Air Force buildings listed as category two historic places video

Danielle Clent / Stuff.co.nz

Former Hobsonville airbase - then and now.

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.

The former RNZAF Headquarters is the last pre-war building of its design still standing in New Zealand.
DANIELLE CLENT/FAIRFAX NZ

The former RNZAF Headquarters is the last pre-war building of its design still standing in New Zealand.

"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.

A parade in front of the headquarters building in Hobsonville, post World War II.
AIR FORCE MUSEUM OF NEW ZEALAND

A parade in front of the headquarters building in Hobsonville, post World War II.

"I really love the design of this place because it's art deco and it's from that art deco period."

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.

Former RNZAF Headquarters and parade ground in Hobsonville.
ALEXANDRA FOSTER/SUPPLIED

Former RNZAF Headquarters and parade ground in Hobsonville.

It was originally used as the base for the RNZAF air and seaplanes, Foster said.

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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.

Seaplane at the Hobsonville air base in 1943.
SUPPLIED

Seaplane at the Hobsonville air base in 1943.

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.

"It's pretty old in there. I'm not sure how long since the air force used it but there's some major refit needed on the inside," she said.

The parade ground was used formally after 1940 when the chief engineer stopped it from being used as a car park.
DANIELLE CLENT/FAIRFAX NZ

The parade ground was used formally after 1940 when the chief engineer stopped it from being used as a car park.

The cost would include a new bathroom and ramp installation to comply with building codes, she said. It would also be painted a cream colour.

The work on the building had no completion date as it had not yet gone to tender, Whyte said.

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. It is now owned by Auckland Council and ...
DANIELLE CLENT/FAIRFAX NZ

The RNZAF Institute Building was listed for its importance as a social hub. It is now owned by Auckland Council and known as Sunderland Lounge.

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.

Kumeu resident Craig Walker's father was Commanding Officer of Hobsonville's base from September 1961 until August 1965.

Kumeu's Craig Walker grew up on the base from 1961 until 1965 while his father was Commanding Officer.
CALLUM MCGILLIVRAY/ FAIRFAX NZ

Kumeu's Craig Walker grew up on the base from 1961 until 1965 while his father was Commanding Officer.

Walker said he remembers watching movies on Saturday afternoons in the Institute Building.

A movie cost three pennies, and his mother would give him another three to buy ice cream, sherbet and smokos.

"It was a magnificent environment to grow up in," he said.

The building, now known as Sunderland Lounge, was used as a community hall and could be hired from council.

It would be refurbished as it needed some "cosmetic things" done to it, Whyte 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.

 - Stuff

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