Chief Post Office

12 Queen Street, Tyler Street and Galway Street, AUCKLAND

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The Auckland Chief Post Office (CPO) is an imposing public building at the foot of Queen Street, the main commercial thoroughfare in the city. Built in 1909-1912, it indicates the importance of the postal service as a state-run network for public welfare and communication. The building was constructed at the hub of the city's transport system, next to the ferry building, tram terminus and original railway building, as well as the commercial wharves. It was heralded as a milestone in the progress of the city, and opened by the Prime Minister, William Massey (1856-1925), in front of a crowd of 8,000-10,000 people in 1912. The building was constructed at the same time, and to similar specifications, as the Wellington Post Office, which has since been destroyed. It was designed in an Imperial Baroque style, which was used for many public buildings of the time, including the Auckland Town Hall. White Oamaru stone and Coromandel granite emphasised the grandeur of its main facades, while a large light well and imported fittings did the same for its interior. The Post Office provided a variety of services, such as postage, banking and the payment of pensions on its ground floor, while its first floor contained offices, including those of the district engineer and traffic manager. The building also housed an electoral office for MPs to conduct constituency business, which was used by the Prime Minister, Robert Muldoon, in the 1970s. The Post Office occupied the building until the early 1990s, making a number of modifications to the structure. An Art Deco rear extension, built in the 1930s, was demolished by the City Council in 2001 in preparation for the building's conversion to a transport terminal. The Chief Post Office is nationally significant as one of the largest post offices in the country when built. It handled the biggest volume of mail in the region at a time when the postal service was an important symbol of beneficial state involvement in everyday life. The Chief Post Office was a flagship for such services, and maintains an impressive appearance with its Baroque style and lavish interiors. Its prominence encouraged the surrounding area to become a focus of major social events, such as the welcoming of returning troops and of royalty. The building is a visible and tangible part of the city's history as a centre for regional communication and has considerable landmark qualities at the lower end of Queen Street. It is an Auckland icon, located in the very centre of the city and continues to enjoy high public esteem. It has additional landmark and historical value for its proximity to other historic buildings nearby, being located at the junction of three registered historic areas - Harbour Historic Area, Quay Street Historic Area and Customs Street Historic Area.

Chief Post Office, Auckland (aka Britomart Transport Centre). Image courtesy of | Ingolfson - Wikimedia Commons | 04/02/2007 | No Known Copyright Restrictions
Chief Post Office, Auckland. CC Licence 2.0 Image courtesy of | russellstreet | 10/10/2008 | russellstreet
Chief Post Office, Auckland. Stained glass ceiling dome. CC Licence 2.0 Image courtesy of | Rose Holley | 22/02/2004 | Rose Holley
Chief Post Office, Auckland (aka Britomart Transport Centre). Image included in NZHPT Field Record Form Collection | Greg Bowron | 30/10/1989 | Auckland City Council



List Entry Information


Detailed List Entry



List Entry Status

Historic Place Category 1


Able to Visit

List Number


Date Entered

7th July 1986

Date of Effect

7th July 1986

City/District Council

Auckland Council


Auckland Council

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Lot 100 DP 323395 (RT 93982), North Auckland Land District, and the building known as Chief Post Office thereon, and its fittings and fixtures.

Legal description

Lot 100 DP 323395 (RT 93982), North Auckland Land District

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