News | 5 May 2023
Share on social

City building: A look at Wellington’s past, present, and future

From the Wellington Waterfront to Te Ngākau Civic Square – Wellington wouldn’t be Wellington without the buildings and spaces that make up the city’s landscape.

St James Theatre with writing that reads 'City building.'

As the city embarks on its biggest transformation programme in more than 30 years, we’re highlighting some corners of the capital that help make Wellington a better place to live, work, and play through our City Building series. 

The city is packed with iconic buildings and spaces that Wellingtonians and visitors alike know and love. While they are now fixtures in both the cultural and physical landscape, some of these building projects were initially met with controversy.

The Wellington Regional Stadium took 21 months to build and the ambitious project sparked uncertainty from some Wellingtonians with concerns around expense and disruption. However, the stadium has gone on to become a beloved, prosperous part of the city's identity, bringing millions of visitors and dollars to the region. 

Other buildings in Pōneke became so iconic that work continues to be done to restore them for future generations, including Te Matapihi Central Library and the Town Hall.  

The St James Theatre, which was opened in 1912 and featured performances of slapstick comedians, balladeers, jugglers, and acrobats, was recently given a new lease on life with major restrengthening and refurbishments.

Wellingtonians want a city that is climate-friendly, affordable, and a welcoming place to live for generations to come. We’re making that happen now, with many major infrastructure upgrades on the go.

We’re highlighting some of these projects in our City Building series, where we’ll look at how our city has developed and will continue to change.

Check out our City Building story collection below

History of Thorndon Pool

The oldest existing pool in Wellington is tucked away in Thorndon – but did you know it used to be located where the port on Aotea Quay is now?

Behind the hoarding: Town Hall site visit

There’s a lot to love about the Wellington Town Hall. It’s reputed to have one of the best acoustic chambers in the world, it’s lovely to look at, and it has a history full of memorable stories, including the time the ceiling, dead pigeons and their nests collapsed onto an international act during their concert.

A history of Wellington’s significant builds: Part one

We’ve created a historic timeline of how the cityscape has evolved. Check out part one.

A history of Wellington’s significant builds: Part two

We’ve created a historic timeline of how the cityscape has evolved. Check out part one.

Fit for the future: Sheet piling at the Town Hall

Earthquake strengthening is a must-have for buildings in Wellington, a city that sits directly on a fault line. But how do we approach earthquake strengthening on historic and heritage buildings so that they are fit for future use?

A History of Wellington Regional Stadium

Known commercially as ‘Sky Stadium’ since 2020 and as Westpac Stadium for 20 years before that, the Wellington Regional Stadium has been a fixture of New Zealand’s sport and cultural landscape for over two decades.

Wellington City Libraries – looking back to look forward

Wellington Central Library has been housed in a series of buildings which have become more user-friendly with each move. Less visible, is the progression of library services.

Back in my day: Pōneke then and now

We’re looking back at some old pics of iconic spots in Pōneke to discover how they've developed over the years.

Black writing on a yellow background that reads 'Positively Pōneke'.

Check out Our Wellington and our social media channels for more Positively Pōneke articles, videos and interesting snippets looking at Wellington’s past, present, and future.