Black boxes

nga matapihi (29 March 2011)

ngā matapihi (29 March 2011)


Mention “black boxes” in relation to Wellington architecture and two structures immediately come to mind: the State Insurance Tower (previously BNZ Tower) and the Museum Hotel.

The phrase, ngā matapihi, is Māori for ‘windows’. The State Insurance Tower with its pattern of windows was photographed from the front entrance of the Wellington City Library in Victoria Street; the library’s Māori name is Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui (the window on the wide world). The silhouetted plant-forms in this image are stylised nikau palms; a row of these sculptured nikau are a feature of the library entrance and of the civic centre.

Museum Hotel mural (31 Mar 2011)

Museum Hotel mural (31 Mar 2011)


The Museum Hotel was initially located on the other side of Cable Street from where it now stands. Facing demolition in 1993 to make way for the new Te Papa Tongarewa / Museum of New Zealand, the squat black box seemed doomed, until its owner began to investigate the possibility of relocating it. The five-storey, 3500 tonne structure made a 120-metre journey down an inner city street on railway tracks. Read more …

Read the story of the mural …


One thought on “Black boxes

  1. Pingback: The other side of Tory « cross-ties

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