Wellington Harbour Board Shed 13

Customhouse Quay, Wellington

  • Wellington Harbour Board Shed 13.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Kayla Wilson. Date: 15/07/2011.
  • Wellington Harbour Board Shed 13.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Kayla Wilson. Date: 15/07/2011.
  • View over Shed 13 Customhouse Qy looking towards Lyttelton ferry berth, Wgtn, taken ca 1930s by Sydney Charles Smith. 1/2-045632-G. Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, must be obtained before any re-use of this image..
    Copyright: Alexander Turnbull Library.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 236 Date Entered 18th March 1982


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 201 DP 67374 (CT WN36D/595), Wellington Land District, and the building known as Wellington Harbour Board Shed 13 thereon, and its fittings and fixtures.

City/District Council

Wellington City


Wellington Region

Legal description

Lot 201 DP 67374 (CT WN36D/595), Wellington Land District


Built in 1905 as a storehouse for the Wellington Harbour Board, the simple, elegant ‘Shed 13’ has played an integral part in Wellington’s trading and commercial history and remains an important part of the city’s waterfront.

In 1880 the Harbour Board was established to ensure that profits made from shipping were channelled back into shipping through the development of Wellington's harbour facilities. Shipping was then the primary means of transporting goods to, from, and around the country, and trade depended on safe harbours that were well equipped for the loading, unloading and storage of freight. When the new Board acquired control of Queen's Wharf in 1882, it began erecting wharves and warehouses on reclaimed land that would accommodate the needs of the steamships docking at the harbour.

In 1904, following the successful reclamation of the land along Queens Wharf to Railway Wharf, the Wellington Harbour Board decided to build new storehouses. In the process of consolidating the land between the wharves, an extra 500 feet of berthing accommodation had been added. The new stores would accommodate the increase in goods coming into Wellington, replace the old facilities, and serve as a customs examination point for international goods.

Plans for the stores were drawn by Harbour Board staff. On the 23 of June 1904, the Board accepted the tender put in by Hunt and McDonald for £8,519 to construct the stores. To create sturdy foundations for the sheds, the contractors were to drive ‘piers of piles connected together by beams of concrete, reinforced with steel’ deep into the reclaimed land. The sheds were to feature patented skylights along the length of the buildings, and were to be clad in roughcast and stucco under the parapets, with the Harbour Board crest to be placed above the doors. The doors would be painted blue, the gutters, downpipes, frames and glazing bars were to be white, and the lamps were to be pillar-box red. The cement used for the sheds was also rendered with an ochre colour while the windows and doors were darker; the red was a common colour of the time for the harbour board buildings.

Built as a matching pair stretching parallel to the waterfront, the sheds are both 51.9 metres long by 10.3 metres wide, and have 10 large doors. The interiors were originally designed as one large storage space although there were timber partitions built to create smaller storage spaces and offices. Shed 13 housed a scavenger’s room. The exteriors were built using brick and plaster with tiling on the roof, in a Dutch colonial style, which can especially be seen in the detailing above the doors. The interiors used both indigenous and imported timbers including matai, rimu, Baltic pine and Oregon.

Upon completion in 1905, the new sheds were called V and W, but were renamed with numbers 11 and 13 in 1922. Between 1936 and 1938, restoration work was carried out. The tiles were replaced, the walls were cleaned and re-pointed, and the plasterwork coloured with a cream wash.

In the 1970s, as container shipping increased and coastal trading decreased, use of Shed 13 also declined. Since this time, a number of plans have been put forth, to re-use Shed 13. Early in the 2000s, ideas such as adapting the building to be a hotel for school-children visiting Wellington were popular due to the retention of the historic façade of the shed, but this idea was not taken up. It was also proposed that Shed 13 could become another gallery space on taking over the duties of Shed 11; however as Shed 11 became a permanent gallery space, this plan was also abandoned.

In the following years, Wellington City Council received a number of applications to lease and use the now earthquake strengthened building, but it was not until the Mojo Coffee Cartel applied for consent to use Shed 13 as the headquarters of the company, including their roastery and a coffee bean storehouse that an application was approved. The coffee cartel refurbished the building, restoring the exterior and upgrading the interior with additions needed for the roastery and storage of tonnes of coffee beans as well as packing, office and retail space. Shed 13 as the Mojo Coffee Cartel factory has become a visitor attraction, with daily tours taking place showing the coffee roasting process as well as highlighting the heritage values of the original interior pulley systems and the original exterior of the building. Now partially returned to its original use, Shed 13 creates a distinctive atmosphere for visitors to Wellington’s waterfront.


Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1904 -

1936 - 1938
Maintenance and removal of tiles, addition of corrugated fibrolite sheeting

Completion Date

8th October 2011

Report Written By

Kayla Wilson

Information Sources



Wednesday 3 October 2001, 16

Dominion Post

Dominion Post, Wellington

Tuesday 9 July 2002, A7

Monday 9 December 2002, A6

Wednesday 22 July 2009, 5

Evening Post

Evening Post

Friday 10 August 2001, 3

Wellington City Council

Wellington City Council

Heritage Building Inventory, ‘Waterloo Quay, Shed 13’, 2001.

Other Information

NZIA Local Architecture Award Winners 2007, Category: Heritage/Conservation

A fully referenced Upgrade Report is available from the Central Region office of NZHPT

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.