Making heritage work | Dunedin New Zealand

Updated post Sat, 14 Mar 2015 at 4:05 p.m.

Interesting: Donovan Rypkema’s comments about planners’ preoccupation with densification, affecting communities living in older and historic residential neighbourhoods. He suggests sharing the density around but first, development of public transportation nodes requires attention. Dunedin’s draft second generation district plan (2GP) is heading to public notification in September this year.

Donovan Rypkema1a []### Fri, 13 Mar 2015
RNZ National – Nine to Noon with Kathryn Ryan
How important is heritage preservation in our cities
09:31 Donovan Rypkema is president of Heritage Strategies International, a Washington DC consulting firm. His book, “The Economics of Historic Preservation: A Community Leader’s Guide”, is now in its third edition and his firm has had clients including the World Bank, the Inter American Development Bank, the Council of Europe and the United Nations Development Programme. He’s in New Zealand as a guest of the Civic Trust Auckland.
Audio | Download: Ogg MP3 ( 16′ 02″ ) | RNZ Link

█ In 2010, the New Zealand Historic Places Trust (now Heritage New Zealand) hosted Rypkema on a three-city tour, including Dunedin. During his visit he met with city leaders and business people; and presented public lectures at the Old BNZ in Princes St and on campus.


‘The Dunedin City Council provides advice and support for building owners who want to upgrade and lease their buildings. The Christchurch earthquake acted as a catalyst in Dunedin, forcing important decisions on the future of the older parts of the city.’ –Glen Hazelton, DCC policy planner (heritage)

### 04 Mar 2015
Making heritage work: reaping rewards from Dunedin’s classic architecture
By Suzanne Middleton
The Christchurch earthquakes changed the rules around heritage buildings. Dunedin had to decide to bowl or strengthen. The writer talked to some enlightened enthusiasts in the old warehouse district who chose the heritage option – and haven’t regretted it.
Read more

Originally published in Idealog #54 (page 40)

BNZ building (via idealog - Suzanne Middleton) bwOld BNZ Building via Idealog/Suzanne Middleton [click to enlarge]

[topical] Related Post and Comments:
28.11.14 NZ Loan and Mercantile Building —Resource Consent granted
26.11.14 Retraction (see comment on ‘Heritage Counts’)
26.9.14 NZ Loan and Mercantile Building —what ESCO said!
30.8.14 NZ Loan and Mercantile Building: Looking round at potential
18.8.14 NZ Loan and Mercantile Building #randomsmartphonepix (interiors)
17.8.14 Public Notices: NZ Loan and Mercantile Building… (site tour, hearing)
13.8.14 Chamber’s Own Goals —Heritage (letters)
11.8.14 NZ Loan and Mercantile Building (audio)
8.8.14 NZ Loan and Mercantile Agency Co Ltd Building…
18.3.14 Dunedin Harbourside: English Heritage on portside development
21.10.13 Harbourside: Access to a revamped Steamer Basin has public backing
█ 28.3.11 Historic preservation [more on Rypkema – link replaced 14.3.15]

IMG_5573bws2aNZ Loan and Mercantile Building, Customhouse, Wharf Hotel [click to enlarge]
Image by whatifdunedin (lowres) – colour shots when appeal quashed

Note: Lunds were responsible for construction of the Cross Wharf, and reconstruction of the listed HM Custom House as a restaurant, on behalf of the Otago Regional Council.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Democracy, Design, Economics, Geography, Heritage, Heritage NZ, Innovation, Inspiration, Media, Name, New Zealand, NZHPT, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Town planning, Urban design, What stadium

23 responses to “Making heritage work | Dunedin New Zealand

  1. Elizabeth

    In tomorrow’s ODT, an update on the Old Chief Post Office redevelopment in The Exchange. Find out how building owner Geoff Thomson, of Distinction Hotels, is managing the project.

  2. Elizabeth

    Owner Geoff Thomson, of Distinction Hotels, recognised there was plenty of interest in the site, with “such passion” from members of the public.

