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: Most of the park is flat. There are steps and a ramp linking upper and lower parts of the park. 

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

History:  Prior to land reclamation, which took place from 1970-1973, the Frank Kitts Park site was on the doorstep of Te Aro Pā, a rich food gathering area. More recently it was part of the commercial port, which meant public access was not permitted. In the late 1980’s the park as we know it today was developed for public use, as the land was no longer required by the Wellington Harbour Board for commercial port purposes. 

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.

Management and development of the park is guided by the Wellington Waterfront Framework. The park is managed by the Parks, Sport and Recreation unit at Wellington City Council. 

Frank Kitts Park playground

The original playground at Frank Kitts Park was built in 1989 and has been Wellington’s most popular spot to play over the years. 

It is now being completely redeveloped to bring it up to standard, make it future fit and, most importantly, even more fun.

Wellington Underground Market and Frank Kitts Car Park

A Detailed Seismic Assessment has 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 car park building is listed as quake-prone, and the Council is required to remedy the situation by 2034. 

The car park is no longer operating.

Council officers are now considering options for the car park building. Options will take into consideration proposals to develop a Chinese Garden and a Fale Malae on Frank Kitts Park.

Frank Kitts Park and the retailers operating in small shops on the Whairepo Lagoon and harbour frontages of the car park building remain open.

A report on options and issues relating to redeveloping Frank Kitts Park, including the car park will be prepared for the Mayor and Councillors in 2022. Public consultation will be undertaken before any decision is made to approve or decline a design for redeveloping Frank Kitts Park. It is likely that the preferred design will assume demolition of the entire car park building. 

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