Events In History


State housing

  • State housing

    New Zealand's first state house was formally opened on 18 September 1937. But the government has provided rental housing for New Zealanders for more than a century. Explore the history of this country's various state housing schemes and their contribution to the New Zealand way of life.

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  • Page 7 – State house style

    The design of state houses has been fodder for armchair and professional critics since the beginning. Detractors slagged the first workers' dwellings for being 'too swell' and

Parliament Buildings

  • Parliament Buildings

    Parliament buildings have been modified, destroyed by fire, half-built and restored; the parliamentary places and spaces have formed an important part of New Zealand's history.

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  • Page 2 – First Parliament buildings

    Auckland was a bustling place in 1854 when Parliament met there for the first time. The buildings were located in paddocks on what was then the edge of town, Constitution Hill

  • Page 3 – The halfway house

    In 1911, a competition was held for designs for a new building to house Parliament. From the 33 proposals, John Campbell's was selected and building began, although it did not

  • Page 4 – Current buildings

    Parliament Buildings are made up of the Edwardian neo-classical Parliament House and the Beehive – its name inspired by a brand of matches.

  • Page 5 – Doing up the House

    In 1992 the biggest heritage building conservation project in New Zealand was undertaken with the strengthening and refurbishing of Parliament House and the Parliamentary

  • Page 7 – Library

    For people passing Parliament's grounds, the library building is a picture postcard, but it is also an important research institution that has thousands of books, newspapers

  • Page 9 – Further information

    Find out more about the history of Parliament Buildings.

100 New Zealand Places

Life in the 20th century

  • Life in the 20th century

    Exploration of everyday life in New Zealand from 1900 to the mid-1980s

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  • Page 5 - A home of one's ownNew Zealanders have called many structures home. Some have been solid and permanent: kauri villas set in lawns and gardens, row houses on cramped Dunedin sections, sprawling state

Wellington cafe culture

  • Wellington cafe culture

    Café culture has become integral to Wellington's identity. This culture began in the 1930s with the emergence of the milk bar, followed by coffee houses in the 1950s. After a period of decline in the 1960s and 70s, the city's café scene has grown in spectacular fashion over the last 20 years.

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  • Page 4 - Design and technology New construction materials and equipment fashioned the cafe culture rising in the 1950s. Wellingtonians were introduced to the espresso machines as European styled cafes emerged.

Railway stations

  • Railway stations

    Before most people had cars or telephones, let alone television and the Internet, the railway provided many communities with their main connection to the outside world.

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  • Page 3 - Station styleRailway stations came in all shapes and sizes, ranging from imposing big-city monuments to elegant wooden provincial structures and tiny rural shelter

Container shipping

  • Container shipping

    Forty-five years ago, on 19 June 1971, the first all-container ship to visit New Zealand arrived in Wellington. Columbus New Zealand was part of a worldwide revolution in shipping. These simple steel boxes would change our transport industry, our ports and how we work and shop.

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  • Page 6 - Afterlife of shipping containersMost containers pass into the hands of a new industry that has arisen to modify them for other uses, or sell or lease them. The term ‘container architecture’ was coined to


  • Donner, Tibor Karoly

    Architect whose work included Auckland's Savage Memorial, Avondale Military Hospital (later converted into the high school), Khyber pump station, Parnell Baths and the Auckland City Council's Administration Buildings

  • Wood, Cecil Walter

    A leading architect between the world wars, Cecil Wood designed the Wellington Cathedral of St Paul.

  • Anscombe, Edmund

    A prolific and prominent architect, Edmund Anscombe was selected to design New Zealand's Centennial Exhibition complex in 1939-40.

  • Plischke, Ernst Anton

    An Austrian émigré who sought refuge from the Nazi domination, Ernst Plischke’s modernist designs made an important contribution to post-war New Zealand architecture.

  • Chapman-Taylor, James Walter

    James Walter Chapman-Taylor was an architect devoted to designing houses based on the principles of the English Arts and Crafts movement. He was also a professional photographer, and had a penchant for interpreting horoscopes.

  • Pascoe, Arnold Paul

    Paul Pascoe is considered a pioneer of modernist architecture due to the large scale of buildings he designed in the style for his home town of Christchurch and further afield.

  • Main image: Cecil Wood

    A leading architect between the world wars, Cecil Wood designed the Wellington Cathedral of St Paul.

Images and media for architecture