Old High Court Building Open Day & Exhibition

Old High Court Building Open Day & Exhibition

Visit the Old High Court (former Supreme Court) of New Zealand between 5pm - 7pm on Tuesday 23 Oct to Thursday 25 Oct, and 10am and 5pm on Saturday 27 Oct.

The Old High Court building opened in 1881. It was then known as the Supreme Court as the plaster work on the outside shows along with the date 1879 when the foundation stone was laid. It was the second building built on the newly reclaimed land and the first public building in the capital to be built of a material other than timber.

When the courts were renamed in 1980 the then Supreme Court became known as the High Court. The building was the scene of many high-profile trials including the trials of 7 men who were convicted of murder and sentenced to death.

In 1993 the High Court moved to its current location in Molesworth Street and the building was left vacant for 14 years and fell into disrepair. When the new Supreme Court was established in 2004 a new building was built for that court on the adjoining site. As part of the construction of the new Supreme Court building the Old High Court building, which is a Category 1 Historic Building, was fully restored and reopened in 2010.

The Old High Court building is now used as office space as part of the Supreme Court complex and the main courtroom is Wellington’s ceremonial courtroom. It is this grand courtroom with its kauri panelling, large canopy over the judge’s bench and portraits of the former Chief Justices that is being opened to the public for Heritage Week. The old cells underneath the building will not be open to the public on this occasion.

The main access to this building is by a set of 8 steps. If you require the use of a ramp please speak to the staff member at the entrance who will arrange for a side entrance to be opened. This ramp access can only be opened on request.

No booking is required.

Location: Old High Court Building, 36-42 Stout Street, Wellington (between Ballance and Whitmore Streets)

Cost: Free

The Supreme Court of New Zealand Te Kōti Mana Nui

The Supreme Court was established in 2004 and a permanent home for the court opened in 2010. The complex comprises of both the new building for the court and the restored Old High Court building for judicial support staff. As part of Wellington Heritage Week the staff who work in the Old High Court building are keen to share it with the public.

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