Along with the harbour, Te Papa and the hills, Parliament Buildings are one of Wellington's best-known landmarks. Standing at the north-west corner of the central business district, the parliamentary complex dominates this part of New Zealand's capital city.
The Parliamentary Library is a working library that provides research services for members of Parliament and parliamentary staff. The building was designed by Thomas Turnbull in the Victorian Gothic style and built between 1883 and 1899.
Parliament House was built in stone in the Edwardian neoclassical style, which was popular for grand public buildings at the time of its construction, WWI. Due to exorbitant costs and materiel shortages during construction, Parliament House was scaled down from its original grandeur. It houses the debating chamber of the New Zealand House of Representatives.
The Beehive is the most recognisable building in the parliamentary complex. It is here that many government ministers have their offices, as well as the prime minister and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. There are a host of meeting spaces, MPs' and other dining rooms, bars and lounges, and television and radio interview rooms. On the two lower floors are large reception areas.
By the 1960s the question of whether to knock down the old Parliament Buildings, finish them or remodel was the million dollar question. The issue was so contentious that an outsider, British architect Sir Basil Spence, was brought in. Keep the existing buildings and leave them alone, Spence said – finishing such an old design went against modern-day architectural thinking. Then he quickly sketched out his startling Beehive for housing the executive and Bellamy's. The name came from a box of Beehive brand matches he had been given, and despite official misgivings, it stuck. Bryant and May, the makers of the matches, later made special Beehive matchboxes for sale to MPs.
Free, daily, one-hour guided tours of Parliament begin on the hour at the Visitor Centre in the foyer of the Beehive (Executive Wing). Take a tour with one of our trained guides to visit key parts of Parliament’s buildings and learn about our parliamentary processes.
Public tours start on the hour and take one hour to complete. Individuals do not need to book. We recommend that you arrive early to ensure your preferred tour time. Tour group sizes are limited. Groups of 10 or more are required to book their tour in advance.
Please arrive at least 15 minutes before the tour departs so that you have time to check in your belongings. Everyone must leave their bags, coats, phones, cameras and other electronic devices in secure storage at the Visitor Centre before each tour begins.
- all photos courtesy of www.flickr.com/photos/111emergency/