News | 27 October 2022
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Public toilet refurbishment a great relief for everyone

The main public toilets in the Botanic Garden ki Paekākā are getting a bit of a facelift to return them to their former glory – and a safer more inclusive facility for all to use.

Main toilet building in Botanic Garden with spring flowers in background
Main Botanic Garden toilet exterior

The 1920s heritage building was originally designed by Wellington City Corporation in 1929 as a ‘Ladies Rest Room’ with three cubicles (one for children) and a waiting room. 

The current project includes a full internal refurbishment, tiled interior walls reminiscent of the 1930s bathrooms, restoration of remaining original features, a new clay tile roof, earthquake strengthening to 70% NBS, and five gender neutral toilets including an accessible one.

Careful research was done to remain faithful to the original design says Wellington City Council’s Senior Architectural Advisor Averill Clarke.

“Previous refurbishments unfortunately removed or covered up many of the original features, so this project has been a labour of love, but will be worth it once we see the final product. 

“We’ve scraped back the layers of paint on the front door to see what colours had been used in the past and found that it was likely an oiled timber finish originally but has had a number of paint layers since including cream, several greens, and a couple of reds.

“The surrounding trees are also a priority in this location, so instead of heavily pruning or removing them to install scaffolding, large branches were included inside the clear wrap which enclosed the building during construction while the roof was being replaced

“It felt like a glasshouse inside and must’ve been one of the nicest construction sites in Wellington with inside vegetation, tonnes of natural light, and no wind!” adds Averill.

Main Botanic Garden toilet roof tiles being maintained with scaffolding and cladding around it.
Work being done on roof tiles

Botanic Gardens Manager David Sole says the toilet block is an iconic heritage building which is well known, well used, and well loved by locals and visitors alike.

“This project will not only provide an interior finish in‐keeping with the buildings’ exterior heritage aesthetic, but improvements to the facilities and additional cubicle will provide a much better user-experience.

“It’s the wee things that count,” he laughs!

The project contractor is BGIS and the overall cost is approximately $470K which is funded through the capital renewal budget. Construction is expected to finish in late spring so it will be ready to go when the summer events calendar kicks-off.