Story: Historic places

Safer historic buildings

Safer historic buildings

Following the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake building regulations were changed to improve the strength and safety of new buildings. To make old buildings safer, councils in earthquake-prone centres such as Wellington ordered the removal of towers and unsecured ornamentation. This process picked up following the 1942 Wairarapa earthquakes. These photographs show the Government Printing Office in Wellington before and after its 'be-heading'. Its towers and other rooftop decorations were all removed, significantly altering the building's appearance. The structure was demolished in the 1970s.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: 1/2-032822 (top); 1/2-003031/A2835 (bottom)

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Ben Schrader, 'Historic places - Re-inventing historic buildings, 1930s to 1970s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/42131/safer-historic-buildings (accessed 25 June 2021)

Story by Ben Schrader, published 22 Oct 2014, updated 19 Aug 2016