    ### ODT Online Sat, 14 Mar 2015
    Work continues apace as hotel tames bookings
    By David Loughrey and Timothy Brown
    Work on a 121-room hotel in the former Dunedin chief post office is ramping up, as its developer works to finish in time for an October 1 opening day. That date for the four star-plus hotel is fixed, with bookings already taken for rooms. […] In March last year, the lights were finally switched back on at the John Mair and Government Architects Office-designed building, when Silver Fern Farms took a lease and moved in to the first two floors. It marked the building’s first permanent tenant in more than 15 years.
    Read more


    From an earlier Post; the reference to files reflects my former role as Otago Branch chair, New Zealand Places Trust:

    The former Chief Post Office…
    I’ve done a computer search and find I have 160 files relating to the building – some to do with a nomination to upgrade the building’s NZHPT registration from Cat II to Cat I (dated 17/8/02). The nomination proposal received a lot of debate but in the end, and rightly, the NZHPT Board (national) declined to change the classification while the building was up for redevelopment. Nevertheless, through the exercise we produced a dossier of handy information. I had the NZHPT Otago Branch Committee commission a freelance heritage researcher, Heather Bauchop, for the work, with assistance from NZHPT’s McKay Bequest Fund. Heather is currently employed in the Dunedin office as Heritage Advisor – Registration. The following link is how the final nomination sat (in the now outdated format) for a registration upgrade…

    █ Download: Dunedin CPO Nomination FINAL 17-8-02 (history and significance)

    I’m not sure if the file has changed since, but certainly nothing else has been attempted on the registration front. NZHPT’s Otago Southland Area Office at Dunedin holds the complete property file and the registration file, parts of which can be viewed at the office upon request.”

    █ For more at What if?, enter the terms *chief post office*, *cpo* or *exchange* in the search box at right.

    [click to enlarge]
    Former Chief Post Office, Dunedin [ 9195P-8] 2Former Chief Post Office – Dunedin (circa 1935)
    Source: The Fletcher Trust Archive

  3. Elizabeth


    In my opinion – which is fully independent – the choice of the Stavely Building as the ‘supreme’ award winner for heritage building re-use is somewhat misguided due to poor spatial handling of the interior and a number of finishes and fittings that are not up to scratch. I’ve said similar elsewhere at this website so won’t bore you (refer nesting boxes/apartments = Gib board nirvana; and patchy atrium detail and proportions).

    As projects go, recognising the building owners are seriously motivated and well-intended, and have afforded and resourced the project, there remains the overall impression the Stavely Building in its current form isn’t ‘best advocacy’ for heritage conservation, restoration and adaptive re-use that the local industry can offer.

    For this awards system we should be looking for thoroughgoing quality and excellence of work (in re-use) that can stand up nationally and internationally.

    I have no doubt the new engineering of structural components (old and new) for enhanced building performance following the arson that created the salvage project is exemplary. However, greater emphasis must be placed on delivering sympathetic architectural design and interior design (using interior architects at the top of their game sourced from outside Dunedin) to leased and owner/occupier accommodation, particularly in Central Dunedin.

    There is a shortage of quality apartments for medium- to long-term residence in the middle of town; apartments that are warm (to the sun, preferably with a supplementary district heating source), well-lit, spacious, with good views, on-site green space amenity, and sensitively rendered to suit empty-nesters and retirees who appreciate how much potential there is for living in the heart of New Zealand’s best heritage city — in style and grace, for a range of budgets. This means much more than Gib board, plastic-looking kitchens, poky bathrooms, poor steel welding, contorted circulation, lack of private storage, and lack of properly considered architectural lighting. Time for the revolution, slowly.

    ### March 19, 2015 – 5:57pm
    Dunedin’s heritage buildings celebrated in annual Re-use Awards
    The increasingly impressive renovation of Dunedin’s heritage buildings is being celebrated. Several projects have been recognised in the annual Dunedin Heritage Re-use Awards. And one has emerged a winner, despite bleak beginnings.

