21 July, 2023
Over the next 18 months, the Royal New Zealand Navy Reserve Unit, New Zealand Army Reserve Units based in Kensington Army Hall, and the Defence Careers office, will re-locate to a new Defence Facility on Cumberland Street (previously Farmlands).
The two NZDF-owned properties - Kensington Army Hall in Bridgman Street and HMNZS Toroa in St Andrew Street - have both been assessed by Dunedin City Council as being earthquake-prone.
The Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Air Vice-Marshal Tony Davies, said that while remedial work had been done in recent years, parts of the buildings had to be isolated from routine use to ensure staff safety.
“Remedial actions have mitigated the risk associated with the buildings, but they were never intended to provide a long-term solution to the structural issues in buildings of this age,” he said.
The Kensington Army Hall was built in 1915, while the Otago Division of the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve (later to be commissioned HMNZS Toroa) was established in 1928 and shared the Army Hall before moving to its current site in the central city in 1948.
“Co-locating our various Dunedin facilities into an engineer-approved, fit-for-purpose building will not only provide a safe working environment but there will be real benefits that come from integrating our 150-plus Otago-based permanent and Reserve NZDF personnel into the one location,” Air Vice-Marshal Davies said.
The NZDF took possession of the yet-to-be-named Cumberland Street building last month and work will now commence on the internal design, alteration and fit-out to meet each unit’s specific requirements.
It is anticipated that this work will be complete in the latter part of next year with the potential for some units to be able to move in earlier than that.
In line with government requirements, the vacated NZDF-owned buildings in Bridgman Street and St Andrews Street will be disposed of in accordance with the Public Works Act.