A street with a stream and a turntable

2014: Looking down Woodward St towards Lambton Quay. Robert Jahnke's Spinning Top sculpture sits where the car turntable used to be.
1 of 2WELLINGTON SCULPTURE TRUST
2014: Looking down Woodward St towards Lambton Quay. Robert Jahnke's Spinning Top sculpture sits where the car turntable used to be.
Now: The view in 2014. Druid Chambers is still standing, but is now named Woodward House. Woodward St is now shadowed by highrise buildings.
2 of 2AMY JACMAN/FAIRFAX NZ
Now: The view in 2014. Druid Chambers is still standing, but is now named Woodward House. Woodward St is now shadowed by highrise buildings.

In the 19th century, Woodward St was part of Kumutoto Stream, which ran from its spring in Kelburn to the ocean, where Lambton Quay now sits on reclaimed land.

Woodward St was named after Jonas Woodward, one of the English settlers who arrived on the Clifton in 1842.

Woodward was involved with many administrative activities in the new settlement: he was the treasurer of the Provincial Council, was one of the leaders of the temperance movement and was the founder and pastor of the Congregational Church.

Wellingtonian and prominent feminist Mary Taylor commended him in one of her letters to Charlotte Bronte.

Kumutoto Stream isn't actually gone. It still runs through a tunnel under the concrete to its outlet at the Kumutoto Wharf on the Wellington Waterfront.

In the 1830s, the Kumutoto Pa sat on the ridge overlooking the stream. That ridge is now The Terrace and the Kumutoto Pa has been replaced by The Wellington Club, New Zealand's oldest private club.

Wellington artist Kedron Parker is working on a Kumutoto Stream project that highlights the plight of the culverted stream and alludes to its presence still.

The sound installation, Kumutoto Stream, will be in the tunnel at the top of Woodward St from February 16 till March 2.

It samples sounds of local birds and running streams to imagine the area in its natural state, before development.

This isn't the first work of art in Woodward St.

At the top of the street on the old turntable sits Spinning Top, by Robert Jahnke.

The large stainless steel spinning top is a European version of the Maori potaka, and includes references to both histories in the form of hieroglyphics of a beehive, waka, sailing ships and two taniwha who formed the harbour and surrounding hills with their movements, according to Maori legend.

The spinning top is also a nod to the former turntable, which was installed in late 1970s at a cost of $19,381 to the city council.

It would turn cars around in the narrow cul-de-sac when Woodward St was open to cars.

Motorists would drive on to it, reach out the window, pull a rope connected to an operating arm above and let go when they wanted the table to stop.

However, it was never fully appreciated by many motorists, who complained it was too slow, and preferred to do three-point turns in the nearby alleyway.

By 1979, the turntable was mainly used by children, families and even lawyers in formal suits who enjoyed taking a spin in their lunch-breaks.

It was put up for sale in 1993, but attracted minimal interest, and was eventually taken by the owner of Sunshine Pavers.

Woodward St is also home to several historic buildings.

Druid Chambers, located on the corner of Woodward St and Lambton Quay, was once the headquarters of the United Ancient Order of Druids.

Built in 1924, Druid Chambers also housed a film company, patent offices and a gown and lingerie shop on the first floor.

It is now known as Woodward House.

At the top of Woodward St is Woodward Chambers, an Edwardian house commissioned by Henry Rawson and designed by Crichton and McKay.

It was originally a 10-bedroom house, when The Terrace was lined with the homes of Wellington's wealthiest residents.

It is now home to Chow, a favourite Wellington eatery with two-for-one specials on cocktails and meals, Kazu Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar, and Turikan Design.

For those epicureans who have not yet noticed the long line snaking from Woodward St around the corner on to Lambton Quay, Sushi B is also located in the street.

Woodward St was also the first location of the now Australasian coffee company Coffee Supreme.

The popular Lambton Square shopping complex is on the corner of Woodward St and Lambton Quay.

OTHER WOODWARD ST FACTS

The first schoolmaster in Wellington had his school on the corner of Woodward and Lambton.

The street had a Progressive Committee formed by retailers to transform it into a happening place. There were two fires in the Prime Property House - Asiana Day Spa - probably caused by towels in the dryer.

The Kumutoto Stream was the first stream in Wellington to be culverted (in 1866).

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The Wellingtonian