Wellington’s historic Public Trust Hall reopens

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After 11 months of renovations, Wellington’s Public Trust Hall was officially reopened at a formal reception last month.

Registered Category 1 with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, the building’s original Edwardian Baroque architectural styling makes it an important landmark for the people of Wellington.

Completed in 1908, the building was originally the headquarters of the Public Trust. The main hall features extensive use of impressive plaster mouldings, cornices and corbels, and was the principle banking chamber.

It was one of the first buildings constructed in New Zealand using steel framing and steel reinforcing. Elegant, modern and central, the exterior building facade features the only New Zealand native granite, Tonga stone, from Tonga Bay in Abel Tasman National Park.

In 1982 the building was sold into private ownership and unsympathetically divided into small offices and shops. It was later saved from demolition by a public campaign, and received a Grade One Heritage Listing.

Extensive renovations were carried out by building owners Maurice and Kaye Clark over a period of 11 months, and follow an initial strengthening and restoration programme completed in 2015.

“Preserving the heritage of Wellington’s finest buildings is crucial if we want to conserve and celebrate the city’s identity,” building proprietor Maurice Clark says.

Construction was carried out by McKee Fehl Constructors Ltd, which boasts an award-winning portfolio of heritage restoration projects, including 15 Stout Street for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and the Press Hall precinct.

The Public Trust Hall can accommodate 280 guests, and boasts state-of-the-art audio-visual technology, acoustics perfect for chamber music as well as a professional catering kitchen.