Ensuring the Carillon is strong and safe

The National War Memorial Building and Carillon Tower are currently closed while we seismically strengthen the tower.

The rest of Pukeahu National War Memorial Park is open, safe and full of things to see and do.

The Carillon Tower at Pukeahu

The National War Memorial Building

Built in 1932, the Carillon Tower now only meets 15% of the New Building Standard (NBS), meaning it could be damaged in an earthquake and be a risk to people inside.

The rest of the building is the Hall of Memories, which was strengthened between 2012 and 2015, and is now at 100% NBS. Until the tower is strengthened, it’s safer to keep the whole building closed.

Why the tower needs work

A major earthquake could be a risk for people inside and the building itself. Most urgently, the internal bell-frames are holding up the 74 bells of the Carillon – a significant weight. If the frames, bells or other materials fell, they could cause significant damage.

However, the building is structurally sound in normal circumstances, and there’s no indication of any risk to people visiting the park or walking past the tower.

A detailed seismic assessment was completed in 2020, and you can read the report below.

Carillon tower and bell-frames seismic assessment report (PDF, 21MB)

Visit the park

Everything else at Pukeahu is safe and available, including regular activities and functions, or if you just want a nice walk between Taranaki and Tory Streets.

Work programme

Strengthening the Carillon Tower is a large piece of work, which we are doing as a six-phase project.

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. 

See more information on the project page below.

Carillon Tower seismic strengthening project

After the memorial reopens

Work on the tower will continue until we’re confident it’s safe to reopen – for you and for the building itself. As the project gets underway, we’ll have a clearer idea of when this will be.

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

Once done, you’ll be able to see the Hall of Memories and hear the Carillon bells ring out again.

Hall of Memories

Watch Carillonist Timothy Hurd QSM playing in this short video, 'The Carillon - Amaryllis' on Vimeo. This video features sound.
Wellington City Council commissioned Storybox to produce this video as part of the Wellington's Bell Stories project.

Updated on 21st June 2022