Newtown Community Centre

1, 7 Colombo Street and Rintoul Street, Newtown, WELLINGTON

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The Newtown Community Centre, situated at the corner of Rintoul and Colombo Streets in Newtown, Wellington, was originally built in 1913 for the Church of Christ, to a design by nationally significant architect William Gray Young. It has architectural, social and cultural significance first as a purpose-built church, and later as a community centre. Māori connection to Te Whanganui-a-Tara reaches back to the oral traditions of the Polynesian navigator, Kupe. There were numerous pā and kainga around the Wellington region and Te Aro Pā was one of the largest Māori settlements in the region when European colonisation began in 1840. William Mein Smith laid out what became Newtown as town acres in the New Zealand Company’s original plan. The suburb’s development burgeoned in the 1870s and this building sits on land subdivided in 1890s. The Church of Christ was brought to New Zealand by Thomas Jackson, a Scottish migrant who began preaching in Nelson in March 1844. The Church was first formed in Europe during the Protestant Restoration Movement in 19th century, looking to the New Testament for spiritual guidance and striving to unify Christian denominations into a single church. The movement was established in Wellington in 1869 and in the early 1900s the Church of Christ purchased the site for their church. P. Watt undertook the build and it was completed in February 1915 at a cost £4,000. The congregation hosted meetings to promote cooperation between different Wellington denominations. It was also a dance venue. This is a representative example of an early 20th century ‘Non-Conformist’ church designed in Italianate style. It was one of the earliest designs of the versatile and nationally significant architect William Gray Young. The church was constructed in timber, with concrete foundations, a gabled roof and a tall, two-storey square tower. It was damaged by fire twice - first in 1942 and again in 1970 by vandals with fire crackers. The building was purchased by the Wellington City Council in 1975. Renovations were undertaken, and it reopened in 1977 as a community centre. In the 1990s the building was re-piled, re-floored and the walls were re-lined. The Community Centre is still well-used, hosting school holiday programmes and ‘a variety of concerts, gigs, theatrical performances, exercise and language classes, and cultural activities for our diverse Newtown community…and [is] home to a number of community services, including the Wellington Time Bank, the Newtown Citizens’ Advice Bureau and the Newtown Tool Library’.

Newtown Community Centre, Wellington. Image courtesy of | Tom Law | 03/01/2006 | Tom Law
Newtown Community Centre, Wellington | Miranda Williamson | 01/02/2021 | Heritage New Zealand
Newtown Community Centre, Wellington | Miranda Williamson | 01/02/2021 | Heritage New Zealand
Newtown Community Centre, Wellington. Church of Christ, Rintoul street, Newtown, Wellington, 1920s Peter G Healy photographs Ref: 1/2-075314-F | Unknown | Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington



List Entry Information


Detailed List Entry



List Entry Status

Historic Place Category 2


Private/No Public Access

List Number


Date Entered

6th June 1984

Date of Effect

6th June 1984

City/District Council

Wellington City


Wellington Region

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Pt Lots 1-2 DP 1312 (NZ Gazette 1978, p.2110), Wellington Land District and the building known as Newtown Community Centre thereon.

Legal description

Pt Lots 1-2 DP 1312 (NZ Gazette 1978, p.2110), Wellington Land District

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