State housing was the biggest influence on New Zealand housing from the 1940s to the late 1960s.

1940-60s Image Gallery


State housing dominated much of New Zealand building during the 1940s and 50s, while during the 1960s a distinct ‘New Zealand style’ began to emerge.

Siting, layout and form

State housing was a strong influence on all housing design in the 1940s-60s.

Common problems and remedies

A wide range of issues affecting design and structure will need to be considered as part of any 1940s-60s renovation.

Common modifications

Many 1940s-60s houses have retained their appearance, but modifications are fairly common and may be extensive.


Few houses built in the 1940s and 1950s were insulated. Insulation may be required as part of any renovation project, and in any case will provide benefits for occupants.

Foundations and subfloor

In some houses, remedial action will be needed to deal with problems such as uneven floors and inadequate earthquake bracing.


The wooden floors typical of 1940s-60s houses often lack insulation, and some boards may be affected by borer, splitting or other damage.

Walls and cladding

Houses built in the 1940s-60s typically used timber (native or exotic) for framing, and weatherboard, brick, asbestos-cement or stucco cladding.

Interior features and finishes

Plasterboard walls (painted or wallpapered), softboard ceilings, and timber joinery were features of 1940s-60s houses, though decoration was minimal.

Windows, doors and other joinery

Most 1940s-60s houses had timber casement windows, timber panelled or hollow core doors, and built-in timber panelling and cupboards.


Most houses of the 1940s-60s had simple hip or gable roofs with a relatively steep pitch.


Houses of the 1940s and 1950s typically had front and rear porches.


Common issues include the need to replace old wiring, add electrical outlets, and deal with low water pressure.

Kitchens and bathrooms

The vast majority of kitchens and bathrooms in 1940s–1960s houses will have been renovated to some extent.