Days Bay Wharf Refurbishment

Hutt City Council

Wellington, New Zealand

Bringing life to a historic structure

Days Bay Wharf is a historic timber structure and one of the Wellington region’s most recognisable landmarks. After 125 years of continuous use, the comprehensive rebuild of this Category 2 Historic Place included consultation with wide range of Council personnel and project stakeholders.

Days Bay Wharf 01
Days Bay Wharf 02
Days Bay Wharf 03

Rebuilding one of the Wellington region’s most recognisable landmarks

Days Bay Wharf was originally opened in 1895 to allow steam ferry access to Eastbourne from Wellington. Extended in 1915, the wharf has provided boat and ferry access to Days Bay and Matiu/Somes Island for over 125 years. During this time the wharf’s original timber decking has been replaced with a concrete deck, and a ferry passenger shelter has been added. Ferry services to Wellington ended in 1948, resumed in 1989 and continue to operate today, with East by West Ferries’ new fully electric catamaran ferry scheduled for launch in 2021.

Days Bay Wharf is the oldest of four historic wharves owned and managed by Hutt City Council. Following public consultation in 2017 the Council elected to fully refurbish the Days Bay and Rona Bay Wharves, refurbish Petone Wharf including removal of part of its length (scheduled for 2032), and demolish Point Howard Wharf.

Rona Bay Wharf refurbishment works were completed in December 2018 and the physical refurbishment works at Days Bay Wharf commenced in April 2019, following the busy summer period. After 125 years of continuous use, Days Bay Wharf has required a comprehensive rebuild.

The rebuild of Days Bay Wharf was a challenging project. The full scope of required refurbishment works was not immediately obvious during the initial design and consenting phase, meaning Council needed to approve longer timeframes for the completion of refurbishment works than initially intended. Teredo navalis – commonly called naval shipworm – is a marine borer which causes invisible damage to wooden underwater structures and piles by eating the timber from the inside out. Many of the wharf’s hardwood timber piles were refurbished, treated for an ocean environment and reused, while others were in very poor condition and were removed.