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Forgotten Corners: 5 Abandoned Wonders of New Zealand

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Abandoned places are everywhere. From hospitals, towns to courthouses, there is something equally eerie and fascinating about buildings and settlements that are left completely abandoned. Here’s our rundown of five hidden man-made relics in New Zealand, some of which are still scenic in appearance, while others are simply spine-chilling.

 Kingseat Hospital, Auckland

Kingseat Hospital is an abandoned psychiatric facility that closed in 1999. It’s now considered to be one of New Zealand’s most haunted locations, with many reports of spirits haunting the grounds. It was constructed in 1929 with trees and flower gardens grown in the hospital’s grounds. Kingseat grew immensely during the 1930s and 1940s, and by 1947, housed over more than 800 patients. Eventually, the hospital faced closure as psychiatric hospitals were replaced by rehabilitation clinics and community care centres.

Racecourse Building, Central North Island

This two-level abandoned race track building was discovered in 2012 by urban explorers. Little is known about its history and construction, but it’s believed to have been empty for some time. Upon discovery, it was full of leftover machinery and electrical devices. There’s an ancient display system on the outside of the building and an old vault in the middle of the building, as well as a generator and totalizer machine. 

Tuahine Point Lighthouse

At the south end of Wainui Beach, north east of Grisbone is the abandoned Tuahine Point lighthouse. It was in fact the third lighthouse to be built on the Tauhine headland, as the original was destroyed and the second, built in 1911 was declared unsafe due to erosion. During the 1950s, an electric beacon was mounted on the headband to replace the lighthouse lamp. Although it’s abandoned and erosion is eating away at the structure, it makes for an adventurous walk around the rocks, with stunning views of the ocean. 

Seddon House, Hokitika

Established in 1909 in the small town of Hokitika, Seddon house was once home to several government departments, but it is now currently empty. Officially closed in 1980, the building has since become a Hokitika landmark. So, it has been well-preserved, with vintage furniture and interior features still intact, despite the many years of the building being unoccupied. This large courthouse, which has 24 rooms, is up for sale and it could potentially one day be turned into a private palace or a luxury hotel. 


McLean’s Mansion, Christchurch

Built in 1900, McLean’s Mansion is a 53-room home, which first served as a nursing home and then a dental nurses’ hostel and training centre. Designed by Christchurch architect Robert England, the mansion is a combination of Victorian and Jacobean architecture and it is a New Zealand heritage site. At the time of its construction, it was the largest wooden residence in the country. The reason it closed was due to the severe damage it sustained  during the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, and ever since it has faced the threat of demolition. However, it is still a historic homestead that offers an opportunity for restoration for a new owner.  

Our country is awash with abandoned wonders that stand as testaments to a forgotten past. They can be found all across New Zealand, but most are securely locked and not open to the general public. Some of these abandoned buildings are sitting there waiting for an investment and they could easily become flats, private residences, or public facilities. While these abandoned places make for interesting sights, renovation should be on the agenda to put some of these impressive buildings to better use. 

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