Hokitika Landmark earmarked for $22m restoration

Seddon House in Hokitika, once a hub for government on the West Coast, has been earmarked for government use once again.

“Today we’re announcing a $22 million investment from the Government’s $3 billion infrastructure fund for shovel ready projects for the purchase and restoration of Seddon House in the heart of Hokitika” said Minister for Rural Communities and West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O’Connor.

“This investment into Hokitika demonstrates the Government’s commitment to the West Coast. The restoration of this building will preserve a prominent heritage feature which is loved and admired by locals and visitors.

“Restoration of this building has been talked about for years, this commitment means it will now happen,” said Damien O’Connor.

Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga will own and manage the Edwardian Baroque style building, also known as the Government Buildings and Courthouse, which was built between 1907 and 1914.

Seddon House, a brick, timber and corrugated iron construction, is a Category 1 historic place on the New Zealand Heritage List Rārangi Kōrero. It will undergo seismic strengthening and be refitted for use as offices for the Department of Conservation (DOC), which will lease the building.

“I am proud to be part of a government restoring this Hokitika treasure, designed by the same architect as Parliament House, John Campbell, for use by DOC in the centre of town. This is true regional development,” said Associate Minister of Finance David Parker.

“Historic buildings are preserved when they have a use and a purpose. I look forward to the building once again being a hub for government on the West Coast, with a significant government purpose – the stewardship of conservation lands and treasured species operating from this site. I’m pleased that the 85 Department of Conservation permanent staff based in Hokitika will remain in the heart of the town” said Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage.

Seddon House is a significant landmark in Hokitika, and is the largest and grandest historical building in downtown Hokitika. Numerous functions of government have operated out of the building, before it became privately owned in 1994.

As the location of a number of government departments over a period of 80 years, Seddon House was a key administrative centre for the whole of the West Coast. The activities housed in the building were instrumental in the economic and political growth and development of the West Coast.

Seddon House and the Seddon Statue will join 44 other properties Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga cares for nationwide on behalf of the public. Other properties include the Kerikeri Mission Complex in Northland, Old Government Buildings in Wellington, Kate Sheppard House in Christchurch and the birthplace of our frozen meat industry, Totara Estate near Oamaru.

Conservation land makes up over 83% of the total area of the West Coast. Relocating DOC to this location upholds the mana of public land and the importance of conservation in the region.

All approvals are in principle and subject to contract negotiations. Investment values are also subject to change.

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