Cuba Street Historic Area

Cuba Street, Wellington

  • Cuba Street Historic Area.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Helen McCracken.
  • Cuba Street Historic Area.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Anika Klee. Date: 14/05/2009.
  • Cuba Street Historic Area. Plan of Historic Area from registration report.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Date: 3/03/1995.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Area Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7209 Date Entered 3rd March 1995

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

Buildings on both sides of Cuba Street between Wakefield Street and Webb Street including:

Columbia Hotel (register #3636)

MED Building (register #5831 - CR)

Manchester Unity (54-56 Cuba St)

TG McCarthy (register #5380)

Bank of New Zealand (register #1338)

Woolworths (88-92 Cuba St)

Farmers (register # 3632)

Barker and Pollock (104 Cuba Street)

Bellamy's Bookshop (and others) (106 Cuba St)

Cubacade (108-114 Cuba St)

1917 Building (116 Cuba St)

Cuba Mall Butchery (118 Cuba St)

Troopers (126 Cuba St)

Little People's Shop (128 Cuba St)

Krazy Rick's Building (register # 5361)

Commercial Building (regiser # 5368)

The Vic (register # 5356)

Commercial Building (158 Cuba St)

Maguire's Building (register # 5365)

Commercial Building (register # 5366)

National Bank (register # 3634)

Commercial Building (196 Cuba St)

Commercial Building (register # 5357)

Commercial Buildings (230 Cuba St)

Commercial Building (232 Cuba St)

Commercial Building (270 Cuba St)

Commercial Building (register # 5351)

Commercial Building (register # 5350)

Commercial Building (280 Cuba St)

Commercial Building/Cottage (register # 5349)

Lampard Flats (284-286 Cuba St)

Commercial Building (register # 5348)

Commercial Building (register # 5427)

Commercial Building (register # 5355)

Commercial Building (register # 5354)

Commercial Building (293 Cuba St)

Commercial Building (register # 5353)

Commercial Building (287 Cuba St)

Commercial Building (251 Cuba St)

Commercial Building (247 Cuba St)

Wilkinson Ltd (241-243 Cuba St)

Commercial Buildings (231, 235, 239 Cuba St)

Commercial Building (227 Cuba St)

Commercial Building (CR register #5358)

Railton Hotel (register # 3626)

People's Palace (register # 5359)

Mammy Flo's (register # 1412)

Morgan's Building (register # 5360)

Commercial Building (register # 5362)

Commercial Building (187 Cuba St)

Commercial Building (register # 5341)

Commercial Building (PX register # 5342)

Silvio's Building (register # 5343)

ANZ Bank (165 Cuba St)

Commercial Building (register # 3628)

Commercial Building (register # 5345)

Berry Building (register # 5363)

Commercial Building (register # 5346)

Hotel Bristol (register # 3629)

Barber's Building (register # 3630)

Narnia (119-121 Cuba St)

Wellington Working Men's Club (register # 3631)

James Smiths (register # 5379)

Arco Building (45-47 Cuba St)

Last Footwear Company (register # 5378)

Kennedy Building (register # 5377)

Civic Chambers (corner Cuba and Wakefield Sts)

City/District Council

Wellington City

Region

Wellington Region

Summaryopen/close

This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. This report includes text from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Cuba St is a commercial retail area which had its heyday during the 1900's-1940's. This was encouraged by the electric tram service which had its route to the Northern suburbs down Cuba St almost from the time of electrification (1904). Since the forties, the popularity of Cuba St has declined which has saved it from more modern development and so many of the early buildings still exist.

The Edwardian character of the street is especially strong at the top end, with many buildings retaining their original use. Most buildings still have small specialist retailers in the street level shops and residential space above. The social pattern is clearly visible in the architecture. The confidence of the Edwardian era is reflected in the use of glazed tiles on the shop frontages which was not usual for this type of commercial architecture. This upper section of Cuba St has a strong link with the Tonks family who were important settlers with the head of the family, William, being responsible for the town's first major harbour reclamation between Panama and Waring-Taylor Streets.

At the opposite end of Cuba St , including the mall (pedestrian only) and the block nearest Wakefield St, the buildings are highly compatible in scale and function, There are a number of buildings from the post WW1 period with individual qualities that have not merited individual registration but which make a significant contribution to the streetscape and character of the area as a whole. Some of these have notable features representative of the new styles and ideas in architecture which were taking hold at the time,

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. This report includes text from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Historical:

The retail/residential area grew rapidly around the turn of the century with the introduction of electric trams. This improvement to the transportation system had a major impact on the area's early development.

Upper Cuba St's strong links with the Tanks family also make it historically significant.

This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. This report includes text from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Architectural:

Cuba St has the most complete collection of Victorian and Edwardian commercial architecture in Wellington. The buildings range in age from the 1890's to the 1930's and feature architectural influences from Classical through to Art Deco.

Aesthetic:

Cuba St has considerable aesthetic and streetscape appeal with low rise buildings ranging from the late Victorian and Edwardian periods through to the Art Deco style of the 1930's. Many of the buildings (upper end) have glazed and geometric tiles in the entrances to the shops. Tiles were usually reserved for more grand buildings, public buildings or expensive residences. It is unusual to find them in a retail area. This reflects the confidence of the Edwardian era.

Cuba St is the best surviving example of Victorian/Edwardian streetscape in the central city.. As well as being historically significant, reflecting the commercial nature of Wellington around the turn of the century, it has great aesthetic appeal. The buildings are significant because of their associations with one another in terms of their scale, architecture and visual appeal as a group.

This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. This report includes text from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Cultural/Social:

Cuba St was a prosperous retail area during the early decades of this century and thus has an interesting social history adapting to the changing demands of customers. There were many shops that sold and still sell specialist goods and services, The street also has a high level of original residential space compared to other inner city areas.

Linksopen/close

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Demolished - Redevelopment
2005 -
Commercial building at 221-225 Cuba Street (Register 5358) demolished.

Information Sources

Evening Post

Evening Post

June 25, 1988 pg. 13

Wayne Nelson, 'Unique history in upper Cuba St'

McKenzie, 1984 (2)

James McKenzie, Cuba Mall Precinct, Wellington, New Zealand Historic Places Trust, 1984.

Other Information

A copy of the original report is available from the NZHPT Central region office

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.

Historic Area Place Name

1917 Building
Aida Konditorei
Alexandra Buildings
ANZ Bank
Arco House
Bank of New Zealand (Te Aro Branch Building)
Barber’s Buildings
Barker & Pollock
Bellamy's Bookshop (and others)
Berry & Co. Photographers
Bristol Hotel
Civic Chambers
Columbia Hotel
Commercial /Retail Building
Commercial Building
Commercial Building (Artech Studios)
Commercial Building (Former Cottage)
Commercial Building (Sala Thai Restaurant)
Commercial Building [relocated]
Commercial Buildings
Commercial/Retail Building
Commercial/Retail Building (AGC House)
Commercial/Retail Building [relocated]
Commercial/Retail Building [Relocated]
Cuba Mall Butchery
Cubacade
Farmers Building
James Smiths
Kennedy Buildings
Krazy Ricks
Lampard Flats
Last Footwear Company
Little People's Shop
Maguires Building
Manchester Unity Building
MED Building
Morgan's Building
Narnia
National Bank Building, Te Aro, Branch Building
Norml Tattoo Studio [relocated]
Orsini's Restaurant
People's Palace
Railton Hotel
Selera Restaurant Building
Silvio's
T.G. Macarthy Trust Building
The VIC (Lotus Restaurant Building)
Troopers
Turning Point
Wellington Workingmens Club Building
Woolworths