The Dunedin Prison Trust was formed in 2011 by a group led by Stewart Harvey, who wanted to save this beautiful heritage building and convert it into a commercially viable visitor experience.
The initial Trustees included Stewart Harvey (Chair), Terrence Hearn, Ian Butcher, Peter Hutchison and Barry Clarke, and they established the Dunedin Prison Trust on 11 August 2010. You can find out about our existing Trustees, Advisory Board members, and Life Members.
The building contains 56 cells, and has 550 square metres of commercial office space facing Castle Street. It carries a Heritage NZ Category 1 Listed building classification in view of its historical significance and unique architectural features.
The Betteridge conservation plan, completed in 2014, has been guiding us through the restoration and conservation of the building, and the future conversion of the stunning internal courtyard space.
In 2015/16 we secured funding of over $550,000 for the Stage 1 restoration to the roof and front facade of the administration block. This work was completed in May 2017.
We are grateful to the eleven organisations who funded our Stage 2 restoration in 2020, providing funding of over $750,000. This included the roof replacement and exterior refurbishment, the construction of two replica gate pillars, and exterior lighting at the street-front of the Gaol.
We completed our Interpretation plan in January 2023.
We completed our strategic plan in 2019, and reviewed this in 2021
Virginia Nicholls - Chair
Virginia is the executive director of the NZ Alcohol Beverages Council. She has worked in senior management roles in business services and advocacy, manufacturing (FMCG), export, the not-for-profit and the tertiary sectors. She is a chartered member of the Institute of Directors and has been on several private and not-for-profit boards. Virginia has been a Trustee since 2016, and became Chair in April 2021.
Dr Jane Adams
Jane is a Special Counsel at Marks & Worth Lawyers in Dunedin, working in their property and personal client services team. She returned to legal practice in 2019, having previously completed her PhD in History and Law at the University of Otago. She has undertaken research and taught history courses on New Zealand's legal history, including the history of its prisons and courthouses.
Barry is a Dunedin based chartered accountant and business advisor. Prior to establishing his own practice, he spent 20 years working with large professional services firms in NZ and North America. He is a member of the Institute of Directors and has broad governance skills and experience. Barry also teaches on the University of Otago's MBA programme and owns Harbourside Grill on Dunedin’s waterfront as a family business.
Bronwyn has played a key role in the development of a number of New Zealand major cultural institutions. Bronwyn has been part of the teams for Te Papa, Christchurch Art Gallery and Toitū. In addition she contributed to the recovery of Canterbury Museum post the earthquakes.
Mark has a background in law and operational risk management and investigating corporate fraud. He has worked for major corporate and financial institutions in NZ and overseas. Mark has a strong strategic and analytical focus. He is on the board of directors at YouthLaw Aotearoa.
Norcombe is the managing director of Larnach Castle, having run the business for the last 33 years. He has a background in heritage and wildlife and has been on many boards and committees and loves seeing the Dunedin stories and success shared. He is a member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors.
Advisory Board Members
Peter was awarded life membership in 2019 in recognition of his significant service to the Trust. He was a volunteer from 2012 to 2019 and managed and maintained the buildings and facilities. Peter initially was the head tour guide and continues as a tour guide today.
Peter was a foundation trustee, serving from 2011 to 2019 and was awarded life membership in 2019 to recognise his significant service to the Trust. A strategic thinker, Peter was involved in most of the significant decisions by the Board over this time.
Owen was awarded life membership on 29 March 2021 in recognition of outstanding services as a Trustee from 2014 and chairman and treasurer from 2016. Owen’s association with the Gaol started when he worked at HeritageNZ where he wrote the heritage covenant that protects the building’s historic values. During the Stage 1 and 2 restoration works, Owen was also responsible for the fundraising which was a significant undertaking.
Lindsay was awarded life membership in March 2023 in recognition of outstanding services as a Trustee from 2015 until 2023. Lindsay was on the building committee and in the past four years took over from Peter Caswell as the Property Manager. During this time Lindsay looked after the building repairs and maintenance, and worked closely with Guy Williams during the stage 2 restoration project.
Past Life Member
Stewart was awarded life membership in September 2016 to honour his services and dedication as the foundation Chair from 2011 to 2016. He was involved with the acquisition and guardianship of the Gaol, by setting up the Dunedin Prison Charitable Trust. Sadly Stewart passed away on 8 May 2017.