photos by Te Papa
Best Gala Dinner Venues in Wellington
by Luke Ellery | 19 Jan 2022
Wellington, the culture-filled capital of New Zealand, has a lot to offer in terms of private event spaces for gala dinners. We've filtered through the mass of options to bring you a list of the best venues in Wellington for gala dinner events. Whether you are hosting an awards night for hundreds of industry professionals, or an intimate team gala dinner for twenty lucky guests, our list will have the perfect venue for you. Don't waste time on anything less than the best, and these gala dinner venues are undoubtedly the best that Wellington has to offer. For a full rundown on the venues for hire in Wellington, check out our guide here.
Old St Paul’s
Image by Wellington NZ
A former cathedral, Old St Paul’s is a celebrated piece of Wellington’s history with stunning stained glass and a warmly wooden interior. Celebrated as one of the finest examples of timber gothic revival architecture, Old St Paul’s provides a perfect venue for your next gala dinner. It has a capacity of over 400 guests and is located minutes from the centre of Wellington City, making it as convenient as it is beautiful. With a dedicated team to help you with planning and organising your gala dinner, as well as the options of on-site catering and audiovisual equipment, Old St Paul’s is a beloved venue choice for any Wellington gala night.
Image by Thistle Inn
Warm and welcoming is the cornerstone of this fabulous Wellington venue, Thistle Inn, a historic space that offers delicious on-site catering, tons of natural light and option after option for your upcoming gala dinner. Choose between a series of rooms for your Wellington gala dinner, including The George's Room, Marquee, The Katherine Mansfield Room, Main Bar and The Courtyard. Mix and match these spaces at your will, accommodating anywhere from 14 to 180 guests and transforming into an ideal location for stylish gala dinners. Thistle Inn is a Wellington venue that prides itself on versatility and its rich past, with a sunny atmosphere and team that will only heighten the experience.
Shed 6 (TSB Auditorium)
Image by Shed 6
With its pillarless floor and soundproof walls, Shed 6 is a versatile Wellington gala dinner venue. You can arrange tables in a myriad of ways because the open space has next to no obstructions. Shed 6 also boasts the latest in audio-visual technology, ensuring flawless presentations and entertainment. As the home of the annual WOW Arts Show (World of Wearable Arts Show), it needs to be continually ahead of the lighting and sound display game. Shed 6 is a part of a trio of Wellington venues that include TSB Auditorium, TSB Arcade, and TSB Arena. The latter is Wellington’s largest indoor event space and can host over 1000 people in a seated banquet setting.
Image by Venues Wellington
A modern and minimalist contemporary art showroom that doubles as a Wellington venue, Academy Galleries is the perfect place to hold a classy, intimate evening. With exceptional art regularly on display, you don't need to worry about decoration. The central location is easy to get to for Wellingtonians and tourists alike. In a gala dinner setting, you can expect Academy Galleries to be suitable for groups up to 100. If you want a banquet with an ambience that promotes thought-provoking discussion, then Academy Galleries should be your top choice.
Michael Fowler Centre
Image by Michael Fowler Centre
Award-winning architecture and a prime location, Michael Fowler Centre is a sophisticated venue for your gala night. The Wellington venue has a three-story glass facade, and the interior is comprised of Italian marble and native timber. Michael Fowler Centre is also a cultural hub for many Wellingtonians as it functions as the home to the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra - a fact that any sophisticates at your event will be quite pleased to know. Two of this gala dinner venue's unique event spaces are the Renouf Foyer and the Lion Harbourview Lounge. The Renouf Foyer boasts plenty of natural light, an elegant-looking hardwood floor, and space for up to 300 seated guests. The Lion Harbourview lounge features (as expected from its name) beautiful views over the Wellington harbour. It also has floor-to-ceiling windows to enhance that view and create a consistent flow of natural light. When hosting your gala dinner at Michael Fowler Centre, you're choosing excellence.
Te Papa - Te Marae
Image by Te Papa
Te Marae is a powerful work of contemporary architecture and art. Like all marae, it tells a story of identity. Te Marae in Te Papa stands out because it acknowledges the many cultures that live in Aotearoa and showcases the bi-cultural identity of the museum itself. Your guests can enjoy a seated gala dinner or a standing cocktail night, surrounded by Maori inspired art. At the front of the room is the pièce de résistance, Te Marae. Seating 200 people in a gala-style dinner setup, the room boasts a stunning lighting design and spectacular views of Wellington.
The Opera House
Image by Venues Wellington
Dine on stage in one of Wellington’s oldest and most extravagant buildings, The Opera House. The massive dome ceiling and the raked stage will have you feeling like you’ve travelled back in time. This Wellington venue is perfect for gala dinners, which often are best with an air of extravagance to them. The stage space is only suitable for about 130 seated guests, so some larger gala dinners and functions might not fit - but if your guest list is anywhere up to 130, then this stunning Wellington venue should be very high up on your list of the best gala dinner venues in the city, just like it is on ours.
