Cenotaph Precinct Improvements

The Cenotaph Precinct in central Wellington will have a new look as part of a wider project to improve the area.

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The new staircase has been installed, paving has been largely completed and most of the new plants are in the gardens, with the finishing touches now being made.

The final stage of work will include installing the artwork and street furniture. The new precinct will be open for public use in April.

Artist's impression showing a bird's eye view of the redeveloped cenotaph precinct.

Illustration by Wraight & Associates Ltd.


The precinct includes the Cenotaph, at the corner of Lambton Quay and Bowen Street, and the plaza next to Parliament Grounds.

The work will greatly restore the national, historical and architectural heritage of the precinct and provide a more open and pedestrian friendly area for Anzac Day dawn services and other events.

Planned work 

This will include: 

  • restoring original features of the Cenotaph including garden beds and paving
  • new seats and lights
  • a new public artwork
  • new steps from the plaza up to Parliament Grounds allowing for a direct pedestrian route to the Beehive 
  • removing the public toilets 
  • removing some trees to open up the plaza and allow for the link through to Parliament 


A new in-ground artwork by Joe Sheehan will lead pedestrians across the plaza, along the path of Waipiro Stream (now underground), with pieces of jade laid into the paving. The artwork will include the sound of flowing water from speakers set in the ground.


The Cenotaph was built in 1929 to honour soldiers killed in the First World War. Along with the Cenotaph's close links with Parliament and remembrance of both World Wars, the area's history goes back to Māori settlement. The Oamaru stone pou at Waititi Landing near the Cenotaph, by Rā Vincent, marks the old shoreline and waka landing beach used by Te Atiawa and other Taranaki Whānui iwi.


While we carry out this work, there will be some disruption to the area and how you use it.

The footpath on the Parliament side of Bowen Street, from Lambton Quay to Museum Street, is closed while the Cenotaph precinct is refurbished. Please use the alternative routes.

The Bowen Street public toilets are now closed. The nearest toilets are at the bus terminal or the Railway Station.


Work started in September and will be completed in time for the 2015 ANZAC Day commemorations, which will mark the centenary of the First World War.