18 January 2010 Media Statement
New Court buildings blend of the old and new
The new Supreme Court sitting alongside the refurbished Old High Court is a fine blend of the old and new, the Yin and
Yang, says Labour Courts spokesperson Rick Barker.
“Each is an outstanding piece of architecture reflecting the different times in which they were designed and built. The
architects have delivered a great refurbishment and a new building that will stand the test of time.”
Commenting on today’s opening of the new Supreme Court building by Prince William, Rick Barker said the original drafts
he received when Minister for Courts were for a plain building.
“But I wanted to see a new Supreme Court that personified the special place which our Supreme Court is and should be. I
was prompted in this by travels in the United States where each town and city had two special buildings, City Hall and
the local court house. They represented a clear statement of the value that the community placed on civic responsibility
and the administration of justice.
“My brief was for a building that would stand the test of time as we are unlikely to build another in the next 100
years. It should be a reflection of the architecture expected at the beginning of the 21st century,” Rick Barker said.
“It was to be a special place and a statement of the value our community placed on the administration of justice, with a
courtroom that befitted the highest court in the country. I wanted a building of which a future generation would say ---
they did a fine job.
“The architects have certainly delivered. Anyone who walks through the foyer into the court will immediately sense the
importance of this room.”
Rick Barker said one new feature he had wanted was an education facility. “I was mindful of all the schools that visit
Wellington and take tours of Parliament. The court is an important institution for our country, and so is the
administration of justice. There were no school tour facilities suitable to demonstrate the role and importance of
justice, but the new court provides this opportunity.
“If we want future generations to appreciate the role and importance of our institutions we have to provide the means. I
am confident that the new court facilities will become an established part of the traditional school tour to Wellington
to visit Parliament, Te Papa and now the Supreme Court.”