Air Force build­ings cat­e­gory two his­toric places

North Harbour News - - LOCALJOBS ATP[ 4BCPCT - DANIELLE CLENT

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.

DANIELLE CLENT/ FAIR­FAX NZ

The for­mer RNZAF In­sti­tute Build­ing was listed for its im­por­tance as a so­cial hub.

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