The New Zealand Department of Public Works was formed in 1876. This cabinet-level government agency built, managed and maintained the country’s infrastructure such as roads, rails and power. One of seven district offices was in Napier and housed in this 1938 building on Browning Street. The design by architect J.T. Mair is called Stripped Classical. This was a modified and less expensive version of the more decorative Art Deco. After New Zealand’s Ministry of Works was privatized in 1966, this became an office complex.