  4. Elizabeth

    Handy page reference at ODT Online, go to Dunedin heritage buildings at

  5. Elizabeth

    ODT 20.3.15 (page 12)
    ODT 20.3.15 Letter to editor Annette Wale p12

  6. Elizabeth

    Heritage New Zealand
    Source: Heritage This Month – April 2015

    Donovan Rypkema welcomed back to New Zealand

    Donovan Rypkema, president of Heritage Strategies International in Washington DC, had some strong messages around heritage regulation and incentives when he spoke to councils, property developers, architects, engineers and heritage organisations at meetings when he returned to New Zealand in March.
    He was here as a guest of the Auckland Civic Trust, and also spoke in Wellington and toured Christchurch city with Civic Trust and Heritage New Zealand staff to see the aftermath of the quakes and rebuild in the city.
    Donovan’s book The Economics of Historic Preservation: A Community Leader’s Guide is now in its third edition and his firm has had clients including the World Bank, the Inter American Development Bank, the Council of Europe and the United Nations Development programme. During his stop off in the capital he had the opportunity to look at a number of buildings that had undergone earthquake strengthening including the former Defence Building in Stout Street now occupied by MBIE and the strengthening work being undertaken at the former Public Trust Building, both managed by McKee Fehl through engineer and property developer, Maurice Clark. The Public Trust building when work is completed will house the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Donovan spoke to large audiences at The Wellesley Hotel and at the Victoria University School of Architecture.
    During his speeches Donovan reinforced the importance of heritage being vital to the sustainable management of cities. He drew on success in many American states and the value of incentives, through tax credits, and other assistance, helping to make a difference to property owners conserving their buildings for public as well as private good. He said that preservation projects on heritage buildings showed there were savings of 50-80% in infrastructural costs compared to new development.
    “Heritage cities attribute more investment to the economy than non-heritage cities around the world,” he said. And he had a message to property developers, saying “you can’t build new and expect to rent cheap”.
    He said he was saddened at the demise of heritage buildings in Christchurch which he remembered from his previous trip to New Zealand in 2010, organised by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust. He applauded the work being undertaken in Wellington through strengthening programmes and reuse options, saying the future of heritage depended on a commitment to adaptive reuse. He looked forward to coming back again in the near future to further see how our cities and towns have embraced change in an environment dependent on sticks and carrots to achieve good heritage ends.
    Link [scroll down]

  7. Elizabeth

    Truby King Harris Hospital (former) b.1938 []Former Truby King Harris Hospital b.1938 [Heritage New Zealand]

    Heritage New Zealand
    Source: Heritage This Month – April 2015

    A breath of fresh air on Every Street

    A Modernist Dunedin building designed with a breath of fresh air firmly in mind has been formally recognised by Heritage New Zealand. The former Truby King Harris Hospital on Every Street, built in 1938 with commanding views over Andersons Bay, has been entered on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero as a Category 1 historic place.

    Its listing marks the increasing recognition of Modernist style buildings as historic places, joining the likes of the University of Otago Dental School on Great King Street, Wellington’s Freyberg Pool and Whanganui’s War Memorial Hall.
    The Plunket Society was founded in Dunedin in 1907 by Frederic Truby King, with its first hospital opening on the Every Street site in 1910. The hospital has special historical significance as the site of the first Plunket Society’s Karitane Home for Babies, and as the Plunket Society’s sole training hospital for Plunket and Karitane nurses until the 1960s.
    “By the end of the 1920s there were six Karitane hospitals in New Zealand – Auckland, Whanganui, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill. The hospitals provided advice and support for mothers and their babies,” says Heritage New Zealand’s Heather Bauchop.
    In 1938, the ageing original hospital was demolished and replaced with Arthur Salmond’s design for a new hospital in the Modernist style. The building’s elevated setting, white or light painted concrete construction, flat roof, expanse of windows, balconies and terraces epitomised early Modernist architecture and perfectly fitted Plunket’s philosophy.
    “The philosophy emphasised routine, hygiene, fresh air and diet,” Heather says. “It literally was a site fit for a Queen, with Queen Elizabeth II visiting the hospital in January 1954.
    The hospital closed in 1978 and has been used as a rest home and as backpacker accommodation. The current owners bought the property in 2013 and are converting it into apartments.

    Link [scroll down]

  8. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Sun, 12 Apr 2015
    New apartment life for former hospital
    By Dan Hutchinson – The Star
    The former Karitane Home for Babies – built in 1938 – is itself being reborn and has also been entered on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero as a Category 1 historic place. The former Truby King Harris Hospital in Every St has been undergoing a major interior transformation by its new owners Lucia and Kevin Rogers – who have their own plans to provide a nurturing place for people to live.
    Read more

  9. Elizabeth


    The ‘Contestable Fund for Rates Relief for Heritage Buildings’ policy offers relief as an
    incentive for restoration and upgrade, and recognises the investment in seismic, fire,
    and other upgrades on heritage buildings. The ‘Contestable Fund for Rates Relief for
    the Comprehensive Re-use of Heritage Buildings’ (rates freeze) policy offers relief for
    projects where the investment in re-use will result in significant increases to rates.
    Both policies were adopted by the Council in 2014. Where the first policy targets
    projects that do not generally increase the value of the building, the second policy seeks
    to provide an incentive for re-use projects where the significant increase in rates
    following revaluation presents an added financial burden and disincentive to restoration.

