Archived: Old Government House

Old Government House, completed in 1856, was the first mansion of its kind built in New Zealand.

Classical in style with much of the timber facade cut to resemble stone, it played an important part in the government of New Zealand until 1865 when the capital was moved to Wellington. For the next century it was Auckland's viceregal residence. Royalty stayed there six times and the present Queen broadcast her Christmas speech to the Commonwealth from upstairs in 1953.

Since being transferred to the University in 1969, the house has been the Staff Common Room. It also contains a Council reception suite, flats for visiting academics, rooms for the Federation of Graduate Women and a lecture theatre. Some of the trees in the grounds match Old Government House for antiquity. Two oaks at the north-western corner of Old Government House lawn were probably grown from acorns brought from the Great Forest at Windsor and the Royal Oak at Boscobel, Shropshire where Charles II hid after the battle of Worcester in 1651. The big coral tree and the Norfolk pine at the southern edge of the lawn are said to have been planted by Sir George Grey during his second term as governor (1861-67).

Enjoy two hours of free parking or $5 evening and weekend rates. Find out more. Ride on public transport from as little as $2 each way. Find out more.
Last updated: 19 February 2019

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