Read all about it: we've moved

HANNAH MCKEE
Last updated 09:18 16/06/2014
Gerard Watt

Brighter and better: Fairfax central region general manager Gerard Watt at The Dominion Post's new building.

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The lights have been turned off at the Dominion Post building in Boulcott St, but the paper's new home further up the road is brighter and better than ever.

The 300-plus Wellington-based Fairfax NZ staff have moved from the five-storey office at 40 Boulcott St to a single 2800 square metre open-plan floor at Telecom Central, with a main entrance in Willis St.

The move was prompted by an engineering assessment that found the 26-year-old Dominion Post building was less than 30 per cent of new building standards.

This was discovered during assessments in November 2013, when the company was looking at how the building could be modified to encourage open- environment working.

"We like to call this 'activity- based working' - it allows for a more collaborative way of working," Fairfax central region general manager Gerard Watt said.

"As soon as we got the assessment, we decided we'd move. The primary reason was a health and safety risk for staff and, secondly, we knew this building wasn't going to be an ideal environment for our new way of working.

"For those reasons we thought we'd better have a look over Christmas for a new house."

Watt said one of Fairfax's main priorities was that staff should be located in the heart of Wellington.

"We wanted to be close to central services such as government - from a reporting perspective - and also nearer to a lot of our customers.

"We had a good hunt over the Christmas period, knocking on a lot of doors. One alternative was Radio New Zealand House. It was important we were near our six- storey car park so journalists could get out and be close to the motorway."

Telecom Central ticked all the boxes, Watt said.

"I guess it's like looking for a new house, you go into one and think 'this is fantastic!' Then you see some others - it's fair to say there is available space in Wellington - but the infrastructure like carpets and air conditioning would need a lot of work."

The new technology, including new audio-visual systems, laptops for all staff, ergonomic furniture and a collaborative working environment, is based on the "real-time working" model in Fairfax's Sydney office, which won a Global Innovation Award this year.

While the majority of the old furniture and technology would be donated or auctioned for charity, Watt said some things would take the trip up the road.

"Up on the wall there [in his former office], there's the last page of The Evening Post and the first page of The Dominion Post, and Stuff.co.nz's first home page - things we want to take with us to tip our hat to our history."

In addition to the move, Watt said about $20 million was being invested in upgrading Fairfax's printing plant at Petone.

BIG CHANGES

1907 The Dominion is published for the first time, on September 26, the day New Zealand became a dominion.

1928 The paper moves from Plimmer Steps to Mercer St.

1965 Sister paper The Sunday Times (later to become the Sunday Star-Times) is launched.

1976 The Dominion moves to the Press House home of The Evening Post in Willis St.

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1988 The Dominion and The Evening Post shift from Willis St to Boulcott St.

1990 Petone printing plant commissioned.

2002 The Dominion Post and The Evening Post merge to become The Dominion Post.

2014 The Dominion Post shifts from Boulcott St to the Telecom Central building, Willis St.

- The Dominion Post

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