Ensuring the Carillon is strong and safe

The National War Memorial Building is currently closed, except for commemorations and ceremonies, while we seismically strengthen the Carillon 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 has been assessed as earthquake prone, meaning it could be damaged in an earthquake. The weak point is some parts of the bell frame. This poses a risk of injury to those in the vicinity of the bell frames and not in the public areas of the tower. 

The rest of the building is the Hall of Memories, which was strengthened between 2012 and 2015. 

You can find more details in the latest 2022 report available below.

2022: Concept Strengthening Report (PDF, 5.8MB)

2020 (outdated): Carillon tower and bell-frames seismic assessment report (PDF, 21MB)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

We are currently in Phase 3, design and review.  
Based on recommendations in the 2022 engineer’s report, a ‘viscous dampers’ seismic strengthening solution has been selected, which involves installing shock absorbers to reduce the movement of the tower caused by a large earthquake.  
We're working with the design team (which includes structural engineers, heritage architects and other experts) to develop a detailed design of the strengthening solution.  
In addition to the strengthening design work, we are planning to replace the Carillon’s upper bell frame, conduct remedial works on the lower bell frame, and also carry out various other maintenance works around the building.  

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.  
The project must be completed by May 2027, but we intend to carry out the work as soon as possible. 
At this stage, construction may be completed in early 2025, with an estimated cost of $7.2 million. 
Once done, you’ll be able to visit 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 18th September 2023