The Ladies Rest Rooms were built in the art deco style in 1936 and stand on the site of the original ladies’ toilets which had opened in 1918. Built in the wake of the Napier earthquake, the rest rooms followed strict building regulations including steel reinforced concrete and were fitted out in the finest kauri, heart rimu, totara and matai joinery.
In keeping with the code of decency of the day, these facilities were totally separate from the men’s toilets. Feeding, changing and rest rooms, as well as toilets, were provided, although the bath that was a feature of the original women’s toilets was not included.
Female attendants were a feature of the rest rooms for many years, supplying a friendly face and welcoming environment. “Spending a penny” meant just that since a 1d slot machine was installed as a tariff for users. This charge was abandoned when decimalization was introduced in 1967.
In 2004, after much debate, an information centre and unisex toilets were added to the Ladies Rest. The mother’s room is now a parent’s room and a shower and other facilities have been added.