Old Wooden Government Building

Lambton Quay, Wellington.
Thorndon, Wellington
This very wooden building featuring extensive use of Kauri timber was once the home of government in New Zealand. It now houses the Victoria University Law School but is open for public viewing on a self-guided tour.

The most celebrated attempt in New Zealand to make timber construction look like stone, it was erected in 1876. William Henry Clayton, the Colonial Architect was responsible for the design. It is said to be the second largest wooden building in the world.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) Information Centre once housed here has moved to 2 Manners Street.

Out the front there is a statute of former Prime Minister, Peter Fraser, leaning into the Wellington wind.

Inside the building, apart from the historical displays and interpretation rooms on the ground floor, and the Cabinet room on the first floor visitors should look for the splendid suspended wooden staircase, (in the NW corner).

Audio Guides

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Note: Location is approximate.


  • Old Government Building
    Old Government Building
  • Peter Fraser Statue (leaning into the wind)
    Peter Fraser Statue (leaning into the wind)
  • Kauri Tree
    Kauri Tree
  • NW Entrance Portico
    NW Entrance Portico
  • Staircase
  • Staircase #2
    Staircase #2
  • Staircase#3
  • The main entrance foyer
    The main entrance foyer
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