About the Town Hall strengthening project

Wellington Town Hall is set for strengthening and upgrade.

View from Civic Square of Wellington Town Hall, as it looks in 2013.

Wellington Town Hall from Civic Square


The building was closed to the public in 2013 because of it was earthquake prone. 

When it re-opens it will be a centre for civic events and the heart of a unique centre of musical and creative excellence, education, cultural connections and community engagement. 

We are partnering with Victoria University’s School of Music and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Current status

We intend to appoint a main contractor in the early part of 2019, and start work on site soon after.

The plan of work

The main Town Hall strengthening and upgrade work will include these extra features:

  • The tiered Ilott Theatre will become a flat floor space suitable for standalone performances and a support space for the main auditorium.
  • The West Hall (between the Town Hall and the Municipal Office Building) will be rebuilt to provide access from Wakefield Street to Civic Square and a link to the adjacent building.
  • The main auditorium will have a new, stronger floor.
  • A new basement under the main auditorium will provide public toilets and usable space.
  • Servicing storage and public facilities will be improved, including better loading facilities in the main auditorium with a second stage lift.
  • The Town Hall pipe organ has been restored and will be reinstalled.

About the project

In June 2017 the Council approved nearly $90 million to upgrade and earthquake strengthen the Town Hall to 100 percent of the New Building Standard. The work will include re-piling and ‘base isolation’ (the building will rest on flexible pads that lessen shaking during an earthquake).

Work was completed in September 2018 to secure external brickwork on the Town Hall to comply with Government legislation.

Why we are doing this work


The Town Hall site is reclaimed land and is prone to liquefaction in an earthquake. The building sits on ageing, unreinforced concrete piles making the structure unreliable in an earthquake. The upgrade project will resolve both these factors, making the Town Hall a stronger and safer civic and event space for everyone to enjoy.


The Town Hall opened in 1904 and is one of the city’s most important heritage buildings. It is a listed heritage building in the District Plan and has a Heritage New Zealand Category One rating, meaning it has high cultural and heritage value for the city.

Alternative venues for use

For information about alternative venues while the Town Hall is upgraded, call our Contact Centre on 04 499 4444.

More information

Bede Crestani
Project Manager, Build Wellington
Phone: 04 495 7823 or 021 270 8154
Email: buildwellington@wcc.govt.nz