St James Theatre (Currently Closed)
Image by Wellington NZ
St James Theatre is yet another artistically-fuelled Wellington venue that lends itself to a plethora of exciting functions, including gala dinners. This Wellington venue has the honour of being the home to the Royal New Zealand Ballet. More than 280 guests can be seated on the stage, and since it was refurbished in the late 90s, it has access to plenty of 21st-century technology. St James Theatre is currently being renovated and will reopen soon – at which point, high-tech spaces that maintain their old-world style will be available for your upcoming Wellington gala dinner, ready to amaze your guests.
Wharewaka Function Centre
Image by Athfield Architects
Wharewaka Function Centre is an iconic landmark of the Wellington Waterfront. This gala dinner venue boasts a waterside cafe open 7-days a week. Behind the scenes, it also has five function spaces available for groups ranging from 20-500. It is a dedicated function space, so you can rest assured that it has all the latest audio-visual tech and areas that have been purpose-built for hosting successful private events. Visitors to this Wellington venue will also be able to view 3 Maori waka, permanently on display – except for when they are out on the water, which can be arranged. Waka Harbour Tours is considered to be one of the most culturally inspiring things to do in the city. So, if you have international guests coming to your gala dinner, you might like to make use of the waka’s availability. Booking with Wharewaka is organised exclusively through, event management company, Wellington Functions.
Image by InterContinental Hotels
Intercontinental was the world's first international luxury hotel brand. With that title comes an expectation of well-established processes and an expert level of industry knowledge. Intercontinental Hotel in Wellington has six unique event spaces suitable for a gala dinner. They can host a range of sizes from 20 to 220, but, no matter the size, Intercontinental believe that their local teams will create memorable and flawlessly executed events. One of the joys of having a hotel venue for a gala dinner is that your guests have the option to stay at the hotel. Without the need to carpool, or Uber to and from your event, your guests will stay for longer and have a wee bit more to drink – which often leads to a few good laughs and positive memories.
Brentwood Hotel and Conference Centre
Image by Agoda
Brentwood Hotel is the closest hotel and conference centre to Wellington airport, which makes it an especially convenient gala dinner venue for people with international guests arriving on the night of the function (or even if guests are flying from other cities in NZ). All of this Wellington venue's spaces for hire are located on the ground floor of the hotel, allowing for easy access. Among the amenities provided by Brentwood Hotel, you'll find conference car parking, a bar and restaurant entrance, catering options, on-site accommodation and a swimming pool.
The Basin Reserve
Image by NZ Cricket Museum
The Basin Reserve is considered one of the world’s most picturesque cricket grounds and is also listed as one of the top 10 cricket venues in the world. Recently, a long term development plan was put in place by the local government to improve some of the areas that make up The Basin Reserve. By 2025, it will be as technologically advanced and modern as ever, but it will still maintain its historic aesthetic. There are two primary function spaces in The Basin Reserve, the Longroom and the Norwood Room. Both of these spaces are suitable for gala banquets of over 100 pax, making it an ideal Wellington gala dinner venue. The Longroom boasts floor-to-ceiling windows and built-in bar space, while the Norwood Room houses the grand honours board.
The Wardroom at Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club
Image by Black and Gold
The Wardroom in Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club is the perfect waterside venue for an intimate gala dinner. From inside The Wardroom, there are stunning views over the harbour, which come to life at night, reflecting the lights of nocturnal ships and the lively city. The Wardroom also has a large accessway to a wooden deck suspended over the water. This gala dinner venue can seat a maximum of 80 guests when it comes to hosting gala dinners, so it's perfect for cosier nights and celebrations. With a fully equipped bar in this Wellington venue and a nearby kitchen area, any catering options you go with will be seamlessly accessible.
Harbourside Function Centre
Image by Black and Gold
Once a wharf warehouse housing various trade wares, Harbourside Function Centre is now a modern architectural space comprised of five function spaces - perfect for your upcoming gala dinner in Wellington. This Wellington venue's most spacious layout can host up to 350 seated guests for a gala dinner. All their event options feature high-speed WiFi, access to the latest audiovisual technology, wheelchair accessibility, and soundproof divides. Only a short walk from the iconic Te Papa museum, this Wellington venue is accessible and offers serene views of the surrounding city, moments from plush accommodation, the shopping district and other attractions to delight your guests.
Image by Rydges Wellington
Rydges Hotel in Wellington is one of the city’s most experienced gala dinner providers. With a personal event coordinator assigned to every event booked with Rydges Hotel, you don't need to worry about organising the details, and you can leave much of the setup to their event team. Rydges Hotel pride themselves on food, believing that good food makes for a good event (they aren't wrong). They describe their food as “kaleidoscopic”, “fresh”, and “sinful”, which are all words we can get behind when it comes to eating. Rydges Hotel can host up to 230 people in a grand banquet setup. A few things you are guaranteed through a gala dinner with Rydges Hotel include flexible space with various options for setup, spacious breakout areas, entertainment available upon request, pre and post-conference activities, free wifi, audio-visual tech, stationery, and personalised catering.