HM Custom Wharf Office (Former)

18 Wharf Street And Fryatt Street, Dunedin

  • HM Custom Wharf Office (Former), Dunedin. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Benchill - Wikimedia Commons. Taken By: Benchill. Date: 24/09/2009.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 4757 Date Entered 25th September 1986 Date of Effect 25th September 1986


City/District Council

Dunedin City


Otago Region

Legal description

Pt Lot 1 DP 22587 (new legal description pending: Lot 1 DP 365863 (RT OT184/224), Otago Land District


This building was built as the Wharf Office of the Customs Department in 1938 at a cost of £4,000. It was designed by Dunedin architects Owen MacFie and Cyril Gardner Dunning, and built by Love Construction. The building abutted the existing wharf sheds that ran along Cross Wharf, and was designed to fit the dimensions of those existing sheds. Plans show the main entrance of the Wharf Office from Cross Wharf, opening into a central public space flanked by small partitioned offices. There were offices for the Assistant Sub-Collector and the Boarding Inspector, as well as rooms for testing and measuring, squaring up, and a separate room for bicycles. The Wharf Office provided facilities for examining officers to complete their work, checking passenger baggage, goods and the like.

In 1971 the Customs Department centralised their operations, consolidating their premises in their city offices. The Otago Harbour Board took over the offices, using them for Board meetings, with much of the interior altered at this time to suit the new function.

When the Otago Harbour Board completed their new glass offices at the other end of Cross Wharf in 1982, the building was no longer required for board meetings. There was discussion about its future, including suggestion that it would be a good site for a restaurant.

In the early 1980s the building was used as offices for engineers Cossens and Black Ltd. After that it was used as offices for Monarch Cruises.

In 2006 the building was converted to a restaurant by its owners the Otago Regional Council and the premises leased. An addition was made to the south elevation.


Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1938 -

Completion Date

2nd November 2007

Report Written By

Heather Bauchop

Other Information

NZIA National Award Winner 1983

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. The Brief Description is the summary report included in the following report: Heather Bauchop, Dunedin Harbourside Historic Area Components (Vol II), 9 November 2007, pp. 77-78.

A fully referenced registration report for the Dunedin Harbourside Historic Area is available from the NZHPT Otago/Southland Area 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.