Te Whare Whakarauiki Wellington Town Hall is a grade 1 listed heritage building and is more than a century old. It has been closed to the public since 2013, when it was deemed earthquake prone. By law, it either had to be demolished or strengthened, but its heritage status prevented it from being demolished. The Town Hall has a high level of support to be retained by Wellington City ratepayers and it is expected to be enjoyed by Wellingtonians again.
When it re-opens, the Town Hall will be a world-class musical and recording venue with improved rehearsal and performance space. It will be a base for civic and community events and part of a centre of musical excellence for New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) and Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington’s New Zealand School of Music—Te Kōkī. The redeveloped, much-loved Wellington Town Hall, with its wonderful auditorium and world-class acoustics, will be at the heart of the national music centre. The NZSO, NZSM and many of the Council’s civic activities will co-locate across the building. This will bring students, professional musicians and other industry creatives back into the heart of Wellington to provide some of the best performance and education experiences in the world.
Remaining work on the Town Hall redevelopment includes the building’s new foundations, internal structural work, formation of a new auditorium basement, renewal of the ground floor, carpentry work, wiring, and new mechanical air conditioning systems. The redevelopment part will mean that the building will look similar but will have modern, improved services beneath the surface.
The Town Hall redevelopment is currently estimated to cost $182.4m. Building work is set to finish late 2024, then furniture will be installed, and tenant areas will be setup, for a public reopening at the beginning of 2025 after 6 years of base isolation and redevelopment. It will be a resilient building in an earthquake prone city and the main building is planned to last another 100 years. We hope that Wellingtonians will be proud of the building and its future.