Masons Lane

FIND THESE STEPS – 114 Lambton Quay and from the Terrace at 39 The Terrace.

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Recognising the need to improve these much-used steps, in 2015 Wellington City Council decided to rebuild the steps to ‘transform the whole area’, and Councilor Nicola Young told the Dominion Post that they decided to open the steps to more light because ‘it’s too scary at the moment.’

And you probably would agree with her. The previous steps were dark, steep, and dismal, but enlivened by a bright mural. The mural was left to crumble and, over time,  graffiti appeared. At some earlier time, someone had decided to provide some interest and spirit to the climb.

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From 2014 – a dark and dismal staircase but with a good attempt to liven the experience.

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And Peter Blake appears to be helping with the original paint work.

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City Council’s efforts were full-on, and you notice the difference from Lambton Quay.

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Little history of the lane appears to be known. Even Ms Irvine-Smith, in Streets of My City, reports little about this passageway other than it was ‘originally a track up the cliff to the Terrace over a section owned by W. Mason’, who owned a blacksmith shop.

Paperspast includes  a reference to a letter to the Wellington newspaper The Evening Post, 29 January 1913, in which the author, signed “Early Memories” offers his or her own history of the steps:

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Evening Post, 29 January 1913, CC-NZ-by-NC-SA


The recent renovations add greenery as well.

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And Council now sponsors ‘Masons Screen’, a public screen which displays local artist’s videos on a monthly rotation and programmed by CIRCUIT Artist Film and Video Aotearoa New Zealand.

Pause, if you can, and catch the latest video – and enjoy what is certainly one unique set of stairs. Bravo Wellington!

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