2 Jan 2018

Architectural jewel opens to public

1:43 pm on 2 January 2018

One of the jewels of Dunedin's heritage crown will be open to the public again later this month after a year-long refurbishment.

The Stuart St building dates to the 1800s.

The Stuart St building dates to the 1800s. Photo: Google

The revamped Stuart Street courthouse, which dates from the late 1800s, has been extensively renovated and earthquake-proofed and it has also been equipped with all modcons, including wi-fi.

New Zealand Law Society Otago branch president John Farrow said the building sits within Dunedin's heritage precinct, along with the railway station and old prison and has many stunning architectural features.

Law courts, Dunedin.

Law courts, Dunedin. Photo: Auckland City

"It's got beautiful Oamaru stone and brickwork towers and the like and ... ceilings [with] ornate decorations ... so it's a beautiful sort of period piece.

"It is one of the oldest, if not the oldest maintained and functioning court building and it has some real mana and gravitas about it ... just that real presence about it for conducting the course of justice."

Mr Farrow said there would be plenty of pomp and ceremony on show when the courthouse officially reopens later this month, including a full ceremonial first sitting.

He said the Chief Justice, the president of the Court of Appeal and the chief Judges of the High and District Courts would attend.

Mr Farrow said Dunedin's legal profession would also put on robes and march from the Dunedin town hall, through the Octagon down to lower Stuart Street to attend the reopening.

"There will be afternoon tea and a function afterwards and the Law Society is hosting a ball and dinner in the evening at the town hall."

Dunedin's heritage precinct was very popular with cruise ship visitors in the summer tourist season and he expected some of them to stop for a look at the revamped courthouse.