You can take tours of NZ's parliament, they take around about an hour. There's plenty of NZ's history on display, and there's much to see. What you can see though will vary a bit, depending on what is happening in parliament at the time.
The older part of the parliament buildings host the Legislative of New Zealand. Here you find the offices of the members of parliament and the assembly halls.
It has been built by architect Thomas Turnbull in 1922.
The NZ Parliament House could be placed in any European city without looking bizarre. I do love this kind of architecture, but I would have appreciated more a building representing the 2 cultures sharing the Country.
The Parliament consists of three building, the executive wing of which is known as the Beehive.
Designed by British architect Sir Basil Spence, it was built between 1969 and 1980.
Tours are available fo the interior of the building, but we did not have time to do so during our stay in Wellington.
No visit to the nation's capital is complete without the obligatory photo outside the Beehive, the strangely shaped building that houses the executive branch of government. You'll either like the building or not. There's not much middle ground. The Parliament Building is next door. Notice how the main staircase is off centre... the building was never finished and the Beehive occupies the area of the non-existent wing. Free tours of parliament depart from the lobby of the Parliament Building on the hour.
The Parliament House had just undergone a major refurbishment. The refurbishment project has made a special effort to restore the buildings to their original glory while also making some changes and improvements. In the process of the refurbishment, many temporary additions made over the years to Parliament House have been removed. And about 30% more space were created in the restoration of the main heritage areas.
It has earned an Historic Places 'A' Classification due to its age of the buildings and the historical importance. This means that any building or redecorating must follow special rules. One of those rules is to preserve the character of the buildings has to be preserved.
A special technique of base isolation (417 lead-rubber bearings) used in the construction of its foundations is to make sure the Parliament Buildings are able to withstand an earthquake of up to 7.5 on the Richter Scale.
Free guided tours leave on the hour from the grond floor foyer. Tours are approximately 1 hour. Private tours (10 or more) can be pre-booked by arrangement.
Weekdays: 10am to 4pm (last tours depart at 4pm)
Saturdays: 10 - 3pm (last tours depart at 3pm)
Sundays: 12 - 3pm (last tours depart at 3pm)
Closed: New Year's Day & 2 January, Waitangi Day, Good Friday, Christmas & Boxing Day.
It's a pity that photography is not permitted inside!!
The Beehive is the most famous building in Wellington. The nickname comes from the obvious unique shape of the building and has nothing to do with the fact that its part of the parliament buildings. The building housing the ministerial offices. In the other part of the parliament buildings is the debating chambers (House of Representatives) where you can watch politicians in action. They are better behaved now that the sessions are televised. There are daily organised tours of the building. This third building of the parliament buildings was completed in 1969..
The Parliamentary Library was built in 1899. Being built of brick, cement and plaster, it managed to survive the fire which destroyed the adjacent wooden Parliament Building and other structures in 1907. However during the refurbishment in 1992, another fire caused major damage and the building had to be completely restored.
The building houses over half a million books related to laws, legislation and the government of New Zealand. Workers in this building are mainly researchers assisting Members of Parliament.
Take a guided tour and learn about how New Zealand's government works. You'll see how laws are passed. Bills are introduced into the democratically elected House of Representatives, who then vote on them. When a Bill is passed, it then becomes an Act. New Zealand remains a constitutional monarchy, officially under the Queen, represented by the Governor General. But she usually consents to the decisions made by elected officials.
One of the building's unusual features is a complex system of earthquake-resistant buffers which support the structure. Like Japan, the country sits on top of some major fault lines, and has re-engineered many buildings to survive all but the worst quakes.
The Corruption Perceptions Index for 2011 has rated New Zealand's government as the cleanest in the world. It's very open and transparent, as any visitor will notice.
The Beehive is a Parliament office building located next to Parliament. It is shaped like, you guessed it, a beehive, and is a unique building that has seen plenty of controversy about its design. Construction on the Beehive was completed in 1982.
Wandering through the grounds of Parliament is something to do when in Wellington. It's a stone's throw from the train station, and the grounds themselves are pleasant enough to stroll through.