THIS MAGNIFICENT CITY LANDMARK HAS BEEN FULLY RESTORED AND NOW PROVIDES A GRAND ENTRANCEWAY TO THE UNDERGROUND BRITOMART TRAIN STATION.
Built in the same Imperial Baroque style as the Auckland Town Hall, the Chief Post Office (CPO) was designed by Claude Paton, together with government architect John Campbell.
Construction began in 1909 on reclaimed land chosen for its proximity to the port, railway and tram terminus. It was opened by Prime Minister William Massey on 20 November 1912, before a crowd of more than 8000 Aucklanders.
For several decades the building was the main postal and communications hub of the city, offering mail, telegraph and banking and pension payment facilities. It was the central telephone exchange and the rooftop housed Auckland’s radio wireless service, providing contact with ships at sea.
Ornamental arches once stood either side of the main building, leading to the Queen Street Railway Station behind, but were demolished in the 1930s.
Rescued from ruin
In 1992 the Post Office closed and the building fell into a state of disrepair. It suffered major damage during a fire and became overrun with pigeons.
Auckland City Council purchased the building in 1995 as part of the plan for a downtown transport interchange. Following refurbishment of the east-facing part of the building, it was reopened in 2003 as the main entrance to the Britomart Transport Centre.
Throughout 2005 Cooper and Company undertook a major refurbishment of the upper levels and the Queen Street lobby of the building.
In consultation with architects Jasmax and heritage specialists Salmond Reed, the mosaic tiled floor, glazed wall tiles, staircases and the stained glass dome of the old banking chamber were meticulously restored.
The Queen Street entrance was opened to the public in early 2006 and three upper floors, including the turret levels, were let as premium office space.
The total CPO Building refurbishment has received numerous accolades for the care taken and the quality of the finished project.
IN THIS BUILDING
Britomart Transport Centre
Maersk New Zealand
Find The CPO Building
12 Queen Street