Story: Household management

Early building permit

Until the mid-20th century repairs, maintenance and renovation required nothing more than a willingness to do the work or the ability to pay someone else to do it. There was little or no control by local councils of homeowners’ repairs and renovation. Adoption of the model by-laws developed after the 1931 Napier earthquake was patchy, and enforcement of them equally so. Getting a permit was not an exacting process.

For those willing to build their own home from scratch, a well-drawn floor plan, like the 1892 example shown here of 32 Ohiro Road, Brooklyn, Wellington, was sometimes provided by the applicant. For renovations, alterations or additions, a pencil drawing by the owner showing approximately what was planned was sometimes sufficient. As many of those who altered their homes did not bother getting council approval, here was a huge amount of unpermitted building work done on New Zealand houses.

Using this item

Wellington City Archives
Reference: 00053:8:220

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How to cite this page:

Megan Cook, 'Household management - The wider world', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 24 January 2022)

Story by Megan Cook, published 5 Sep 2013