Anderson Park Art Gallery

91 Mcivor Road, Invercargill

  • Anderson Park Art Gallery. Image courtesy of .
    Copyright: Andrew Baird. Taken By: Andrew Baird - The Roaming Radiographer. Date: 18/02/2007.
  • Anderson Park Art Gallery. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Shellie Evans. Taken By: Shellie Evans - flyingkiwigirl. Date: 6/01/2014.
  • Anderson Park Art Gallery. Whare Puni at rear of building. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Shellie Evans. Taken By: Shellie Evans - flyingkiwigirl. Date: 6/01/2014.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 385 Date Entered 22nd November 1984


City/District Council

Invercargill City


Southland Region

Legal description

Lots 4-5 DP 11904 All DP 4477 CR Blk IV Invercargill HD


Anderson Park, situated just outside Invercargill, was originally named Victoria Park by the first Pakeha owner of the land, Kenneth McIvor, who arrived from Australia in 1859. The land then passed to the McDougal family and around 1910 it was divided into 120 hectare (300 acre) blocks, one of which was bought by Sir Robert Anderson (1866-1942), who built the large Georgian house now known as the Anderson Park Art Gallery, in 1924-1925.

Anderson, a prominent businessman and local office-holder, was born in Queenstown and moved to Invercargill at the age of twelve, where he was employed as an office boy by the Southland Building Society. In 1898 he founded the mercantile firm of J.G. Ward & Co in conjunction with Sir Joseph Ward, and was subsequently involved in many other companies and community organisations. Anderson was knighted in 1930.

Anderson's house was designed by Cecil Wood, a Christchurch architect who was known for his neo-Georgian style houses. Wood's design for Anderson is L-shape in plan and was constructed in reinforced concrete. The exterior of the two-storey house was finished with white cement, whilst the interior was plastered. In the centre of the main fa├žade is a bow window that extends through the two storeys of the house. The neo-Georgian approach to design is evident in the symmetry of the main facade, the hipped roof, and the dormer windows.

The revival of the Georgian style began in the 1880s in Britain with a renewed interest in the works of Sir Christopher Wren. It came to be viewed as part of the English vernacular tradition and was therefore taken up by a number of Arts and Crafts architects, including Leonard Stokes (1858-1925), with whom Wood had worked while in Britain. In New Zealand the Neo-Georgian style was used for large houses from the 1910s.

The main entrance to the house is situated on the right hand side, and leads into a wide hallway. Rimu and American maple is used extensively throughout the house. A small staircase off the upstairs hallway leads to the attic rooms, two of which still have some of their original wallpaper.

The house remains surrounded by 24 hectares (60 acres) of extensive lawns, garden and bush, which are maintained by the Invercargill City Council for use as a public park. At the rear of the house is a whare puni, the carvings for which were reputedly made in Rotorua. The Anderson family used the whare puni for dances and according to one of Anderson's daughters, Mrs K.D. Kirby, the whare puni's 'sprung floor made it beautiful to dance in'.

The house and grounds were donated to the city in 1951 after Lady Anderson's death. It is now run as Invercargill City's public art gallery. The collection of mainly New Zealand art held in the art gallery has been accumulated since 1951.

Anderson Park Art Gallery is significant as one of Wood's major neo-Georgian domestic works and as a memorial to a prominent local businessman and his family. It is a beautiful house, set in expansive grounds which now houses a notable collection of New Zealand art.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Wood, Cecil Walter

Born in Christchurch, Wood (1878-1947) was articled to the local architect Frederick Strouts between 1894 and 1899. He worked for a short time as a draughtsman with the firm Clarkson and Ballantyne before travelling to England in 1901. Here Wood was exposed to a high quality of architectural design in the Edwardian Free Style, and was employed by two leading Edwardian architects Robert Weir Shultz and Leonard Stokes.

In 1907 Wood returned to New Zealand to take up partnership with Samuel Hurst Seager. The partnership lasted for only one year for Wood set up his own practice in 1908. The years 1908-1915 were dominated by domestic commissions, but it was also during this time that he began his association with Christ's College, which included such commissions as Hare Memorial Library (1915), the Memorial Dining Hall (1923-5), Jacob's House (1931) and Open Air Classrooms (1932). During the 1920s Wood's practice began to expand and a Georgian influence can be seen in such works as Weston House Park Terrace (1923-4) and Bishopscourt (1926-7).

A short lived partnership in 1927 with R S D Harman allowed Wood to travel to the United States while another in 1937 with Paul Pascoe allowed him to travel to England, Europe and the United States without neglecting his practice. During this second trip he made preparations for the design of St Paul's Anglican Cathedral in Wellington, which was erected after his death.

During his life Wood had made a substantial contribution to the architecture of Christchurch, having an enthusiasm for both European and American styles.

Additional informationopen/close

Notable Features

Surrounding grounds and bush.

Whare puni at rear of house.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1924 - 1925

Completion Date

6th December 2001

Report Written By

Melanie Lovell-Smith

Information Sources

Anderson Park Art Gallery Collection

Anderson Park Art Gallery Collection

Helms, 1996

Ruth M. Helms, 'The architecture of Cecil Wood', PhD thesis, University of Canterbury, 1996

Muller, 2001

Peter Muller, ''Art in the Park' : The first 50 years of the Anderson Park Art Gallery', Invercargill, 2001

Shaw, 1997 (2003)

Peter Shaw, A History of New Zealand Architecture, Auckland, 1997


Historic Places in New Zealand

Historic Places in New Zealand

John Cattell, 'Neo-Georgian in Southland. Two Cecil Wood Houses', 4, March 1984, pp.8-9

Other Information

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.