8 Great Public Pit Stops

Photography by: JO KNOX, ISTOCK


These 8 cool and quirky conveniences are just some of the loos featured in the book Kiwi-As Toilets by Jo Knox. They definitely are worth a stop, even if you don’t need to go!

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Public toilets, Matakana

Tirau's 'outhouse' – Waikato

Tirau is known as the ‘corrugated capital of the world’, so it’s quite fitting that the toilets here are also clad in rusted corrugated iron, giving them the deceptive appearance of an old outhouse. This pit stop even has a photo opportunity that allows visitors to snap a picture ‘on the loo’. As you do!

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The Outhouse, Tirau

The Redwoods 'Shroud' – Rotorua

Created from cut corten steel to resemble tree trunks, these individual toilets are nestled beautifully and sympathetically within Rotorua’s The Redwoods forest. Fusing the traditional Maori kowhaiwhai pattern with imagery of birds, the designs focus on the fragility of New Zealand’s native bird species. They serve as a reminder to be careful when we go about our everyday activities as our actions a ect the environment and its flora and fauna. The rest stops were among six finalists in the 2014 World Architecture News (WAN) Small Spaces Awards.

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The Shroud, Rotorua

Bill Richardson's transport world – Invercargill

These toilets are definitely worth a looksie. There are multiple themed bathrooms that all incorporate various vehicle parts. Some have been creatively upcycled into door handles, vanities, lampshades and more.

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Transport World, Invercargill

Hundertwasser toilets – Kawakawa

You can’t miss the colourfully, quirkily decorated public convenience in Kawakawa. The bold bathroom was designed by Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The artist first visited New Zealand in the 1970s for an exhibition of his work and decided to purchase a property on the Waikare inlet, east of Kawakawa, as a second home. With the help of the community, in 1998 he transformed the town’s public toilets into a work of art – both inside and out.

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Hundertwasser, Kawakawa 

Puzzling World – Wanaka

From illusion rooms to the Great Maze, Puzzling World will challenge your sense of perception, direction, location, and more! And the restroom is just as puzzling. Take a seat alongside the Romans and grab a snapshot that will leave others wondering what you were up to. If nothing else, it will give you a new appreciation of the far less public facilities we have today!

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Jo’s boys at Puzzling World toilets, Wanaka

Tongariro Crossing toilets

Planning on doing the Tongariro Crossing this summer? You may miss the loos if you’re not looking hard enough. They have been cleverly camouflaged to blend in with the surrounding summertime landscape. But remember to bring along your own toilet paper and hand sanitiser.

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Tongariro Crossing

Matakana's public toilets

The public rest stop in Matakana is a work of art. In fact, it was created by Elam School of Fine Arts student and local, Stefan de Haan. The project took around seven years to complete, but most will say it was worth the wait. A key element of his design includes arched rooms that resemble a boat hull – referencing the significance of boat building in the area.

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Matakana's toilets

Kumutoto toilets – Wellington waterfront

Giant worms? A scaly monster? The huge alien-like public restrooms on Wellington’s waterfront are open to interpretation. The design brief was to create a structure with a sculptural form, something iconic, highly visible and unusual that was also well integrated into the visual and historical context of the surrounding precinct. Harking back to the waterfront’s shipping past, they apparently "evoke the crusty saltiness of the sea in the smooth levelness of the precinct, clinging to its surface like barnacles to the underside of a boat." How convenient.

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Kumutoto, Wellington

Discover more characterful conveniences in Jo Knox’s handy book, Kiwi-as Toilets (RRP $29.99), available from all good bookstores or online at kiwiastoilets.co.nz.

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