The Eye of the Fish

November 19, 2018

Swan Lane and Garrett Street

There’s a public consultation exercise going on, and Wellington City Council wants your input. They’re keen to know what you like about the area between Marion and Victoria – from Vivian to Ghuznee – centred around Swan Lane and Garrett St. Still confused where? Here’s a map:
(Post-script: I’ve corrected and updated this map a little from the original Council document. All sites drawn from memory – it’s my local. Apologies if I have anything wrong).
Also: see another version, further embellished, down below

We’ve written about this area before, here (10 years ago almost to the day), and here when it was transformed as part of Cuba-Dupa.
Swan Lane can be a brilliant venue, it is perfect for many things, including music, dancing, movies, and of course, sitting in the sun, eating:
Even Glover Park comes alive on a sunny day, and especially with the added addition of live acts:
They haven’t given us long to comment, but it’s evident that they indeed want as many comments as they can get. There’s a survey available online, here:
Consultation closes on 28 Nov, at 5.00pm, so be in quick.

They ask a series of questions, such as:
“What do you like about Swan Lane and/or Garrett Street? Describe some of the things about these areas we should keep, protect, or preserve.”
“What would you like to change or remove from the Swan Lane and/or Garrett Street area?”

We put this in words many years ago, with Max saying:
“there’s a piece of land between Ghuznee and Vivian that is the absolutely perfect place for a park. A park for People, not the ground level park for Cars that it is now. Yes, the small square of asphalt known as the Swan Lane Car Park – that goes through to the Marion St Post Office, has been decreed by some to be the most divine spot possible for a park for people. It’s certainly wasted on the cars that sit there all day seeping oil into the asphalt.”

I’d encourage you to encourage the Council, that this land needs to be better utilised for all of Wellington. Please submit your submission to the Council on this one!

Post-Post-Script: Sorry – once I started I couldn’t stop. Here’s my design starter for 10. Green indicates park (not necessarily grass) and I think it needs to link up with Glover in a meaningful way. Sorry Monty. Also – pedestrianise this part of Cuba St – why not? Or at least, acknowledge that it is already a shared street, and that here, People Rule! (Not cars). Whaddya reckon?

Andy Foster
19 - 11 - 18

It would be great to get the quality submissions I know that Eye of the Fish readers are well and truly able to provide.

Swan Lane – couldn’t agree more. It really works as a space when it’s available. It’s the mix of high pedestrian area, the buildings and activities around it, sunny aspect, and links between Cuba and Marian Streets. Iona Pannett and I have been pushing for several years for a commitment to more / better park space in the Central City. This concept should come through in Let’s Get Wellington Moving. What will be important is location. For me Swan Lane and Te Aro Park are two potential opportunities.

The other thing to look at is the potential for connecting Garrett Street to Victoria Street which should be straightforward and a really good pedestrian link.

Always happy to talk more.



19 - 11 - 18

How about fully pedestrianizing the that chunk of Cuba Street, ( basically extend the existing Cube mall….

You would probably have to make the lower portion a “shared space”, (Garett/Swan to Ghuznee.. … but fully bollard it from Garett south to Vivian …..
( It would not be that much different to what has happned with Lombard, with one part fully pedestrian, while the other is mainly a driveway to a parking building…)

That swan lane car park is actually owned by Wilson… not just leased, so I’m guessing they would want their pound of flesh to exit it

19 - 11 - 18

Thanks Andy – just a question for you, which I hope you may be able to answer – the Eye of the Fish does not usually put in submissions to Council, as that would mean stating the author’s real name and address. So, I suspect that no notice is taken of the blog comments at all, other than a general raising of consciousness. Can you confirm that either way?

19 - 11 - 18

greenwelly – back in 2008, a contributor noted that the Swan Lane car park was owned by:

Street Address: 153 – 157 Cuba Street, Te Aro
Description: A paved parking lot with about 60 spaces.
Tenant List: Operated by Wilson Parking.
Owner: Pavilion Properties Ltd, 9 Box Hill, Khandallah, Wellington 6004. Pavilion Properties is owned and directed by Ian W Utting of Khandallah.
Sales History: Macklin Holdings Ltd bought properties 8, 9 and 11 from the Public Trustee for $1,200,000 in September 1994. This property was bought by Pavilion Properties Ltd in May 1995.
Street Frontages: 24.57m to Cuba Street.
Site Area: 1,008 sqm
Title Details: Lot 2 DP 79547; CT 46A/256.

Pavilion Properties does not seem to have sold anything, as far as I can see. Or do you know something I don’t ?

19 - 11 - 18

Levi, it’s survey rather than a consultation, and the only personal information requested (but not required) is an email address – so answer away!

I’d also like to see the Garrett-Bute link upgraded – squeezing past the parked is less than ideal.

20 - 11 - 18

Somebody – perhaps it was Max – made a suggestion that the council could offer a land swap of the former cabbage patch at the corner of Manners St (which I believe it still owns) with the Swans Lane carpark. The city would get something worthwhile built in place of the 30-year-old “temporary” Dukes Arcade and a town square for Cuba Quarter. All it would need is an active edge to the buildings on the north and east and some snazzy paving.

