photos by Te Papa
10 Amazing Heritage Venues in Wellington
by Raashka Mannie | 22 Apr 2021
There are so many ways to connect with the heritage and history of New Zealand. Fortunately for event planners and goes everywhere, one of these ways is at the many heritage buildings to be found all around the country. Wellington, as the capital, boasts an array of heritage venues that seek to celebrate the history and culture of their city and the rest of New Zealand. Museums, refurbished warehouses and restored boatsheds are just some of the heritage venues to be found in Wellington - and we've put together a nifty list of them for you to consider for your next Wellington event. To see our complete guide to the city, click here.
St James Theatre
Image by Venues Wellington
Designed in 1912 by New Zealand theatre designer Henry Eli White, St James Theatre is a testament to art in so many forms. This event space is lucky enough to be the home of the Royal New Zealand Ballet. However, it is more than just that: the theatre's proscenium arch and historic decorative interior design make it a unique and memorable venue to host any event. This venue can play host for up to 650 guests, and, since it was refurbished in the late 1990s, it has access to plenty of modern-day technology. St James is currently being renovated and will be reopened in 2020 – at which point, high tech spaces that maintain their old-world style will be available for bookings.
Old St Paul's
Image by NZPlaces
Old St Paul's is was once a grand and gorgeous cathedral. Today, it retains its place as an essential piece of Wellington's history, with stunning stained glass and a warmly wooden interior, serving as a heritage venue in the hustle and bustle of the city. Considered to be one one of the most excellent examples of timber gothic revival architecture, Old St Paul's provides a perfect venue for your next event. It has a capacity of 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 event, as well as the options of on-site catering and audiovisual equipment, Old St Paul's is a beloved venue choice for any Wellington function.
Image by Black and Gold
Long ago, Harbourside Function Centre was a wharf warehouse housing various trade wares. However, today this space has refashioned itself into a modern and chic architectural venue on the waterfront, comprised of 5 spaces at which to host your Wellington event. Harbourside Function Centre's most spacious layout can host up to 600 standing or 300 seated guests. All their spaces have high-speed WiFi, access to the latest audiovisual technology, and soundproof divides. Harbourside Function Centre is a short walk from popular landmarks within Wellington City, such as Te Papa National Museum, and is a quick 20-minute drive from the airport. This heritage venue knows how to combine stylish and classic, hosting conferences, corporate events, cocktail events and much more.
Te Papa - Te Marae
Image by Te Papa
One of the most history-rich and celebrated spaces in all of Wellington, 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 character 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, stunning lighting design and spectacular views of Wellington. Te Marae also features a theatre space with fantastic lighting and staging sections, green-room facilities and panoramic views of Wellington. Celebrate your heritage with one of New Zealand's most beautiful function spaces.
Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club
Image by Ed O'Keeffe Photography
Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club is a heritage venue that was established in 1883, overlooking the glittering marina and making an ideal event space on the water's edge. There are 3 separate and versatile spaces for hire within the Club: The Noel Manthel Boardroom, The Wardroom, and The Alan Martin Room. This heritage venue can host 100 seated and 200 standing guests. Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club also offers options such as on-site catering, audiovisual assistance and breakaway rooms for further discussion and networking. With the Wellington cityscape and Clyde Quay Marina serving as a backdrop, this is one of Wellington's premier venue options. You can find this heritage venue tucked between Wellington's beloved boatsheds, filled with natural light and with many outdoor and indoor spots for your function.
Image by Wellington Weddings
Wallaceville House is a stunning heritage venue located around 25 minutes outside of the Wellington city centre. This enormous and glamorous space offers on-site accommodation for events that span multiple days, such as seminars and conferences, with flourishing gardens surrounding it that are sure to spark creativity and wonder. Built in the 1900s by celebrated architect Charlesworth, Wallaceville House retains the structure and beauty of old, with accents of modern times to give your event everything it needs to succeed. There are multiple spaces to choose from, including the much-loved gardens, to host your Wellington event, alongside a team dedicated to helping you through the process of planning and organising your function.
Image by Lonely Planet
Wellington Museum was once a storehouse that dates all the way back to 1892. Now, this building primarily stores artifacts and stories of old, showcasing some of the best and most important pieces of history in New Zealand. With hundreds of items that are unique to Wellington, this heritage venue offers itself up for both partial and exclusive hire. Choose between 5 unique spaces: The Attic, Flux, Telling Tales, Draughtsman's Room and Capital Room. Wellington Museum can accommodate up to 700 delegates. Their special package, A Night at the Museum, includes hiring out the entire venue for your event with private tours for a cocktail-style night in one of the most fascinating heritage spaces in Wellington for hire.
Image by The Boatshed
The Boatshed is a heritage venue that was built in 1874, now acting as a timeless space that sits alongside the waterfront, offering a convenient and gorgeous spot for any event in Wellington. This building is uniquely historical in the sense that it's one of the oldest surviving sports clubs in the North Island. There's nothing more charming than taking in this carefully restored and preserved shard of history. It can host anywhere from 40 guests to 300 guests, with a large, commercial kitchen for your caterer's use, central heating, plenty of natural light, and so much more. The Boatshed has a vast and airy main function room featuring wooden floors and an adjoining bar/lounge area that can be separated if required. Its back steps lead down to lapping waters, and it has an expansive deck that overlooks the city and waterfront.
The Old Bailey
Image by First Table
Wellington's most classic bar, The Old Bailey, was established in 1875 and has been running strong ever since. With some facelifts and renovations, this heritage venue has gone out of its way to preserve the traditional warmth of Wellington. They host it all, from corporate events to private functions, with a host of packages available for your convenience. If you're looking for something more personalised, all you have to do is chat to their helpful staff. Their spaces include The Chambers, hosting up to 40, which is a semi-private space offering direct bar access, and The Main Bar, hosting up to 120 and complete with audiovisual technology and a raised platform for staged events. The Old Bailey is also available for exclusive hire, allowing you to rent out the whole place for over 120 guests, with a private bar and outdoor area for further mingling.
Image by Stuff
A landmark in Wellington, Antrim House is set on green grounds and is a heritage venue that provides a peaceful, secluded setting for private and corporate events on a smaller scale. This Wellington venue was built in 1905 as a private residence. Now, it can host over 40 guests, with the main space for hire being The Hannah Room, named for the original owner's wife, and serving as the ideal space for meetings, more intimate dinners and other gatherings. The Hannah Room includes audiovisual technology, such as overhead projectors, screens, electronic whiteboards and more. When choosing caterers for your event, Antrim House's team is happy to help you pick one from their preferred list of suppliers. This heritage venue features kauri panelling and staircase, stained glass windows and ornate ceilings by Wunderlich of Sydney.