Valma House, formerly Van Staveren Building, was built in 1937 for Van Staveren Bros., merchants and importers of (among other items) sporting goods, tobacco and accessories, hair products, clocks and watches. Barend Van Staveren founded the ﬁrm with two of his brothers, Isaac and Herman, in 1905. Barend was managing director for a remarkable 58 years. The ﬁrm closed in the 1980s.
The building, designed by Swan and Lavelle, has Art Deco features but is otherwise relatively unadorned. The bracing on the south side of the building and visible through the front windows is an unsightly addition (2003) to strengthen it against earthquakes.
Image reference: Exterior of van Staveren Brothers building, Wellington. Winder, Duncan, 1919-1970 :Architectural photographs. Ref: DW-5224-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23154638