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New Zealand's Capital

Wellington's Parliamentary Precinct

The latest Sightseeing, Tours, Attractions & Events in Wellington
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By Richard Moore

Beehive, NZBeing the seat of Government in New Zealand, Wellington offers visitors the chance to visit the country's Parliament.

When the Parliament is in session - that is meeting - you can get access to seating in the public gallery.

You will need to go through security first and there is a dress code for those wanting to watch the politicians in action in the debating chamber.

Male visitors to the gallery may not wear hats - except for religious reasons (for example, turbans) - they must not take off their jackets in the gallery and must wear shoes.

Hear, hear on the shoes front we say.

If your time is more limited then just having a wander around the Parliament Grounds is relaxing, taking in the buildings for their looks rather than any necessary substance.

Parliamentary Library, NZThere are three main buildings and in their own ways they are impressive structures.

The Parliament itself is of a neo-classical Edwardian design and was built in 1907. It replaced the original that was destroyed by fire.

Sitting to its right is the lovely Parliamentary Library.

It was finished in 1899 in a Victorian Gothic style and has been refurbished and strengthened late last century.

The library still is a working resource for Members of Parliament and staff.

The third of the trio is the famous Beehive, which houses the offices of the Prime Minister and Cabinet members.

Old Government Buildings, NZThe Beehive is 72 metres in height, has 10 floors above ground and four floors below.

In front of the buildings is a statue of one of New Zealand's best known Prime Ministers, Richard Seddon, who led the country from 1893 to 1906.

There are a number of nearby things of interest to see while in the area.

Wellington's cenotaph is just outside Parliament's grounds on Lambton Quay and is an impressive monument to the country's war dead of World War I and World War II.

It was unveiled on Anzac Day (April 25) 1931 and features at its summit a bronze figure on horseback.

After WWII two bronze lions and a series of bronze friezes were added.

Now we wanted to tell you how high it is, but that seems to be an unknown with nothing available online, nor known by most public officials.

Wellington Cenotaph, NZIt took a lovely lady in the council records office about 20 minutes to hunt out the information.

So, for the record, the Wellington cenotaph is 19.5m high.

Across the way from the cenotaph is the Old Government Buildings a really impressive structure that is one of the world's largest wooden buildings.

Built to house the country's civil servants it is in the Neo-Renaissance style and opened in 1876.

The grounds of the Old Government Buildings are open to the public, as are displays on the ground level and the Cabinet room on the first floor.

Just in case you have built up a bit of a thirst on your wanderings we would recommend poppping into The Backbencher pub across Molesworth St from the Parliamentary Grounds.

Apart from food and drink you get to see some really cool, large political figurines of some of New Zealand's best known MPs.


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