Karori Reservoir Store/Boatshed

Karori Reservoir Store, Boatshed, Zealandia

Waiapu Road, Karori, Wellington
Map
  • Constructed

    1872 - 1878

  • Architect(s)

    Nicholas Marchant

  • Builder(s)

  • The boatshed/store building is an excellent example of the Carpenter Gothic style and has architectural value for its design, style, materials, and craftsmanship. The picturesque design-aesthetic, and location, elevates the importance of this building greatly above its mundane function.   

    The boatshed/store building is a structure that, along with the reservoir itself and the tower, has gained significant historic value as part of the beginning of the municipal water supply to Wellington City. The dam is the first water supply dam built in New Zealand by a municipality and is the second purpose built water supply dam in the country. The boatshed is also associated with the upkeep of the reservoir, and recreational fishing in the reservoir. 

    The boatshed is part of a publicly available area with high use values, great visual interest, and obvious attractiveness to visitors. It is held in high public esteem as a part of a historic landscape and the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary/Zealandia. 


  • close History
    • The Karori Reservoir Store, also known as the boatshed, is a structure that along with the reservoir itself has significant historic value as the beginning of the municipal water supply in Wellington City. The setting of the boatshed is a picturesque one of water, hills, and trees, and the building itself has a picturesque quality, making the overall composition one of high town and landscape value.

      For the first 40 years of Wellington’s settlement there was no communal water supply. Residents either collected rainwater or relied on streams and wells. As the population grew this situation became unsustainable and unsafe. A report written by Dr. James Hector to the town board in 1871 confirmed the risk of pollution and recommended a single source for the supply of water. The city surveyor, Nicholas Marchant, responded with a recommendation for a reservoir in the Karori valley, close to the source of the Kaiwharawhara Stream.

      Marchant designed a dam which was built across the gully by the contractors Saunders and O’Malley at a cost of £4800. It began to supply water to Wellington City in 1874 and the water level behind the innovative concrete structure was controlled by a valve housed in an elegant timber building atop a tall concrete tower set in the back of the dam. The dam is a puddle clay core construction, meaning that it has a central core of puddle clay, with graded banks of gravel on either side. This building was constructed in 1874 alongside the construction of the dam as the caretaker’s store. It was also used as a boat shed for small craft which were used to carry out checks around the reservoir, and for fishing in the dam. The boatshed matches the style of the water tower. In this setting the building’s picturesque construction is elevated above its mundane functions.

      In 1997/98 the dam was decommissioned and in 2004 the Karori waterworks reserve was gifted back to Wellington City Council for the development as a feature of the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary.

  • close Architectural Information
    • Building Classification(s) close

      Not assessed

    • Architecture close

      The boat shed is rectangular in plan, and features two rooms, the large outer space has a wide opening in the gable end for the storage of a boat. Overall, the building is a simple gabled structure with decorated bargeboards and finials on both gable ends. The building is recognisably Carpenter Gothic, and the use of timber construction, rusticated weatherboards, a simplified box form, and exposed framing are all features of the style. Some small side windows have been put in during the life of the building, and the south wall is propped with buttresses.

    • Materials close

      Timber joinery

      Rusticated weatherboards

      Corrugated iron roof

    • Setting close

      The boatshed/store is a part of a large heritage landscape defined by the Lower Karori Dam, a major public utility situated within the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary (Zealandia). It is accessed from Waiapu Road, and the valley in which the dam sits is located in Karori between Highbury and Wright’s Hill.

  • close Cultural Value

    The boatshed/store building is an excellent example of the Carpenter Gothic style and has architectural value for its design, style, materials, and craftsmanship. The picturesque design-aesthetic, and location, elevates the importance of this building greatly above its mundane function.

    The boatshed/store building is a structure that, along with the reservoir itself and the tower, has gained significant historic value as part of the beginning of the municipal water supply to Wellington City. The dam is the first water supply dam built in New Zealand by a municipality and is the second purpose built water supply dam in the country. The boatshed is also associated with the upkeep of the reservoir, and recreational fishing in the reservoir.

    The boatshed is part of a publicly available area with high use values, great visual interest, and obvious attractiveness to visitors. It is held in high public esteem as a part of a historic landscape and the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary/Zealandia.

    • Aesthetic Value close
      • Architectural

        Does the item have architectural or artistic value for characteristics that may include its design, style, era, form, scale, materials, colour, texture, patina of age, quality of space, craftsmanship, smells, and sounds?

