Public Trust Building

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Public Trust Office Building
Public Trust Office Building (Former), Wellington, New Zealand (58).JPG
The building in 2014
General information
Architectural styleEdwardian Baroque[1]
Location41°16′52″S 174°46′35″E / 41.28103°S 174.77636°E / -41.28103; 174.77636
Address131-135 Lambton Quay and Stout Street
Town or cityWellington
CountryNew Zealand
Current tenantsMinistry for Culture and Heritage
Named forNew Zealand Public Trust
Opened9 June 1909
Design and construction
ArchitectJohn Campbell
Reference no.224

The Public Trust Office Building is an office building in central Wellington, New Zealand, completed in 1908. It is the only (surviving) building "made of a true New Zealand granite – from Tonga Bay in north-west Nelson."[2] It is also believed to be New Zealand's first steel-framed office building.[3]


Design and construction[edit]

The plans for the building in the Auckland Weekly News in 1907

In 1894, Government Architect John Campbell was asked to start drafting plans for the building. It was eventually opened by Prime Minister Sir Joseph Ward 36 years later on 9 June 1909.[4]

Occupation by Public Trust and Creative NZ[edit]

The building was occupied by Public Trust from 1909 to 1982. In 1982, the Public Trust moved to a building next door.[4]

Subsequently Creative New Zealand were the main occupiers of the building from 1985 to 2013.[4]

In 1975 a public campaign successfully saved the building from demolition.[1]

Period of vacancy and renovation[edit]

The Public Trust Building in May 2015 being renovated

Doubts about the building's future were (again) raised following the 2013 Seddon earthquake.[1] Most of the building's tenants were evacuated following the earthquake.[3] Creative New Zealand's Wellington office had been in the building since 1985. After the building's body corporate (Creative New Zealand; Stout Street Chambers; Julian Parsons and Reedy Holdings) commissioned an assessment by engineering firm Dunning Thornton, they decided to sell the building to a party better placed to strengthen the building.[5][6]

After it was largely evacuated, the building was bought by Maurice Clark, who was labelled a "hero" for taking on one of Wellington's largest heritage strengthening projects.[7]

From 2014 to 2015, the building was renovated and earthquake strengthened. The restoration work was undertaken by Maurice Clark's construction firm McKee Fehl with architects Warren & Mahoney. The two companies also collaborated on the restoration of Defence House across the road on Stout Street.[8]

Post-strengthening life[edit]

Following the strengthening of the building and its opening on 27 October 2015, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage has occupied most of the building.[4] A Jamie Oliver restaurant was also planned for the large downstairs room, but is now not proceeding and alternative uses are being sought.[8]

Heritage status[edit]

The building is listed by Heritage New Zealand as a Category 1 historic building. When the building was first listed by Heritage New Zealand, the citation said that:

The Wellington Architecture Centre describes the building as:

In 2013, Wellington City Council Councillor Andy Foster said the Public Trust building was one of the heritage buildings he would most like to see strengthened and saved.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d "Public Trust building". Architecture Centre Wellington. 20 August 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Old Public Trust Building, Wellington". Te Ara. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Reinforcement project awaits new owner". The Dominion Post. 23 November 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d "Public Trust Office building opens - 9 June 1909". Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  5. ^ Creative New Zealand (26 September 2013). "Old Public Trust Building to be sold". Creative New Zealand. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  6. ^ "Old Public Trust building to be sold". Radio New Zealand News. 29 September 2013. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  7. ^ "Hero developer buys Public Trust Building, plans to save and strengthen it". Wellington Scoop. Scoop. 14 January 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  8. ^ a b Harris, Catherine (8 August 2015). "Old Public Trust building revival nearly complete". Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  9. ^ "Public Trust Office Building (Former)". Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  10. ^ Foster, Andy (23 September 2013). "Irreplaceable heritage – choosing the buildings that must be saved". Wellington Scoop. Scoop. Retrieved 13 October 2015.

External links[edit]