My Dunedin Itinerary

Transformation for iconic building

16 September 2013

Construction work on the former Dunedin North Post Office has transformed one of Dunedin’s most iconic buildings into a beautiful and enlivened space for the community, exhibitions and venue hire. The building, which has a Category 2 listing with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust has been under redevelopment since late last year and is soon to open as the renamed Otago Museum H D Skinner Annex.

Refurbishments have been made to both the ground and first floors, with the addition of a North-facing glass conservatory. The redevelopment, designed by McCoy and Wixon and undertaken by Naylor Love, has created an exhibition space on the ground floor, called the Postmaster Gallery; the Roast Office, a small coffee window run by the Museum Café; and five new venues available for hire on both the ground and first floor. These venues are architecturally stunning, incorporating the beauty of the building’s Oamaru stone and bluestone exterior with a complimentary modern interior. Centrally located, these small to medium venues are all filled with natural light.

The first floor offers three venues:

  • Ted McCoy Room, ideal for meetings for up to 10 people
  • Perpetual Trust Lounge, perfect for seminars up to 20 in theatre style
  • Theomin Balcony, a stunning conservatory, ideal for (but not limited to) cocktail events or special dinners. The ground floor also offers two venues:
    • Otago Community Trust Conservatory, a spacious light filled conservatory ideal for working breakfasts
    • Postmaster Gallery, a multi-purpose space ideal for medium sized meetings and available for hire throughout the summer season   

Situated on the corner of the Museum Reserve, the building itself has a long history of serving the community. First constructed in 1879, it operated as a Post Office until the 1960s. In 1971 the building was leased to the Otago Art Society for classes and as an exhibition space. In 2010 the Otago Museum was granted a 33-year lease of the building by the Dunedin City Council. The interior of the building was showing wear and tear and extensive work to repurpose the space has subsequently been undertaken, which has preserved the building’s heritage elements while making it an inviting place for a wide variety of activities once more.

The redevelopment of the building has been made possible through the generous support of Perpetual Trust, Otago Community Trust, the Dr Marjorie Barclay Trust, Alexander McMillan Trust and Trustees Executors. “Working with the local Historic Places Trust has added a special dimension to this project,” says Ian Griffin, Director Otago Museum. “Together, and with Architect John McCoy, we have ensured an authentic treasuring of the past while pragmatically designing a new future for the building.”

The Museum’s Tourism and Venues Coordinator, Jess Ralfe, is excited about the new opportunities the Annex creates. For more information about these stunning new venues, or to view the spaces, contact Jess on: 03 474 7476 or venues@otagomuseum.govt.nz

For further information contact

Bree Jones

+64 21 865 111