Ministry of Transport Building

71 Tennyson Street & Church Lane, Napier

  • Ministry of Transport Building, Napier.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Deirdre Byrne. Date: 12/05/2017.
  • Ministry of Transport Building. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Margarita Haruspex. Taken By: Margarita Haruspex. Date: 15/02/2009.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 4815 Date Entered 27th November 1986


City/District Council

Napier City


Hawke's Bay Region

Legal description

Lots 4 & 5 DP 6117

Location description

Included in the Napier City Centre Historic Area (Register no. 7022). Church Lane now Cathedral Lane, Napier.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Williams, Ernest Arthur (1875-1962)

Williams was an architect and engineer who was prominent in Hawkes Bay as a result of his contribution towards the reconstruction of Napier following the 1931 earthquake.

Born in London he immigrated to New Zealand with his family early in 1908, spending a few months in Christchurch before settling in Napier. Initially he joined the Napier firm of architects W P Finch and Company as an architectural draughtsman, employing the skills he had learned during his training in architecture and joinery in England.

He was a member of the engineering staff of the Napier Borough Council until 1912, holding the position of Clerk of Works. He held this position during the building of the Napier Municipal Baths.

Williams set up his own architectural practice in 1912. He was, however, co-opted as Napier Borough Engineer during World War 1, resuming independent architectural practice in 1921.

After the 1931 earthquake his practice expanded to include eight architectural draughtsmen to cope with the large number of commissions to replace buildings which had been destroyed. His completed works include the Criterion Hotel (192), the Central Hotel (1931), Harston's Building (1930 and 1932), the Daily Telegraph Building (1932), the Napier Harbour Board Offices, and hospital buildings on Bluff Hill.

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

Builder: Fox & Hillen

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1932 -
Art Deco (Maori motifs)

Other Information

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.