New Zealand House is where you go if you need to speak to an official representing New Zealand in London or get a New Zealand Passport. The High Commissioner of New Zealand works from here. Most country’s have an official house in London which is known as an Embassy and New Zealand’s embassy is in a tall building which was completed in 1963 and is near Piccadilly.
It was designed by architect Robert Matthew and at the time it was built it was quite controversial. It was one of the tallest buildings in London at the time and in the 1950s and early 1960s (which is the time it dates back to) there were not many modernist buildings used for diplomatic purposes. It all worked out however and it is now a listed building (which means it is a very special building and is protected) and a home for New Zealand in London that we can be proud of.
In 1972 Maori wood carver Inia Te Wiata’s pillar Te Pouihi was completed and sited in the reception, towering high up into the floors above.
Another of the best features is the Penthouse. New Zealand official gatherings in London are held up here and it has incredible 360 degree views all around Central London.
During the Olympics in 2012, a big silver fern was put on New Zealand House by Kent Gardner (the founder of Kiwi Kids Abroad) and the New Zealand embassy to show how proud New Zealand was of its athletes and to show the New Zealand athletes that they had all the support from New Zealand Kiwis in London.
The silver fern is a strong emblem that represents a lot of things in New Zealand, from culture through to sport. It was a big job to get it up there as a lot of permissions were needed but the final result was something to really make New Zealand proud during that special time.
You can watch the video of the unveiling of the silver fern by Kent Gardner here on you tube.