Air Force buildings category two historic places
An art deco seaplane base is among three sites listed as category two historic places by Heritage New Zealand.
The former Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Headquarters, parade ground and Institute Building in Hobsonville were approved by Heritage New Zealand’s board in February. The sites and buildings were identified as ‘‘good candidates’’, Heritage New Zealand heritage advisor Alexandra Foster said, and were locally or regionally significant.
‘‘They were listed for their aviation history. This entire landscape has such a rich history with the air force being here since the 1920s, and these buildings were integral to the functioning of the base,’’ Foster said.
Both buildings were designed by government architect John Mair in 1939. Foster’s heritage listing report said Mair was known for using modernist architecture in his designs. The former headquarters was the last pre-war building of its design still standing in New Zealand, Foster said.
There was an identical building at Wigram airbase in Christchurch but it had since been demolished.
The Hobsonville building had been used for a range of purposes. It was originally used as the base for the RNZAF air and seaplanes, Foster said. During World War II it was used as a repair, supply and equipment depot. It was also the administration centre. It later became the air force training base.
Now owned by Auckland Council, it will get a $1.3 million facelift, Upper Harbour Local Board’s chairwoman Lisa Whyte said. It would be used as a youth hang out, playgroup area and meeting space.
The parade ground was used for formal and ceremonial purposes from 1940. It sits in front of the headquarters. The RNZAF Institute Building was listed for its importance as a social hub, Foster said.
Foster said the government had investigated why so many people were taking discharge from the Hobsonville base. It was identified it was too far away from social activity so the Institute Building was created to provide that, she said.
Over the next few financial years the bar would be removed to create more space and the kitchen would be modernised, she said.
Whyte said there was money in the budget to remove the bar in the financial year of July 2017/2018 and the kitchen would be done the following year.
The former RNZAF Institute Building was listed for its importance as a social hub.