Frank Kitts Park

Location: Wellington waterfront

Brief description: The park:

  • has a play area with a slide in the form of a lighthouse, and swings
  • has tiered amphitheatre-style seating area for picnics and small outdoor events (if you want to hold an event: Events on the Waterfront)
  • hosts the following artworks:
    • Albatross sculpture (Tanya Ashken)
    • Fruits of the Garden sculpture (Paul Dibble)
    • Water Whirler sculpture (Len Lye)
    • Sundial (Charles Stone)

Accessibility: The park is flat.

Dogs: Dogs must be kept on a leash, except for the children’s play area where they are not allowed at all.

History:  Completed in the late 1980s, Frank Kitts Park was one of the first areas of the waterfront to be developed. 

The design of the park was heavily influenced by the annual street car race that ran through the area at that time. The seaside promenade was the start grid for the race and is the reason why the promenade is flanked by a high wall on its city side – to ensure spectator safety.

The park was named after the city’s mayor Sir Francis Joseph Kitts.

Frank Kitts Park playground

A new playground planned for Frank Kitts Park was put on hold in 2019 after construction tenders exceeded the projects $2 million budget. Councillors recently voted to proceed with the project to replace the playground.

Some of the playground equipment is nearing the end of its usable life.  The Council is reviewing the playground project to ensure it can be built within an acceptable budget while still allowing for any future development of Frank Kitts Park.

A new timeline for the playground construction project is yet to be confirmed, however construction work is expected to get underway in the 2021/22 financial year.

Wellington Underground Market and Frank Kitts car park

The Detailed Seismic Assessment identified that the building is earthquake-prone.

The assessment by Holmes Consulting was done as part of the Council’s review into the resilience of its buildings. It identified two significant structural weaknesses in the car park’s roof and issues with the seismic performance of the reclaimed ground under the car park. 

Read the detailed seismic assessment report (3.3MB PDF)

Council decided the car park could continue to operate because low numbers of people are in the building at any one time.  The Underground Market, was unable to keep operating in the car park after March 14 2020 because it attracts large numbers of shoppers and stallholders.  

The car park building is listed as quake-prone, and the Council is required to remedy the situation by 2034. 

In the meantime the building will continue to operate as a commercial car park. It is currently leased to Wilson Parking who sub-lease the car parks. 

Frank Kitts Park will remain open to the public. The annual Homegrown music festival to be held  in March will continue to use Frank Kitts Park because the crowd loading generated by the event is different to a seismic load and the building can cope with this. 

The retailers operating in small shops on the Whairepo Lagoon and harbour frontages of the car park building will also remain open.

A report on options and issues relating to the Frank Kitts Park, including the car park will be prepared for the Mayor and Councillors.


Read the WCC memo to the Acting CEO about Frank Kitts Car Park (330KB PDF)

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