Oriental Parade Band Rotunda (Former)

245 Oriental Parade, Oriental Bay, Wellington

  • Oriental Parade Band Rotunda (Former), Wellington.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Hannah O'Brien. Date: 20/05/2008.
  • Oriental Parade Band Rotunda (Former), Wellington. Looking down over Oriental Bay, Wellington. Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, must be obtained before any re-use of this image..
    Copyright: Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. Taken By: Sydney Charles Smith.
  • Oriental Parade Band Rotunda (Former), Wellington.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Hannah O'Brien. Date: 20/05/2008.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2894 Date Entered 25th November 1982 Date of Effect 25th November 1982

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 1 DP 83289 (RTs WN49A/141, 87727), and Pt Lot 1 DP 11079 (RT WN49A/142), Wellington Land District, and the building known as Oriental Parade Band Rotunda (Former) thereon, including the verandahs.

City/District Council

Wellington City

Region

Wellington Region

Legal description

Lot 1 DP 83289 (RTs WN49A/141, 87727), and Pt Lot 1 DP 11079 (RT WN49A/142), Wellington Land District

Summaryopen/close

Wellington’s Oriental Parade Band Rotunda (Former), at 245 Oriental Parade, was in fact designed primarily as a bathing pavilion and opened on 1 May 1937, on a site previously occupied by a band rotunda. Projecting out from the centre of Oriental Bay into the sea, it is a striking architectural feature and these aesthetic and architectural values have led to it appearing in many postcard views of Wellington. The addition of an upper level in 1985 made the structure even more prominent. The rotunda has historical significance for its strong connection to the early twentieth century development of Oriental Parade, and as a facility for sea and sun bathers, then a restaurant and arts centre, the structure has social value as a centre for public use and shared recreational experiences.

Construction began on a sea wall and promenade along Oriental Parade in 1916. The scheme included filling in a rocky outcrop of Oriental Bay to create a semi-circular platform for a wooden band rotunda that was relocated from Jervois Quay in 1919. In response to an increasing need for changing facilities on Oriental Parade, the Wellington City Council agreed to construct ‘dressing shed accommodation’ in 1935 and sketches by the City Engineer for a predominantly flat roofed structure on the existing band rotunda platform were published. The Council chose the site of the rotunda in the belief that it fell under the jurisdiction of the Wellington City Corporation, the Council’s public works body. This turned out to be incorrect and negotiations with the Wellington Harbour Board contributed to project delays. The wooden rotunda remained until October 1936 when it was once again transplanted, this time to Brooklyn’s Central Park, and construction began on the new pavilion. By the time Mayor T. C. A. Hislop (1888-1965) opened the pavilion in May the following year, it was acknowledged that it was ‘rather late in the bathing season’.

Constructed from reinforced concrete, the completed pavilion differed from the 1935 sketch but its Moderne design maintained a strong horizontal emphasis and followed the semi-circular form of the original platform. From the footpath, a central block with an arched entry and stepped parapet was bordered on either side by steps leading to the structure’s flat roof, which still allowed for open-air music performances. Inside were changing rooms for men, women and children which contained showers and toilets. Light was mainly provided by glazed windows above eye level that ran around the entire exterior wall and the covers of ceiling vents formed seating on the roof. From the dressing rooms both the beach and stairs to the roof could be accessed.

During the 1970s alternative uses were considered for the pavilion and a second level completed in 1985 created a restaurant with access from the street to the new rooftop. The lower level became a community meeting and exhibition space, with self-contained toilets constructed in 2003. By 2012 the pavilion had fallen into a state of disrepair and was closed to the public, but a major redevelopment proposal announced in 2019 may see the building used once more.

Linksopen/close

Construction Professionalsopen/close

WCC Engineers Dept.

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

W. Hodges

Builder of the Kelburn Viaduct, 1930-31 and the Oriental Parade Band Rotunda (Former), 1936-37

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1936 - 1937
Official opening 1 May

Other
1916 - 1917
Oriental Parade sea wall and semi-circular platform created

Modification
1984 - 1985
Upper level added for restaurant, lower level converted to kitchen, storeroom, staff facilities, new toilets and space for Wellington City Council use

Modification
- 1996
Alterations to balcony

Modification
- 2003
Construction of self-contained public toilets

Modification
- 2006
Fire egress reinstated on western side of the building, structure attached to the existing ramp from footpath to the beach

Completion Date

11th June 2019

Report Written By

Cherie Jacobson

Information Sources

Evening Post

Evening Post

‘New Pavilion at Oriental Bay’, Evening Post, 1 May 1937, p.10.

Wellington City Council

Wellington City Council

‘Life’s a beach in Oriental Bay’, Wellington City Council, https://wellington.govt.nz/about-wellington/history/throwbackthursday/oriental-parade, accessed 31 May 2019.

Wellington City Council

Wellington City Heritage website, published and maintained by WCC

‘Band Rotunda’, Wellington City Heritage, Wellington City Council, http://wellingtoncityheritage.org.nz/buildings/151-300/235-oriental-bay-band-rotunda, accessed 31 May 2019.

The Wellingtonian

The Wellingtonian

Olsen, Rob. ‘Rotunda’s Changing Face’, The Wellingtonian, 4 Nov 2004, p.9.

Zealand Home & Building

Zealand Home & Building

Turner, Robyn. ‘The Band Rotunda’, New Zealand Home & Building, October-November 1985, pp.120-125, New Zealand Electronic Text Collection, http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-NZIA1985_10HaB-t1-body-d61.html, accessed 31 May 2019 [article contains some factual errors but includes a number of photographs of the renovations completed in 1985].

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.

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Central Region Office of Heritage New Zealand.