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Main Hallway

Landing windows
The Main Hallway almost runs the length of Government House from the Ballroom at the east to the Norrie State Dining Room in the west. It contains many works of art and artefacts reflecting New Zealand’s history and the role of the Governor-General.

The Hallway, with its lush carpets and impressive collections of paintings and artefacts, is one of the most admired parts of Government House Wellington.

The east wing of the corridor houses a display- case containing gifts presented to Governors-General by various Heads of State and foreign dignitaries. A matching cabinet contains some of the gifts given by Māori to the late Sir Paul Reeves during his term (1985-90).

New Zealand art includes a large painting of Wellington by Sir Peter Siddell, presented by Dame Catherine Tizard (1990-96). The case clock immediately outside the Hobson Room (the Governor-General’s study) was made in Scotland in the 18th Century.

A feature of the western end of the hallway are the portraits of the previous Governors and Governors-General, starting with Captain Hobson (1840-42).

The tapestry chairs come from a project started by Lady Freyberg 1950s, whereby New Zealanders could celebrate the upcoming visit of King George VI. The design on the back of each chair is the coat of arms of a New Zealand city or borough, and was embroidered by groups of people in each location. Sadly the King’s visit was postponed and then cancelled due to his failing health.

When the House opened in 1910, lincrusta panels lined the hall and stairwells, trimmed at the top with a dado rail.

Lincrusta is made from a paste of linseed oil and wood flour spread on heavy canvas that is then rolled between embossed steel rollers. As part of the conservation project, the lincrusta panels were to be replaced, but the Government House design was no longer in print. Due to the expense of producing a short run, other methods of local manufacture were investigated. Vacuum-formed plastic produced the closest match to the lincrusta’s level of detail and the panels, with a paint finish, have been installed the length of the hallway.

The Gavin Chilcott-designed carpet runner takes its colour from the flowers of the pohutukawa and rata trees. The restored Matai timber borders on each side of the runner serve as pedestals for the placement of furniture.

More images of the Main Hallway

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