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

Sections of play equipment at Frank Kitts Park playground will be closed for periods of time in July/August 2020 so maintenance can be completed.

A new playground planned for Frank Kitts Park was put on hold in 2019 after construction tenders exceeded the project's $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 and the interim repairs are to ensure the playground can remain open until work gets underway to replace it. 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 2020/21 financial year.

Wellington Underground Market and Frank Kitts car park

The Wellington Underground Market will stop trading in the car park under Frank Kitts Park on Saturday 14 March 2020.

The decision to close the market follows a Detailed Seismic Assessment which 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)

The engineers’ advice is that the building, while built in 1989 to the building code of the day, is now classified as earthquake-prone.

The Council is not comfortable with the level of risk to the several hundred people who can be in the car park when the market is trading. After discussions with the market’s operators, the Council decided the car park could no longer host the market.

We are working with the market operators to find an alternative venue.

The car park building will now formally be listed as quake-prone, and the Council will have seven years to remedy the situation. 

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 to nearby businesses. 
Frank Kitts Park will remain open to the public. The Homegrown music festival to be held there on 21 March will go ahead because engineers’ advice is 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 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. Decisions about the future of the car park and wider Frank Kitts Park will be made during the 2021 Long Term Plan process.

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