Government House, Wellington

4.7
#5 of 19 in Historic Sites in Wellington
Government Building Historic Site
Government House, Wellington is the official residence of the Governor-General of New Zealand, the representative of the New Zealand head of state Queen Elizabeth II. Its current residents are Jerry Mateparae, who has been Governor General since March 2011, and his spouse. The present building was completed in 1910 and it is the third Government House in Wellington.HistoryAs Auckland was the capital from 1840 until 1865, the provision of an official residence for the governor was initially not a priority. It was only during the period of the fourth governor, George Grey, that an official property was provided. The first Wellington Government House was Colonel William Wakefield's villa, located where the Beehive now stands. Wakefield was the Agent for the New Zealand Company and had built the house in 1840 but had died in 1848. The residence was then used as a hospital for a short period in 1848 after a severe earthquake. Wakefield's house was a very plain Regency styled building with verandahs, (Auckland Libraries, 4-1028) it stood on a hill overlooking the harbour. There is a record of the first Government House Ball being held in it, on 10 February 1849 during George Grey's first period as Governor.Grey was succeeded by Robert Wynyard, then Thomas Gore Browne (and then Wynyard again). It is possible that neither of these men visited or at least resided in Wellington during their terms and thus the official status of the Wakefield Villa is uncertain. Grey became Governor for a second time in 1861 and he certainly used Wakefield House as his Official Wellington Residence. In 1865 the capital was transferred from Auckland to Wellington. The need to provide accommodation for the various branches of Government resulted in a flurry of construction and prompted the replacement of the rather plain Government House with a more appropriate building. In 1868 this was embarked upon. As the new Parliament Buildings were directly adjacent it was unsurprising that it was mooted that the new Government House should be in a similar gothic style. As it happened an Italianate style was chosen, probably because it was the cheaper option.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
49 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • The mansion, as seen from the road, is large and imposing in a 19th century way. I felt transported back to the Victorian era, the 1840's, when it was built. It's now the official residence of the Gov...  more »
  • We were on the morning tour of 15 July. Tour guide Heather was superb, in fact I cannot recall ever having a better tour guide anywhere in the world, at any time (friendly, enthusiastic, informative, ...  more »
  • Visited on a Saturday morning on the 10am tour. Shown round by our helpful and informative guide Owen, it was great to hear the stories and tales from the house and of the different Governer Generals....  more »
Google
  • Nice to be able to visit Government House for Waitangi celebrations.
  • The two hour tour of the House is free and very informative. Highly recommended.
  • As a member of the public you can book a 2 hr tour of The Governor General's House for free. It's a brilliant service and the history of the Governor Generals in New Zealand was genuinely interesting, even for an Aussie and a Dane. We would highly recommend it :)
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Where to stay in Wellington

As an established, modern capital city, Wellington offers accommodations of numerous shapes and sizes. Get a harbor view at a luxury hotel by the waterfront, or enjoy simple rental rooms at one of the many backpacker hostels. Cheaper accommodation lies outside the downtown area, with motels, campsites, and RV parks providing options for those on smaller budgets, and travelers wanting to get out of town and into the rolling, green hills. Wellington benefits from a wide range of transport and a very efficient infrastructure, so you'll have access to attractions no matter where you stay.
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