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Carillon Tower detailed seismic assessment released

Media release: 2 July 2020

Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage has today released online the final detailed seismic assessment on the Carillon Tower at the National War Memorial in Wellington.  The final report completed in April this year, found the Carillon Tower to have an overall seismic rating of 15% of the New Building Standard, confirming it as an earthquake prone building. 

The National War Memorial has been closed to staff and the public since the end of February when Manatū Taonga received a draft of the detailed seismic assessment from its engineers. The wider Pukeahu National War Memorial Park and the Queen Elizabeth II Education Centre remain open.

“The National War Memorial is central to remembrance in Aotearoa, we know that people will feel its closure acutely, particularly around key anniversaries and commemorations,” says Manatū Taonga Deputy Chief Executive Tamsin Evans.

“The seismic rating was lower than had been expected based on previous advice from engineers. The main issue identified in the detailed seismic assessment is around the internal bell-frames of the Carillon Tower and how they would perform in an earthquake.  These steel frames support the 74 bells making up the Carillon.

“If an element of the bell-frames failed, there is a risk that one of the bells, or other material, could fall into the foyer of the Carillon Tower which is the main entry to the National War Memorial. This could pose a significant risk to anyone in the foyer at the time.

“And while there is no information to suggest the Carillon Tower poses a risk to anyone immediately outside the building, in the event of an earthquake people are advised to move away and Drop, Cover and Hold.

“Our focus now is on making the necessary plans to get the National War Memorial strengthened and open again, so it can continue to be the place of solace, remembrance and reflection it has been to generations of New Zealanders.

“Alternative arrangements are being made for national commemorations to be held within the wider Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in the meantime.

“This latest detailed seismic assessment is part of a much wider programme of earthquake strengthening and refurbishment of the two buildings which make up the National War Memorial – the Carillon Tower, which opened in 1932 and the Hall of Memories, which was added in 1964.

“This strengthening and refurbishment work began in 2011 and the final deadline for completing all the work is 30 May 2022. This timeline is set by Wellington City Council in accordance with legislation concerning earthquake prone buildings,” says Tamsin Evans.


The detailed seismic assessment is available here [PDF 21MB]

A peer review of the detailed seismic assessment is available here [PDF 1.51MB]. Together both documents will inform the plan to carry out the work required to strengthen the Carillon Tower.

For more information contact the Manatū Taonga Communications Team: 

[email protected] 
027 622 0468


Updated on 24th November 2020