Care has been taken in the public areas of the house to foster a New Zealand identity. For example, the carpet was imported from New Zealand when the house was extended in 1985/86.
The house, although substantially renovated, retains its original character and is therefore in harmony with the existing early architecture of the Red Hill area.
The house in Red Hill, which is the official residence of the New Zealand High Commissioner, was built in 1939. In 1943, the year in which the first New Zealand diplomatic office opened in Canberra, the lease on the Mugga Way property was brought from a Mrs Violet Cook for the New Zealand Government at a cost of A£5500.
The Chancery has on display in its public areas several fine examples of the work of New Zealand artists.
The building is surrounded by 1½ acres (roughly half a hectare) of landscaped grounds which slope gently down from Commonwealth Avenue to Forster Crescent. On the Southern side of the building are walled beds, surrounded by flaxes (Phormium tenax) and cabbage trees (Cordyline australis). There are also flaxes and cabbage trees against the northern wall of the Chancery as well as exotic plantings, magnolias and azaleas. These provide a very handsome springtime display, as do the flowering plum trees at the front of the Chancery.
The Chancery building was designed for the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the Ministry of Works. The exterior of the Chancery has a uniform shading provided by the dark bronze green finish from the infill panels and bronze window frames. Contrast is given by the vertical copper finished columns.
The accommodation in the Patents Office and later in the MLC Building had been envisaged as temporary measure, as the New Zealand authorities had wished for some time to build a self-contained Chancery which would not only house adequately New Zealand diplomatic staff but also function as a physical statement of New Zealand’s commitment to the Trans-Tasman relationship.
The High Commission is closed on the following public holidays. Only emergency consular assistance is available on these days.
Wednesday 1 January - New Year's Day
Thursday 2 January - New Year's Day
Friday 21 February - Father Walter Lini Day
Friday 18 April - Good Friday
Monday 21 April - Easter Monday
Thursday 24 July - Children's Day
Wednesday 30 July - Independence Day
Friday 15 August - Assumption Day
Monday 6 October - Constitution Day
The following New Zealand and Japanese holidays will be observed during late 2013 and over 2014:
- Monday 4 November - Culture Day [JP]
- Wednesday 25 December - Christmas Day [NZ]
- Thursday 26 December - Boxing Day [NZ]
- Friday 27 December - Embassy closedown day
- Monday 30 December - Embassy closedown day
Tuesday 31 December - Embassy closedown day