20 - 11 - 18

I believe that milk crate and custom are located in the buildings below their current position. They are currently being shown in the Toomath’s building (which I believe would make a fantastic public ground space entry to a new park linking through to Ghuznee Street.) It has a really fantastic rear yard that backs onto the SL carpark with some really mature Nikau.

I wonder what the plans are for that building, it’s been empty and stickered for some time now

20 - 11 - 18

Levi, WCC’s online property map
153 Cuba Street, Te Aro
Fee Simple, 1/1, Lot 2 Deposited Plan 79547, 1,008 m2
Owners Wilson Parking New Zealand Limited
Survey area (ha) 0.1008

This indicates the council seem to think Wilson own it…. I guess unless someone goes and searches the title at LINZ we wont know either way….

Andy Foster
20 - 11 - 18

Hi Levi – just don’t make comments or submissions in the name of the fish ! Blog comments won’t get officially picked up, though those of us who read them may well pick up good ideas from them :)

20 - 11 - 18

Alfonso – thanks. I’ve taken your advice and made those adjustments, plus a few more. See revised plans above.

Starkive – wasn’t me. Might have been Max. But I’m lost. Cabbage patch? Do you mean Te Aro Pa(rk)? Or are you saying that Dukes was once a cabbage patch? Wasn’t it the site of Barretts Hotel?

Betterbee, Greenwelly, and Andy – thank you all!

20 - 11 - 18

It was the site of the Roxy cinema, demolished for no good reason in the 70s. and replaced for a while by this…

The Dukes was a temporary knock-up while property values sagged and it has been sitting there rusting away for the best part of 40 years.

21 - 11 - 18

Starkive, you are a permanent source of wonder and amusement for me – brilliant local knowledge. I hereby promise from this moment onwards, never to take a bus past Duke’s Arcade without saying “Cabbages”. Loudly. And possibly more than once.

So, oh local knowledge guru – despite living in Whanganui – where was the Barretts Hotel then? Was it on the opposite side of the road? And what do you think of my revised map ?

21 - 11 - 18

Starkive, The old Britannia/Roxy site is only a part of the Dukes building though…
The corner of the block was the Duke of Edinburgh Hotel..

That’s where the “Dukes” name comes from

And it does not appear to be owned by the Council

21 - 11 - 18

Barretts was way down the other end of Lambton Quay, roughly opposite Midland Park I’d calculate. It was still there in the 1980s with access from the Terrace through the 1860 Bar – a kind of liquored-up Cobb & Co, with a house band whose members probably all work for Matinee Idle.

As for the map… The prospect of weaving freely between Glover and Swan is enticing, although the laneway through Monty’s might strike some snags. Don’t forget the Patel whanau has form when it comes to resisting Council bureaucracy. Is the “restored Albemarle” a development I have missed out on or is it part of your Hausmann-like vision? in the interests of Cuba history I think you should mark McLeavey at 147. And finally, what a lot of architects!

For a bit more nostalgia – I can tell you that “Someone’s House?” on the edge of Glover Park used to be Clare’s nightclub – absolutely the place to be for the smart set, pre-1987 market crash.

21 - 11 - 18

Starkive – see how much you miss us down in Wellington? Come back! All is forgiven! (or did you exile yourself?)

Right – so, yes, you are indeed missing out. There are men on the roof of Albemarle as we speak, putting scaffold all over the back of the building. I think that they may have received a WCC EQ grant or $$ for strengthening in the last round? I’m not sure if it is going to go back to its former glory days as a high class brothel (is there any other kind?) – perhaps the new Clare’s can open there instead? I can’t believe you could ever have had a nightclub in that old house – either smart set or low dive set – either way, it looks far too tiny! But it may explain the very 80s looking details the building still has.

McLeavey stays on in the upper floors – all three Arts studios stay – but new bar/cafe to come on the ground floor in place of the pointless jewellers, opening onto the new park. See my vision now? Like Hausmann, all I need now is a cannon…

Re the invasion of Montyland – I merely chose to demolish that as it is, without doubt, the most crap piece of building on the whole of Cuba St. It is a blank facade, covered with a graffiti spray job, and honestly – it can go. Monty and the clan would not have to go though – think of the induced traffic! They could have stalls either side of the central walk through, and sell us hot Indian Currys and spicy samosas as we saunter through.

Regarding architects – there are probably a whole lot more that I don’t even know about. Some of them still coming out of the woodwork. It’s all blossoming down here mate!

21 - 11 - 18


If you are looking for some more background of the haunts of the 80s try here
( it also includes a photo of the

stuart gardyne
5 - 12 - 18

starkive – almost right about Barretts Hotel. It was in Lambton Quay but at the south end. It was on the cnr of Plimmers Lane

7 - 12 - 18

Thanks Stuart – good to know. Nice to see that you are still reading – and commenting! Thanks!