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What is the Carillon?

The Carillon is a musical instrument made up of 74 bells. It is housed in the Carillon Tower, the centrepiece of the National War Memorial at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington.

To read more about the Carillon’s history, visit the Pukeahu Park guide and NZHistory webpages.

Pukeahu Park guide

Bells of remembrance (NZHistory)

Seismic strengthening

The Carillon Tower has been assessed as earthquake prone, meaning it could be damaged in an earthquake. The weak point is some parts of the bell frame. This poses a risk in an earthquake to anyone near the bell frame, but not in the Tower’s public areas. The Carillon Tower is structurally sound in normal circumstances, and there is no risk to people using the park.

A seismic strengthening project is currently underway to perform the work required to reopen the entire National War Memorial building. Some bell frame repairs, and maintenance work will be completed as part of the project.

The deadline for completing the work is May 2027, but we have planned for the work to be completed before that date.

Project goals

This project will ensure the Carillon Tower and bell frames are strengthened so the National War Memorial is safe, accessible and resilient, without compromising its heritage value.

The project will also:

  • Maintain the value of the landscape and environment of the park Ensure the Carillon is playable
  • Ensure the National War Memorial is fully usable for ceremonies and commemorations

Project phases

This project started in mid-2021 and has six phases:

  • Phase 1: Planning
  • Phase 2: Investigation
  • Phase 3: Design and review
  • Phase 4: Consent and procurement
  • Phase 5: Construction
  • Phase 6: Reopening.

We are currently in Phase 5: Construction


Based on the recommendations in the 2022 engineer’s report, a Fluid Viscous Dampers (FVD) seismic strengthening solution has been selected, which involves installing shock absorbers to reduce the movement caused by a large earthquake.

You can find more details in the structural engineer’s reports available below.

Almost all of the work is happening inside the Carillon Tower and will not be visible when complete. The work involves steel reinforcing and installing FVD at the top of the tower with steel columns that run down the tower’s four corners. The FVDs are like a car’s shock absorbers and reduce the shaking of the building during an earthquake.

In addition to the seismic strengthening work, there will also be repairs to the Carillon’s upper bell frame, remedial works on the lower bell frame, and other maintenance works around the building.

Engineer's reports

Carillon tower concept strengthening report

National War Memorial design features report

National War Memorial Carillon Tower drawings

Project updates

Updates will be posted on this website and the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park Facebook page

Pukeahu National War Memorial Park (Facebook)

If you want to receive the project newsletter, email us and ask to be added to the list.

[email protected]