University home

Old Government House


Old Government House (1856), corner of Princes Street and Waterloo Quadrant, was the first mansion of its kind built in New Zealand. Classical in style with much of the timber façade cut to resemble stone, it was the seat of government until 1865 when the capital was moved to Wellington.

For the next century it was Auckland's vice-regal residence. Royalty stayed there six times and the present Queen broadcast her Christmas speech to the Commonwealth from upstairs in 1953.
Since being transferred to the University in 1969, the house has been the Staff Common Room Club. It contains a Council reception suite, flats for visiting academics, rooms for the Federation of Graduate Women and a lecture theatre.

Some of the trees in the grounds match Old Government House for antiquity. Two oaks at the north western corner were probably grown from acorns brought from the Great Forest at Windsor and the Royal Oak at Boscobel, Shropshire, where Charles II hid after the battle of Worcester in 1651. The big coral tree and the Norfolk pine at the southern edge of the lawn are said to have been planted by Sir George Grey during his second term as governor (1861-1867).

The University of Auckland Staff Common Room Club

Old Government House (OGH) is home to The University of Auckland Staff Common Room Club (the SCR). This private club is open to current and retired members of University staff, and students of the University studying for a PhD. Primarily a social club, the SCR operates a small bar, oversees a café, organises social functions for its members and manages the building on behalf of the University.

Old Government House Bookings

Meeting and function rooms at Old Government House may be booked for University or private use. The main ground floor rooms can be combined for large groups, and terrace seating overlooking the lawn extends the use of space and the maximum number that can be accommodated.

Due to the age of the building, the first floor rooms are not easily accessible for people with a disability as there is no passenger lift available.

Audio visual equipment is available in most rooms and includes standard whiteboards, data projector, screens and overhead projectors. Other equipment can be arranged on request.

Catering needs at Old Government House are met by one of New Zealand’s most experienced and highly regarded catering companies, Dawsons Catering. Complete menu options are available for breakfast, morning tea, formal dinner or reception.


Use by non-University groups and individuals will be charged depending on requirements. Prices are available on application.


Main Dining Room Maximum 80 seated Formal dining
Member's Lounge 100-120 standing Ideal reception room
Vice-Chancellor's Suite 60-70 standing
20-24 meeting
30 seminar
20-40 Formal dining
Very good smaller reception room
Not ideal for seminars or presentations
Federation of Graduate Women's Suite (1st Floor) 60-80 seminar Very good seminar/training room
Upstairs Dining Room 10-20 meeting Very good meeting space


Tim Biggs
SCR Secretary Manager

Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 85341
Fax: +64 9 373 7561