25 Years: Building the Museum

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

25 Years: Building the Museum

After years of planning, fundraising and sponsorship development, construction of the Museum began in February 1992 when the Mayor of Auckland, Les Mills, donned scuba gear and ‘turned the first sod’. Mainzeal Property and Construction Limited were contracted to build the Museum using the designs of Malcolm Deighton and Jasmax Architects, with Magellan Group managing the project.

His Worship Les Mills turning the first sod, 2 March 1992. Photograph by Paul Gilbert. Bearings vol. 4 no. 1, Autumn 1992.His Worship Les Mills turning the first sod, 2 March 1992. Photograph by Paul Gilbert. Bearings vol. 4 no. 1, Autumn 1992.

First, the Launchman’s Building was cut into sections and removed to Point Chevalier for renovation. This historic building would later be returned to the site as the entry to the new Museum. In July-August 1992 the existing sheds on Hobson Wharf were demolished. While the final designs would take inspiration from the old steel-clad sheds of the Auckland waterfront, the Museum would be a new build.

Hobson Wharf site, March 1992. Bearings vol. 4 no. 2, Winter 1992.

Hobson Wharf sheds, 24 July 1992. Hobson Wharf construction photograph album, New Zealand Maritime Museum.

Hobson Wharf, 21 August 1992. Hobson Wharf construction photograph album, New Zealand Maritime Museum.

Hobson Wharf, 25 September 1992. Hobson Wharf construction photograph album, New Zealand Maritime Museum.

Hobson Wharf, 28 October 1992. Hobson Wharf construction photograph album, New Zealand Maritime Museum.

Hobson Wharf, 28 October 1992. Hobson Wharf construction photograph album, New Zealand Maritime Museum.

In the second half of 1992, with the wharf cleared, work began on bolting the Museum’s pre-assembled steel frames together. Two new additions to the collection were so large that they needed to be put in place before the Museum was built around them. On October 13, the Kiribati community and Reverend Dr Takutai Moana Wikiriwhi of Ngati Whatua welcomed the baurua TARATAI, a Pacific outrigger, and REWA, a coastal trading cutter.The Museum’s remaining walls and roofing were then constructed around the two vessels. Fit-out and construction of displays followed.

Photograph by Gillian Chaplin and Roger Reid. Hobson Wharf construction photograph album, New Zealand Maritime Museum.

Photograph by Gillian Chaplin and Roger Reid. Hobson Wharf construction photograph album, New Zealand Maritime Museum.

Photograph by Gillian Chaplin and Roger Reid. Hobson Wharf construction photograph album, New Zealand Maritime Museum.

Now known as Hobson Wharf, the Museum held a Grand Opening from Thursday 19 August until Sunday 22 August 1993. In our next blog post, we will feature the construction of one of the Museum’s heritage vessels; TED ASHBY, the Freightways Scow.

References

Bearings vol. 3 no. 1 p.44 – Countdown to construction commences.
Bearings vol. 3 no. 2 p.3 – Hobson Wharf: the new plan
Bearings vol. 4 no. 2 p. 35 – Museum News
Bearings vol. 4 no. 3 p. 37 – Museum News
Bearings vol. 4 no. 4 p.48 – Museum News
Bearings vol. 5 no. 2 p.6 – A waterfront architectural heritage revisited.