *
go back to previous picture go to next chapter go to next picture go to previous chapter page