Building News

We will post all news about our quest for a new museum building on this page.


31 May 2018

What's happening with the new Museum?

Across the summer, the Museum team were been working with Warren and Mahoney on the design brief. Over autumn, our talented architects Fiona and Alex have been working on the concept design, encompassing our ideas as well as those gathered from the community when we first began this project. The next stage is to work through aspects of this with Council Planners and some of our stakeholders. We are much looking forward to bringing the results of that design work to the community for sharing and feedback once it has got through those initial stages. Keep an eye out for public information sessions in the second half of 2018.

2 November 2017


Or at least the land on which to build one … the Christchurch City Council today voted to gift us the land at 33/35 London St, next to Lyttelton Library.

“This is a great day for Lyttelton Museum,” says Peter Rough, Chair of our Development Committee. “We very much want to be an active hub for the Lyttelton Harbour/Whakaraupō communities and now our plans for a new building can move forward.” 

It’s a big project. “We currently have $600,000. Owning the land will make it easier for us to start raising money. We estimate that we will need to raise about another $5M for the construction and fit-out of the new museum.”

We hope we can open the doors of the new museum late in 2019.

17 April 2017


LHMS has chosen Christchurch firm of architects Warren & Mahoney to work with it on the new museum building.

‘We’re excited to be involved because we see this as being really important for Lyttelton and the harbour area,’ says Graeme Finlay, who will be the lead architect and has strong personal links to Lyttelton Harbour Whakaraupō. Graeme adds that among the team working on the museum project is Fiona Short. ‘Last year, Fiona won a gold award at the National Awards of the New Zealand Institute of Architects for a multi-residential complex on which she was the project architect. She was one of the youngest architects ever to get that award.’

Fiona sees the new museum as providing a real catalyst in Lyttelton’s cultural landscape. ‘I want the museum to be more than a building which stores and exhibits objects – it can engage with the community to share and celebrate their stories.’

‘We approached five architectural firms,’ says Peter Rough, Chair of the LHMS development team. ‘All were strong contenders, but Warren & Mahoney’s proposal stood out.’

We hope to hear in May about the site in London St but in the meantime LHMS will work with Warren & Mahoney to develop a building brief. ‘We’re at the start of that process,’ says Peter. ‘Before the architects can begin to design a building for us, they need to understand what our practical requirements are, as well as how we want to use the spaces. We’re looking forward to working with Graeme and his team.’

22 March 2017


We’re another step closer to having a new museum building! On Monday 13th, the Community Board unanimously voted to support the recommendation that the City Council gift the Museum Society the land at 33 and 35 London St. This is a major milestone.

Seven months ago, following our deputation to the full City Council, staff were asked to investigate issues and options associated with such a gift and report back to the Community Board. Peter Rough (Chair) and Thérèse Angelo from the Development Committee (supported by committee members Wendy McKay, Ann Jolliffe and Liz Grant) were at the meeting on Monday, providing Board members with a brief background to the project and answering their many questions. There was a high degree of interest and engagement from Board members, and Deputy Mayor Andrew Turner in particular spoke very passionately about the project, saying how appropriate it would be for a community building to be one of the first to be built on London Street, and how it would be a key part of the civic heart of Lyttelton. We can only agree wholeheartedly with that!

The next step is more work by Council staff, including community consultation to ensure there are no objections to the gift of the land. We hope a final decision will be made by the end of May. We are very grateful for the ongoing support of the Community Board.

33 and 35 London St, which we hope will become the site of the new museum building. Photographer: Peter Rough

33 and 35 London St, which we hope will become the site of the new museum building. Photographer: Peter Rough

21 July 2016


Members of the Lyttelton Historical Museum Society have voted to proceed with plans to acquire the former Council Service Centre site on London Street in Lyttelton, for the purposes of building a new museum. The decision was taken at the Society’s Annual General Meeting, held on Sunday, 10 July.

Chair of the Lyttelton Museum Development Committee, Peter Rough, said "We are delighted to have finally selected a site that we would like to acquire for a new museum.  We took our time to thoroughly investigate a number of potential sites and carry out due diligence before we decided on the Service Centre site.  We have advised the Council of our interest in the site and look forward to a positive outcome for the Society."

The site on London Street is in the heart of Lyttelton with views across the harbour, and easy access for locals and visitors alike. The local Community Board supports the exciting new plans. "Should the Council be amenable to the Society acquiring the former Service Centre site it is hoped that a new museum could open as early as 2019", said Board Member Ann Joliffe.

The previous museum building was lost as a result of the Canterbury earthquake sequence, however the museum collection was rescued and is currently stored at the Air Force Museum of New Zealand.  During the last three years over 8500 items have been catalogued and photographed and are being made progressively available to view online via the Museum's website. 

PDF copy available here.