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Carillon Tower seismic strengthening project

The need to make the Carillon Tower safe

The Carillon is a musical instrument made up of 74 bells. It is housed in the Carillon Tower, the centrepiece of the National War Memorial at Pukeahu in Wellington.

Serving as a memorial for all New Zealanders who have lost their lives in military conflict, the National War Memorial is one of New Zealand’s most significant heritage sites. The music of the Carillon is a key function for ceremonies and commemorations that are hosted at the National War Memorial.

The National War Memorial Carillon

Pukeahu National War Memorial Park

When assessed, the tower only reached 15% of the New Building Standard (NBS). Anything under 34% is considered earthquake prone.

The risk to visitors and the building itself in a serious earthquake meant we had to close the building again – it had also been closed when the Hall of Memories was strengthened between 2012 and 2015.

Planning is now underway to perform the work required to reopen the entire National War Memorial building.

The deadline for completing the work is May 2027, but we hope to have the strengthening completed well before then.

The rest of Pukeahu National War Memorial Park is still open for visitors.

Carillon Tower strengthening

Project goals

This project will ensure the Carillon tower and bell-frames are strengthened so the National War Memorial is safe, accessible and resilient, without compromising its heritage value.


  • the value of the landscape and environment of the park will be maintained
  • the Carillon will be playable
  • the National War Memorial will be fully usable for ceremonies and commemorations.

We are confident the tower is structurally sound in normal circumstances, and there is no risk to people using the park.

Project stages

This project has six phases.

  1. Planning
  2. Investigation
  3. Design and review
  4. Consent and procurement
  5. Construction
  6. Reopening

Currently, we are in Phase 2, investigation. We're working with structural engineers and other experts who are investigating the current status of the tower to inform the development of a strengthening solution. Next is the design and review phase, where solution options will be put forward and considered. 

The project must be completed by May 2027, but we intend to carry out the work as soon as possible and reopen well before then. The estimated cost is $7.2 million.

Get project updates

Updates will be posted here and on Pukeahu’s Facebook.

Pukeahu National War Memorial Park – Facebook

If you want to receive a project newsletter, email us at [email protected] and just ask to be added to the list.

Updated on 21st June 2022