Exciting future for Hokitika Government Building


Early mitigation and design work is underway on the upgrade, conservation and seismic strengthening of the landmark Hokitika Government Building, the historic administrative hub for the West Coast since the 1860s.

Members of the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga project team were in Hokitika this month to visit the site and meet with some of the key stakeholders. Planning is well underway on the project, and initial safety works will be visible onsite soon ahead of a substantial upgrade and strengthening project that will provide the gateway West Coast town with renewed and modernised office spaces.

Government Architect John Campbell (1857-1942) designed this most impressive antipodean example of the Edwardian Baroque style, which maintains its position as one of the largest buildings in Hokitika. Constructed in two phases between 1908 and 1914, the Hokitika Government Building was originally designed as a keystone project in response to the demand for more office space for the rapidly expanding public service of the time. 

Sitting prominently along Sewell Street – the historic administrative hub for Westland since the 1860s – this building has a rich legacy of housing a myriad of government agencies; forging a deep legacy of community connection and rich memories for locals.

With the Government Building already listed as a Category 1 Historic Place, the importance of Hokitika as a treasured heritage place for Aotearoa New Zealand was further recognised by its addition to Tohu Whenua in February 2020; a joint partnership between Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage and the Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai. 

“Hokitika is rich in history and, as the gateway to the West Coast, the renewal of the Hokitika Government Building will enhance the visitor experience in this beautiful town” says Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Programme Coordinator Racheal Western.

“With iwi and many of the project stakeholders meeting in person for the first time, this initial site visit is a great way to form and establish relationships, and launch this exciting project with the best possible start.” 

Due to be completed in 2025, the multi-million dollar project has been approved and funded through the Government’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund allocated by Infrastructure Reference Group Ministers in 2020. With the on-site phase of the project starting soon, locals will begin to see early mitigation works taking place, including safety fencing and temporary strengthening installed to provide safety for workers onsite. 


Racheal Western

Programme Coordinator – Hokitika Government Building Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga

Email: rwestern@heritage.org.nz