    Report – Council – 27/07/2015 (PDF, 1.8 MB)
    Heritage Rates Relief 2015/16 Report One

    Councillors will consider on Monday a staff recommendation to grant rates relief, worth about $34,000 over two years, to help support the following projects:

    ● comprehensive re-use of 218 Crawford Street, 130-year-old brick stable to become microbrewery
    ● earthquake strengthening and parapet restoration of 202 George Street (JayJays store)
    ● comprehensive re-use and façade restoration of Empire Hotel at 396 Princes St as tavern and live music venue
    ● comprehensive re-use of Dalgety and Co building (Carpet Court) at 123 Vogel Street for law firm and other tenants
    ● comprehensive reuse of former Otago Harbour Board building at 43 Jetty Street

    Staff also recommend the Council declines the application for heritage rates relief by Harada Investments Limited for earthquake strengthening and refurbishment of 21 The Octagon (Ra Bar).

    Microbrewery among city’s heritage projects
    Five projects spread across the central city – together worth close to $7 million in private investment – are poised to receive rates relief from the council next week.


    Copied from my comment at another thread: Vogel Street Heritage Precinct (TH13)

    Otago Daily Times Published on Jul 14, 2015
    Law firm moving to warehouse precinct
    Dunedin’s historic warehouse precinct has been given another boost with Gallaway Cook Allan confirming it will move into a vacant part of the Dalgety and Co building in Vogel St.

    ### ODT Online Wed, 15 Jul 2015
    Law firm moving to warehouse precinct
    By Damian George
    Dunedin’s historic warehouse precinct has been given another boost with Gallaway Cook Allan confirming it will move into a vacant part of the Dalgety and Co building in Vogel St. The 60-person law firm, with 50 Dunedin employees, is set to occupy the top floor of the warehouse from the end of next year.
    Read more + Images

    Dalgety & Co warehouse - A Trapeznik, Dunedin's Warehouse Precinct p72 ( & Co warehouse – A Trapeznik, Dunedin’s Warehouse Precinct, p72

    █ Read Dunedin’s Warehouse Precinct by Alexander Trapeznik at

  10. Anonymous

    So, from the pattern, it’s not the earthquake strengthening that attracts rates relief; it’s where the strengthening is occurring (Vogel St axis, not Octagon)

    • Elizabeth

      Vogel St friends of the staff officer ?

      Or building age/type/condition.

      The councillors could vote down the officer’s recommendation to decline 21 The Octagon, but they should visit the site first.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        Rates relief for the purposes above are something I approve of – not happy about the suggestion that there may be another of those “pet projects” (Vogel St) aspects around who gets it. Turning the Octagon back from a bar-tourist-cafe dullness by day and a no-go area by night would be well worth serious consideration. Dunno why there have been so many measures put in place (central govt and DCC) that kill off suburban bars/pubs and encourage cheek by jowl clustering in the CBD where people who have drunk more than their brains can handle wend their way from one to another, looking at one another the wrong way resulting in aggro.

  11. Elizabeth

    The owner of 21 The Octagon, the home of the Ra Bar, missed out.

    ### ODT Online Tue, 28 Jul 2015
    Five redevelopments get rates relief
    By Chris Morris
    The Dunedin City Council has signed off on rates relief worth more than $34,000 to support five heritage building redevelopment projects across the city. […] The vote meant the owners of 218 Crawford St, 202 George St, 396 Princes St, 123 Vogel St and 43 Jetty St would all receive the relief, which could be followed by a rates freeze of up to three years.
    Read more

  12. Elizabeth

    ### July 28, 2015 – 7:16pm
    DCC waives rates for historic properties currently being upgraded
    Just over $34,000 in rates is being waived by the city council.


    ### July 28, 2015 – 6:50pm
    Historic former post office renovation nearing completion
    Renovation of the historic former post office in North East Valley is nearing completion. The redevelopment of the century old building began earlier this year. And emphasis is being placed on preserving and celebrating its heritage aspects.

  13. Elizabeth

    SW3, Stormwater Pumping Station, 184 Union Street East
    [Images: Google Street View]

    SW3 Union Street Dunedin [Google Street View] 3

    Great article, with interior detail photos by Gerard O’Brien.

