Parliament Buildings, Wellington

Parliament Buildings, Wellington (must see)

Situated on a 45,000 square meter site, The Parliament Buildings house the New Zealand Parliament. The Parliament Buildings include: the Parliament House, the Executive Wing, the Parliamentary Library and Bowen House. An earlier wooden Parliament House was destroyed by fire in 1907 along with all other parliament buildings except the library. A competition to find a replacement design was announced by Prime Minister Joseph Ward in February 1911 and 33 designs were entered. The winning design, by Government Architect John Campbell, was selected by Colonel Vernon, former Government Architect for New South Wales. As another of Campbell's entries won fourth place, the actual design is a combination of both entries. The design was divided into two stages. The first half, a Neoclassical building, contained both chambers and the second half Bellamy's and a new Gothic Revival library to replace the existing one.

Despite cost concerns, Prime Minister William Massey let construction of the first stage begin in 1914, but without much of the roof ornamentation or the roof domes. The outbreak of World War I created labour and material shortages that made construction difficult. Although the building was unfinished, Members of Parliament moved into it in 1918 to avoid having to use the old, cramped Government House (which housed the Governor). In 1922, the first stage was completed (the second stage was never built). The building was finally officially opened in 1995 by Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of New Zealand, after its comprehensive strengthening and refurbishment.

The land intended for the second stage of Parliament House is occupied by the Executive Wing. This building conceived by British architect Sir Basil Spence in 1964, largely designed by the Ministry of Works, was officially opened by Elizabeth II, Queen of New Zealand in 1977. The government moved into the building in 1979. Due to its distinctive shape, it is referred to colloquially as "The Beehive".

Completed in 1899, the Parliamentary Library is the oldest of the buildings. It stands to the north of Parliament House (to its right, looking from the front). The library was designed in Gothic revival style and was fire resistant, being constructed of masonry. The third story of the design was not built to save money. It had an iron fire-door separating the library from the main entrance section. This saved the library from the fire of 1907 which destroyed the rest of the (wooden) parliament buildings. Coincidentally, exactly the same thing happened in Ottawa in 1916—with fire doors saving the Library when the Centre Block of the Canadian Parliament burned. Like Parliament House the library was strengthened and refurbished in the 1990s. It still houses Parliament's library.

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Wellington, New Zealand within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Parliament Buildings on Map

Sight Name: Parliament Buildings
Sight Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) containing this sight: City Orientation Walk   Landmarks Walking Tour in Wellington  

Walking Tours in Wellington, New Zealand

Create Your Own Walk in Wellington

Create Your Own Walk in Wellington

Creating your own self-guided walk in Wellington is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Churches Walking Tour of Wellington

Churches Walking Tour of Wellington

When immigrants first arrived in New Zealand they brought their beliefs. Most of the first settlers were Christians. The second church built in Wellington, in 1855, still stands today and is a great historic site. This self-guided tour will help you explore the churches and other religious monuments of Wellington.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 km
Wellington: Petone Walking Tour

Wellington: Petone Walking Tour

Petone is the landing point of the first settlers to New Zealand. The distance from Petone to Wellington is about 10 km. The road leading there lies along the bay, offering splendid views. Petone is an exciting destination with several museums and churches. You can also take a walk on the wonderful pier. This self-guided tour will lead you through this historic region of Wellington.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 km
City Orientation Walk

City Orientation Walk

Wellington, jokingly referred to as "Windy Wellington" for the strong winds blowing across the Cook Strait, is also said to be the “coolest little capital in the world”. The list of the local sights drawing tourists to the city in their thousands is long – from Lambton Quay with its iconic red Wellington Cable Car to Te Papa (the Museum of New Zealand) to Civic Square, home to the...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.7 km
Art Galleries Walking Tour of Wellington

Art Galleries Walking Tour of Wellington

Wellington is considered the artistic capital of New Zealand. You will find many art galleries with amazing, mysterious and challenging displays. The collections are mainly of contemporary art. Take the tour below to visit some of the best art galleries in Wellington.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 km
Museums Walking Tour of Wellington

Museums Walking Tour of Wellington

Wellington has several museums that offer a deep understanding of the culture and traditions of its people. This self-guided tour will lead you through the museums of Wellington, museums which reveal the history and culture of New Zealand.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.4 km
Landmarks Walking Tour in Wellington

Landmarks Walking Tour in Wellington

New Zealand is a set of islands in the Pacific Ocean that was isolated from the rest of the world for many centuries. Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, is a city rich in history and culture as it is populated by immigrants from around the world. This self-guided tour will lead you through some of the outstanding landmarks of this magnificent city.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.3 km