Government House gets $500k in Budget

22:16, May 24 2012
Government House
HOME RENOVATIONS: The Budget includes $500,000 for a new Diamond Jubilee Visitor Centre

It's already had a $44 million refurbishment, but work isn't complete at Wellington's Government House.

This year's Budget includes $500,000 for a new Diamond Jubilee Visitor Centre at the house, which is the official residence of Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae.

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The centre will be built in existing out-buildings and will help mark the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's reign.

The project follows the completion last year of a $44m project to restore and earthquake strengthen the historic building, which opened in 1910. But the visitors centre does not mean the house will be open to the public every day.

Official secretary at Government House Niels Holm said the centre would initially cater to school groups with educational programmes about the history of the house and Government in New Zealand.

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"While thousands of people visit Government House every year to attend one of the many events held here, or to walk through during the regular and popular open days, in the longer-term, the Visitor Centre will act as a gateway to enhance public access to the House."

The visitor centre has been welcomed by Sir Jerry, saying the house was an important historic building in Wellington, and the centre would be a "fitting tribute" to the Queen.

"Like Parliament, the National War Memorial and Te Papa Tongarewa, Government House is a place all New Zealanders should have the opportunity to visit, so they can learn more of its history, heritage and role as the venue for some of our most important state occasions."

About 10,000 people visit Government House every year.

Contact Katie Chapman
Wellington reporter
Email: katie.chapman@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @katiechapman28

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