Begonia House strengthening

The Begonia House in the Botanic Garden – one of Wellington’s most popular visitor attractions – was earthquake strengthened in 2012 to make it stronger and safer.

People enjoying the rose gardens with Begonia House in the background.
Visitors smelling the roses infront of Begonia House


The Begonia House was built in 1961 with funding provided by prominent Wellington family, the Norwoods. It followed the establishment, in 1956, of the Lady Norwood Rose Garden – named by the Council in honour of Lady Norwood for the support and services she and her husband provided for the city.

The building contains a wide range of flowers and plants and, of course, many types of begonias. Tuberous begonias, both pot and basket types, with their spectacular large colourful flowers, play the starring role, and dominate the displays during the summer months. More beauty is added by orchids, bromeliads, cyclamen, primula, impatiens and various bulbs.

The building is made up of two separate areas - one for tropical plants and one containing temperate plants. The foyer of the temperate house has long been a popular wedding venue.

Earthquake Prone Building

The Begonia House was deemed to be an earthquake-prone building because it achieved less than 33% of the current new build standard (NBS).

The strengthening programme included installing a series of roof and wall cross braces and strengthening steel portal frames to improve the performance of the building in an earthquake. 

The Begonia House re-opened after two months of strengthening work.