08 / The Beehive

One of the most important, and unusual looking, buildings in New Zealand is the Executive Wing of Parliament in Wellington, which houses the Cabinet offices and the Prime Minister’s Department. For reason of shape rather than the activity within it, the building is popularly known as The Beehive. The distinctive circular form was the result of a sketch made in 1964 by visiting British architect Sir Basil Spence and, according to rumour, was inspired by another well-known image in New Zealand, the design on the Beehive matchbox. Construction of the 14-storey Beehive began in 1970, and was completed in 1981. An informal term for a politician or other occupant of the building is a ‘beehiver’; errant politicians are referred to as ‘misbeehivers’.

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