After an extensive refurbishment and strengthening programme, Erskine Chapel is now open for bookings.


My Wellington, told by Ian Cassels

More people living in the city could lower rates.

As told to Deborah Morris (The Post/Stuff). Image by Monique Ford/Stuff. 

Wellington property developer Ian Cassels, from The Wellington Company, who has bought buildings all over the capital, was born in Belfast but came to New Zealand with his family as a child. He loves Wellington and wants it to hum again.

What part of Wellington do you live in, and why?

I live in Mt Victoria and used to live in Left Bank in Cuba Street, but I think of myself as living in Wellington city. I love Wellington.

My favourite thing about this part of Wellington is

The community and heritage and the arts, it’s a community not just a government town. It’s a wonderful part of New Zealand, where you can walk everywhere, people visiting here always say that to us. It has a buzz. You can walk up and down Lambton Quay and there will be three other people thinking the same thing as you.

A hidden gem in my hood is…

Cuba Street for me, it used to be my hub, there is a fantastic sourdough bakery bottom of Left Bank. Then there is Floriditas​ where you can see people like Stephen Fry​, Grant Robertson,​ Paddy Gower.​ It’s full of minds, and you could have wonderful conversations. You can see the mayor and the prime minister, and it's all accessible. It does sound like I have a share in it (he doesn’t.)

If you’re looking for somewhere to eat in the city you can’t go past…

Logan Brown - used to own the building, it’s always good or Little India, I’ve had some nice lunch and dinners there. Or Concord where the Lido used to be. I’ve had a beautiful steak there. Olive is a fantastic place too – nice and relaxed.

The most contentious issue on my neighbourhood is…

Probably the most contentious issue is cycling, although I’m not going to go there. I think the rates rise in Wellington if it is going to keep going will challenge a lot of people in terms of cost of living. I’d like to see more people living in the city, the intensification of Te Aro and the CBD. About 80,000 people come into the city each day. There is infrastructure that copes with this. If we had more people in the city it would mean more rate payers, increasing the rating base and could lower them.

The perfect Saturday morning in the city...

A walk anywhere (in the city). It’s fantastic, there is building going on all over town. We need to do more of it. It’s amazing how much we are changing, there used to be painters and panel beaters and now there are cafés.

When I need to clear my head, I go to

Still walking, that’s where you meet people.