Topic: Atkinson Building (1966-68)

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139-141 Devon Street West

Atkinson Building on Devon Street

The six-storey Atkinson Building was constructed next to the old post office on Devon Street to house New Plymouth’s government employees – the staff of the Ministry of Works, the Forest Service and the departments of Lands and Survey, Labour, Justice, Audits and Agriculture.

The 50,000 square foot building was designed by Government architect Fergus Sheppard, assistant Government architect John Blake-Kelly and Whanganui district architect Nelson Carnell. The contract was won by Roebuck Construction Limited and the foundation stone was laid on Thursday 3 November 1966 by local MP Ernest Aderman.

Costing just under £425,000, the building was officially opened by Deputy Prime Minister John (Jack) Marshall on Thursday 3 October 1968.

The Atkinson Building was named after Sir Harry Albert Atkinson (1831-1892), a Taranaki farmer who went on to serve as New Zealand’s premier (prime minister) four times. Atkinson’s grandson was present at the opening.

At the time of writing (2021) the Atkinson Building was home to New Plymouth’s Family Court, several solicitors and barristers and the Insight Learning Academy. It had previously provided office space for judges from the nearby courthouse until refurbishments were made to the court in 2016.

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