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The Beehive

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The Beehive

Executive Wing of Parliament
Bowen House (left), the Beehive (centre) and Parliament (right)
Beehive (New Zealand)
Location in Wellington
Alternative names Beehive, Whare Mīere
General information
Address Corner of Molesworth Street and Lambton Quay, Wellington

41°16′42″S 174°46′36″E / 41.2784°S 174.7767°E / -41.2784; 174.7767Coordinates: 41°16′42″S 174°46′36″E / 41.2784°S 174.7767°E / -41.2784; 174.7767

Construction started 1969
Completed 1981[1]
Height 72 metres (236 ft)
Design and construction
Architect Sir Basil Spence

The Beehive is the common name for the Executive Wing of the New Zealand Parliament Buildings, located at the corner of Molesworth Street and Lambton Quay, Wellington. It is so-called because of its shape is reminiscent of that of a traditional woven form of beehive known as a "skep".



Scottish architect Sir Basil Spence provided the original conceptual design of the Beehive in 1964. The detailed design of the building was by the Ministry of Works. The Beehive was built in stages between 1969 and 1979.[2] W. M. Angus constructed the first stage - the podium, underground car park and basement for a national civil defence centre - and Gibson O'Connor constructed the ten floors of the remainder of the building.

Bellamy's restaurant moved into the building in the summer of 1975–76 and Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of New Zealand, officially opened the building in 1977. The government moved into the upper floors in 1979. In the late 1990s, there was consideration to move the Beehive behind Parliament House to allow the second stage of Parliament House to be built, as envisaged in 1911. Due to public disapproval, this plan was never carried out.

Facts and figures

The building is ten stories (72 m) high and has four floors below ground. The entrance foyer's core is decorated with marble floors, stainless steel mesh wall panels, and a translucent glass ceiling.[2]

The Beehive's brown roof is constructed from 20 tonnes of hand-welted and seamed copper. It has developed a naturally weathered appearance.

A tunnel leads from the building under Bowen Street, linking the Beehive with parliamentary offices in Bowen House.

The Beehive is extensively decorated with New Zealand art. On the inner wall of the Banquet Hall is a large notable mural by John Drawbridge portraying the atmosphere and sky of New Zealand.

An extension has been built out the front to allow for a new security entrance. A new, bomb-proof mail delivery room has already been built at the rear of the building.

Every calendar featuring NZ scenery has a picture of the building for a month every year.


The top floor is occupied by the Cabinet room, with the Prime Minister's offices on the ninth floor (and part of the eighth). Other floors contain the offices of cabinet ministers.

Other facilities within the building include function rooms and a banqueting hall on the first floor of the Beehive, which is the largest function room in the parliamentary complex. The parliamentary catering facilities of Bellamy’s include a bar known as Pickwicks or 3.2 (due to its position in the building on the third floor and second corridor), Copperfield's café, and the Member's and Member's and Guests restaurants. The building also houses, in its basement, the country’s National Crisis Management Centre. Other facilities include a theatrette and a swimming pool.

The parliament building is used by MPs who hold meetings or are discussing bills or new laws.


Free guided tours lasting up to one hour as well as educational visits for students are available.


External links

  • Beehive information
  • History of New Zealand Parliament buildings
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