Capital Precincts: Parliament and Memorial Park

Wellington’s capital city status sets us apart from other cities in New Zealand. It is a major source of jobs, a point of attraction for visitors, and an important part of our identity.

Splash Image

Yet this status is not celebrated in the city’s urban design. Though Parliament is surrounded by the other key institutions of state, such as the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, the National Library and National Archives, the Reserve Bank and public service headquarters, these institutions are separated from each other, both physically (by roads) and visually.

Instead, Parliament stands atop a hill, protected by trees, aloof from not only the surrounding public sector institutions but also from neighbouring areas of the city, including the waterfront and the Golden Mile.

Much more could be done to give the Parliamentary precinct a clear identity that celebrates New Zealand’s unique Parliamentary history – as the first country in the world to extend suffrage to women, and one of the world’s most durable democracies – and to unify the Parliamentary precinct and open it up to the waterfront and other neighbouring areas.

This project reflects work that has been done to date on the Capital City Initiative between the City Council and Government. The initiative includes the wider aims of constructing a national Memorial Park adjacent to the Carillion and a processional route between Parliament Grounds and the new park. This would see the greening of Taranaki St.

While Memorial Park and works along Taranaki St are planned, the Parliamentary precinct is a long term project idea. The illustrations below show how landscaping could be used to achieve design goals, with green space linking Parliament to Lambton Quay, and neighbouring public buildings.