During World War I these buildings on Matiu Island were used as quarantine barracks to hold enemy aliens who were considered a risk to New Zealand’s security. Around 300 prisoners were held on the island, most of whom were German nationals.
In World War II the island again became an internment camp. The prisoners were primarily German however there were also a large number of Italian and Japanese. The prisoners were required to do road-building, gardening and fishing.
This building that still survives was part of the immigration barracks which were originally built for the influenza pandemic 1919.