        The boatshed/store building is an excellent example of the Carpenter Gothic style and has architectural value for its design, style, materials, and craftsmanship. The picturesque design-aesthetic, and location, elevates the importance of this building greatly above its mundane function.

      • Group

        Is the item part of a group of buildings, structures, or sites that taken together have coherence because of their age, history, style, scale, materials, or use?

        The boat shed has significant group value as part of the original water supply infrastructure for Wellington City. Other elements within this group include the water supply lakes and damns, the pipes and pumping mechanisms and the water tower building

      • Townscape

        Does the item have townscape value for the part it plays in defining a space or street; providing visual interest; its role as a landmark; or the contribution it makes to the character and sense of place of Wellington?

        This building is a part of a large heritage landscape defined by the Lower Karori Dam, and is only partially visible from Waiapu Road. The boatshed adds significant visual interest to the area.

    • Historic Value close
      • Association

        Is the item associated with an important person, group, or organisation?

        The boatshed/store building is a structure that, along with the reservoir itself and the tower, has gained significant historic value as part of the beginning of the municipal water supply to Wellington City. The dam is the first water supply dam built in New Zealand by a municipality and is the second purpose built water supply dam in the country. The boatshed is also associated with the upkeep of the reservoir, and recreational fishing in the reservoir.

    • Scientific Value close
      • Archaeological

        Does the item have archaeological value for its ability to provide scientific information about past human activity?

        The boatshed is part of an important industrial archaeological site that has undergone some previous investigation – NZAA R27/276.

      • Educational

        Does the item have educational value for what it can demonstrate about aspects of the past?

        The dam and its various elements, including the boatshed and tower, have the potential to tell a dramatic story about the importance of water supply in early Wellington, water capture techniques, and the substantial engineering effort required to achieve a sustainable water supply.

      • Technological

        Does the item have technological value for its innovative or important construction methods or use of materials?

        The boatshed is of technical interest as an element of the whole dam structure, as well as for its craftsmanship in timber.

    • Social Value close
      • Identity Sense Of Place Continuity

        Is the item a focus of community, regional, or national identity? Does the item contribute to sense of place or continuity?

        This structure has considerable historic significance for Wellington city and the Wellington region in their functions, and national significance for the construction and design of the dam. The boatshed, tower, and the dam create a highly picturesque landscape that contributes well to the sense of place and continuity in Wellington.

      • Public Esteem

        Is the item held in high public esteem?

        The boatshed is part of a publicly available area with high use values, great visual interest, and obvious attractiveness to visitors. It is held in high public esteem as a part of a historic landscape and the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary/Zealandia.

    • Level of Cultural Heritage Significance close
      • Authentic

        Does the item have authenticity or integrity because it retains significant fabric from the time of its construction or from later periods when important additions or modifications were carried out?

        This building has had few alterations and has been kept in good condition, and at some time has had small windows cut into the building; it has great integrity and authenticity.

      • Local Regional National International

        Is the item important for any of the above characteristics at a local, regional, national, or international level?

        As a part of the dam historic landscape, the Karori Reservoir store/boatshed is of regional significance. It is part of an intact industrial landscape, has architectural value, has important historic associations, is of educational and technical value, and contributes well to the sense of place in Wellington.

      • Rare

        Is the item rare, unique, unusual, seminal, influential, or outstanding?

        The Karori dam is the first of its kind built in New Zealand by a municipality, and the second purpose built water supply dam in the country. The boatshed building has some rarity value due to this association.

      • Representative

        Is the item a good example of the class it represents?

        The boatshed is an excellent example of the Carpenter Gothic architecture style, and has had a significant history as a part of an important historic landscape.

    • Local / Regional / National / International Importance close

      Not assessed

  • close Site Detail
    • District Plan Number

      16/ 167

    • Legal Description

      Lot 1 DP 313319, Part legal road, Wellington Land District Pt Sec 1 Upper Kaiwharawhara District marked A on SO 32281, Pt Sec 10 Owhiro District Marked A on SO 32922

    • Heritage New Zealand Listed

      Not Listed

    • Archaeological Site

      NZAA R27/276

    • Current Uses

      unknown

    • Former Uses

      unknown

    • Has building been funded

      No

    • Funding Amount

      Not applicable

    • Earthquake Prone Status

      Unknown

  • close Additional Information

Last updated: 10/24/2017 11:08:44 PM