    ### ODT Online Sun, 2 Aug 2015
    Maintaining low profile, keeping a steady beat
    By David Loughrey
    […] SW3 is tucked away on a well-mowed plot of land near the Logan Park and Business Women’s Bowling Club, girt by a car park, beside the Otago Polytechnic. […] But inside is a living, breathing museum piece, a stormwater pumping station stubbornly doing its duty after 85 years protecting what is now the polytechnic precinct from inundation by water.
    Read more

    SW3 Union Street Dunedin [Google Street View] 2

  14. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Tue, 12 Jan 2016
    More restorations in works
    By Craig Borley
    ….Four more at-risk Dunedin heritage buildings are to be restored. They are: 135 Cumberland St, former Union Steam Ship Co store; 389 Princes St (unconditional offer), S. F. Aburn Ltd building; 100 Princes St, former Central Hotel building; and 43 Crawford St, John Colours building.
    Read more

    • Hype O'Thermia

      When you look at the people who are doing this, there is a high proportion of people who have already made successes of themselves and can now afford to risk investments that aren’t highest quickest return, but hugely enhance not only the city but their own reputations as people with discernment and good values. It’s like in the old days when successful men (mainly – women weren’t as often in careers, more often being the partners who enabled their husbands to become so successful) stood for council and government, giving back for small recompense. Society had made the conditions in which they had been able to use their talents to become wealthy, now it was time to give back their time and expertise.
      The idea of paying politicians incl councillors a salary that is higher than many ordinary workers get, was supposed to widen the catchment, allowing non-wealthy to stand for public office.
      Look at the quality vs the cost, today!
      Those old “self-made men” knew better than to hurtle into debt. They hadn’t got where they were by chasing bubbles.

  15. Elizabeth

    A huge face-lift for one of the warehouse precinct’s biggest buildings will include dozens of new windows, a giant arched entranceway on to Vogel St and a three-storey atrium. The 127-year-old building at 123 Vogel St in Dunedin is being transformed over the next few months into a mix of modern office space, retail, hospitality and car parking.

    One of the more unsympathetic programmed redevelopments in Dunedin.

  16. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Wed, 20 Jan 2016
    New spirit for old store
    By Vaughan Elder
    Another piece of Dunedin’s history has received a new lease on life with the old Wilsons Distillery grain store converted to apartments. Building manager Justin Gardner said the finishing touches were being applied to the about 100-year-old bluestone building in North Dunedin by builders Stevenson and Williams.
    Read more

  17. Elizabeth

    2015-10-21 15.43.59Photo: EJ Kerr October 21, 2015

    ODT: City heritage reimagined
    “If anything illustrates Dunedin’s growing revival it’s this” – reporter Craig Borley on the challenge to transform a crumbling 140-year-old Crawford Street stables into business owner Ian McKinlay’s long-term dream of a brewery.
    Read more

    Details (via ODT)
    • An 1870s cobbled floor has been retained and will be re-laid as an outdoor courtyard.
    • The stables’ original brickwork has been retained and restored.
    • Bluestone found on site has been used to fill a hole in the walls made by a garage door.

  18. Elizabeth

    So much for the dumbasses at Otago Girls’ High School. Don’t send your daughters to this school if you value the retention of Dunedin’s historic heritage for future generations. Jesus weeps.

    Luck. Someone obviously persuaded them to put it on the market.

    S A V E D

    Sat, 10 Sep 2016
    ODT: Lawyer steps in to rescue mansion from demolition
    Another piece of Dunedin’s heritage has been saved from demolition and is set to be restored to its former glory above Speight’s Brewery.
    The residence at 30 Tennyson St, built in 1887 for one of the three founders of Speight’s, Charles Frederick Greenslade, has been bought by lawyer Michael van Aart, who was recently involved in the refurbishment of the former BNZ building in Princes St.
    The building was to have been demolished by its former owner, Otago Girls’ High School.

    Otago Daily Times Published on Sep 9, 2016
    Dunedin heritage home to be restored

    • Hype O'Thermia

      What plonkers, the OGHS board! What blinkered unimaginative unobservant plonkers. Benisons upon whoever introduced to them the revolutionary idea that there was an alternative to demolition, and upon Mr van Aart who has the smarts to see opportunity for doing a good deed, from which I hope he prospers then proceeds to other challenges likewise valuable to Dunedin.

  19. Elizabeth

    Tue, 27 Sep 2016
    ODT: Rates relief helps save warehouse
    A more than $1.2 million project to revitalise a crumbling warehouse precinct building [135 Cumberland St] is among seven Dunedin heritage projects being supported with rates relief. […] The project is one of seven that will benefit from a total $53,339.13 worth of rates relief, approved by councillors at a meeting last week.

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