Te Ngākau – Civic Precinct programme

The Council is now working on a programme that looks at the future of Te Ngākau as a whole. We want to make sure that we continue to strengthen the area to truly become the cultural heart of the city.

Wellington's Civic Square, showing the Town Hall and the Council's Building.

Te Ngākau – the Civic Precinct forms the highly-connected ‘heart of the city’ where people can walk between Wellington’s waterfront, the Golden Mile and our important arts, cultural and performance venues.

It’s home to many of the city’s key civic functions and is made up of the Central Library, City Gallery, the Wellington Town Hall, Municipal Office Building, Civic Administration Building, the former Capital E building, the City to Sea Bridge, Civic Square, Jack Ilott Green and the Michael Fowler Centre.

Resilience challenges

This area was significantly impacted during the 2013 and 2016 earthquakes. Since then, discussion around further development of Te Ngākau has been continuing, largely due to changing concerns around the seismic resilience of many of its buildings and structures. The area also has other resilience issues such as vulnerability to rising sea levels.

The closure of the Central Library building in March 2019, as well as the closure of the Civic Administration Building, has highlighted the resilience issues faced in the precinct. While these issues are challenging, they also offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ensure Te Ngākau is safe, well-designed, vibrant and fulfils its potential as the heart of our growing city.

What we’re doing

Projects are already underway to develop and/or strengthen some of the precinct buildings and find options for others.

A focus on the future

Our staff are looking not only at the physical structures in Te Ngākau, but the way in which the space is used, and which services are important for our community now and in the future.

Staff are taking into account the planning work on the precinct which has been done previously, and initiatives which we are already working on together with our partners and the people of the Wellington region - Let’s Get Wellington Moving, and Our City Tomorrow – Planning for Growth. We are also looking at options for our own staff to be accommodated in Te Ngākau and will incorporate other work underway as part of the programme, such as finding options for the Central Library building and the development of a strategy for future library services that will meet the needs of our community.

Following engagement with key stakeholders – which included mana whenua representatives, sustainability, architectural and engineering experts, resident groups and events and arts organisations– a draft framework was developed.

On 8 April 2021 we presented Council with this draft framework and principles which will guide restoring Te Ngākau Civic Precinct as our city’s vibrant, welcoming and resilient heart. You can read the draft framework below.

The public were then invited to comment on the objectives for Te Ngākau in a four-week consultation process which ran from Wednesday 19 May until 5pm, 16 June 2021. Officers will present the consultation findings and any updates to the framework to the Council in August 2021.


Past ideas

The Council previously reviewed the future of the Civic Precinct as part of the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan. You can read more detail in Supplementary Agenda (attachment 1, pages 23, 24) that went to the Council meeting of 25 February, 2015.

Following the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake, and before the Central Library closure, staff worked with independent consultants to develop concepts and ideas for the wider area to understand what the future precinct might look like. You can view this work below.