Forty years after she asked her father to buy the dilapidated Chevening flats in Wellington as a teenager, Susan Price this week gifted the restored 1920s apartment block to Heritage New Zealand.

The four-storey classically styled 1929 building in the suburb of Kelburn, is one of the first examples of luxury apartments in Wellington.

Her parents, Hugh and Beverley Price, bought the Chevening in 1979 for $74,000, after it had been on the market for some time at $95,000.

"When I saw the building for sale it was very rundown, extremely shabby," Price said of her first impressions as an 18-year-old.


"I asked my father to give the real estate agent a ring. I loved Chevening from that moment, and dreamed of its restoration.

"One day, when it was all finished, I would simply walk into the Historic Places Trust, as Heritage New Zealand was known then, and hand them the keys.

"This building has to belong to the nation, so thank you for making that dream come true."

The building required substantial restoration to get it up to scratch and in 2011 it was earthquake-strengthened.

"Nothing was too difficult for my father. Chevening was decrepit but he said the bones were just lovely, and let's go for it," Price said.

"The building was exactly 50 years old when we bought it, so we furnished it in a style that reflected its age.

"We explored Wellington's second-hand shops to get furniture from the 1920s and 1930s, and Cuba St was full of riches."

On Friday, the reinforced concrete property, partially faced in brick, was transferred into the care of Heritage New Zealand, along with a substantial financial donation.


Price said gifting the Category 2 listed building to Heritage New Zealand was the best way to ensure the family's legacy of love for Chevening was carried on.

"My parents and I have had this building for 40 years. Thank you so much for wishing to care for this place. The thought of it not being looked after in the future filled me with horror," Price said.

"The first person that needs to be thanked for Chevening is the original owner, Emma Rainforth. What an extraordinary and amazing woman she was because of her bravery and vision to build a block of flats as a woman on her own.

"Second, architect Llewellyn Williams who changed the face of Wellington. Many buildings from the 1920s, for example the Embassy Theatre, are his."

Heritage New Zealand acting chief executive Claire Craig said it was "extremely difficult" to express how "delighted and honoured" they were to take possession of Chevening.

"The love Susan has for Chevening is evident in its incredible condition. It is beautiful inside and out, with original features simply stunning to view and enjoy."