DOC's work at the Government Buildings
Stripping paint from the Government
Buildings during the restoration project
Repainting the coat of arms during the
Over the years, the building deteriorated into a very sad state - its beautiful interior timbers covered over, its staircase propped up on poles and enclosed, its exterior paintwork peeling and the grounds neglected.
The Department of Conservation managed a major restoration project, spanning 2 years over 1994-95.
At its peak, over 200 carpenters were employed on this job. Many heritage trade specialists were utilised including some brought over specially from Italy. Given the fragile nature of the wooden building, care was taken to ensure that no "hot work" such as welding was undertaken on site, so that fires would be avoided.
Wherever possible, the building was restored to its 1876 appearance (including the 1907 extension). Restoration features included:
- Over 900 m³ of recycled kauri was used to supplement the remaining original timber
- Verandahs which had been glazed over were restored to their original appearance
- Previously enclosed staircases were opened up, strengthened and fully restored
- Extensive interior ornate wooden panelling was restored
- Replicas of the original chimneys were
- Carpets were laid that replicated the
original tread nail pattern on the stairs
Many individual artefacts were carefully preserved or restored, including:
- vintage water radiators
- a 1921 "bird cage" lift
- the original 1876 exterior clock
- the coat of arms
- a water-powered hydraulic lift
Where it was not possible to restore or exactly replicate original features, new materials were designed to the style of 1876.
The surrounding gardens now contain examples of New Zealand flora including many rare species.