Desley Simpson: Deputy Mayor of Auckland

Preserving Auckland's Heritage: Auckland Domain's Restored Band Rotunda Pays Homage to the Past.

In yet another wonderful nod to history, Auckland Domain's iconic band rotunda, a grand 111-year-old landmark, has undergone a meticulous restoration by Auckland Council.

The rotunda now stands as a beacon of historical accuracy, reverting to its original Edwardian colours that evoke the charm of the era in which it was constructed.

Originally gifted to the city by former Auckland Councillor James Mennie in 1913, the rotunda was envisioned as a central hub for musical performances. Over the years, it has become an integral part of the Auckland Domain, hosting various events such as Music in Parks, picnics and even wedding ceremonies. The recent upgrade not only enhances the visual appeal of the area, but it has also preserved the cultural richness embedded in this architectural gem.

The restoration project, completed in December 2023, was guided by the goal of returning the band rotunda to its former glory. Unlike earlier restorations, this recent endeavour focused on achieving historical accuracy. Using original water-coloured plans drawn by a city engineer in 1912, the council adhered to current conservation practices for historic places. This approach involved reintroducing colours that closely mirrored the original palette, providing a true reflection of the band rotunda's Edwardian heritage.

The upgraded bandstand, nestled within the heart of Auckland Domain, encapsulates the city's commitment to preserving its historical treasures. The restoration not only rejuvenates a beloved landmark but also shows the significance of acknowledging and safeguarding Auckland's rich cultural legacy. Now the band rotunda faces the future with a fresh lease on its historical identity and stands as a testament to the enduring importance of heritage preservation in shaping the character of modern cities.

If you haven’t visited Auckland Domain in while, now is a great time. Go and see the Edwardian band rotunda and then wander to the Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects' award-winning Wintergardens. The Wintergardens, designed by Gummer & Ford in 1928, were recognised with an Enduring Architecture award late last year. The barrel-vaulted Heritage 1 listed Victorian glasshouses have also been recently lovingly restored by Auckland Council and house a myriad of rare plant species and botanical displays. (Desley Simpson)

Chair – Auckland Domain Committee

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February 2024