Visitors are welcome to enjoy Parliament’s grounds, which are used regularly for many kinds of public gatherings. From the grounds you can admire Parliament’s buildings, the flags on the many flagpoles, the rose and camellia gardens, fine ironwork on the gates and lamp standards, and commemorative statues and plaques.
Parliament House façade
Huge marble columns dominate the front of Parliament House. The stonework consists of Coromandel granite at the base and Takaka marble on the upper storeys. This stonework was carefully cleaned and restored between 1992 and 1995.
New Zealand’s Coat of Arms is carved in marble above the bronze gates of the main entrance to Parliament House.
Two New Zealand flags are flown every day on the forecourt, in front of Parliament House. Other flags may be flown between the New Zealand flags to mark special visits or occasions.
New Zealand flags are flown 24 hours, 7 days a week, from the top of Parliament House and on top of the Beehive. When the Governor-General is at Parliament the Governor-General’s flag is flown at the foot of the stairs to Parliament House.
Visitors are welcome to enjoy the trees and gardens in Parliament’s grounds, including the beautiful rose garden in front of the Library building and the ‘Kate Sheppard’ camellia border next to it. ‘Kate Sheppard’ camellias are named after a leading New Zealand suffragist.
The design of Parliament’s iron gates incorporates the initials of King George V, who was the monarch when the gates were made. The iron lamp standards, and possibly the gates, were manufactured by a British firm, Birmingham Guild Ltd.
Statues and plaques
There are several statues and plaques in Parliament’s grounds.
The most prominent is a bronze statue of Richard John Seddon at the front of the main forecourt. Richard John Seddon was New Zealand’s longest serving Prime Minister. He was Prime Minister from 1893 to 1906.
The Cook Bicentenary Plaque is in front of the Beehive. This plaque commemorates the arrival of Captain James Cook in New Zealand in 1769.