Agriculture House, 131–133 Featherston Street (1938)

Agriculture House, then New Zealand Insurance Building, in 1940.
Agriculture House, then New Zealand Insurance Building, shown in an unusual rooftop view in 1940

Agriculture House is so named for its association with Federated Farmers, which bought this building in 1983. It was originally constructed for New Zealand Insurance one of New Zealand’s most successful and historic insurance companies. NZI began in Auckland in 1859 and opened its first office in Wellington two years later. 

This building was designed by Auckland architects Gummer and Ford, who had a long association with the company, and construction was completed in 1937.

The building’s relatively undecorated facade was a significant departure from prevailing styles and can be seen as an important milestone in the transition to Modern architecture.

This building was the forerunner to the even more innovative State Insurance Building.

Image reference: Alexander Turnbull Library C25377