News | 18 January 2023
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Behind the scenes of Wellington Town Hall's redevelopment

The Wellington Town Hall redevelopment made great strides in 2022 with the removal of the crane, a prominent feature of the city’s skyline since 2020. Read on to find out about the next stages of the project in 2023.

Crane being removed.
Removal of the Town Hall crane, which has been a part of the city's skyline since 2020.

This crane was being used to move construction equipment, install scaffolding and structural steelwork, and remove the project’s construction waste.  

Naylor Love removed the crane back in December 2022, which took a total of three days. To get the original crane out, a second, 400-tonne mobile crane was specially assembled by Smith Crane and Construction.  

The removal’s accomplishment marks the end of the ‘heavy lifting’ for this stage of the project, allowing for the next phase of the Town Hall refresh — the construction of the auditorium basement. This process includes sheet piling, excavating the ground under the auditorium, then forming the new walls and floors. This will be mostly completed by the end of 2023.  

Crane on a construction site.

Once open, the new auditorium basement is set to house practice and recording spaces, as well as storage areas for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Stage lifts, and new toilets for public use during performances will also be installed. 

From July, carpentry work, wiring, and services installations will start on the ground floor, and levels one and two.  

On the ground floor, renovations to the auditorium will create a new backstage space, which will open onto Te Ngakau-Civic Square, as well as a green room, which will be used by performers to set up and practice before going on stage. The previous Ilott Theatre will be a multipurpose flat floor space and will be fitted out by Te Herenga WakaVictoria University of Wellington’s New Zealand School of MusicTe Kōki, for performance and recording capabilities. 

Render of Town Hall.
Image credit: Hoffcon. Wakefield Street view of the Wellington Town Hall from the 4D Visual Programme.

Works to the first floor will retain the Debating/Council Chamber with improved sightlines and sound quality in the gallery. The Civic Offices housing the Mayor and staff will also be retained. The second-floor will be occupied by Te Herenga WakaVictoria University of Wellington and fitted with high quality performance and recording spaces.  

According to Project Director Bede Crestani, these developments will bring us closer to the re-opening of the earthquake strengthened Town Hall, which is set to last another 100 years. 

Crane outside town hall

“Once re-opened, the Town Hall will be a world-class musical and recording venue with rehearsal and performance spaces, as well as the base for civic and community events.” 

The completed Town Hall will have the capacity to bring students, professional musicians, and other industry creatives back into the heart of Wellington to provide some of the best performance and education experiences in New Zealand. 

For the latest updates on the Town Hall Redevelopment project, keep an eye on Facebook and Instagram.