Finneran, W P
(1) William Peter Finneran (c.1837-1911) practised in Gisborne as an architect since 1878 and “designed and supervised the erection of a large number of public and private buildings in the district”. Several buildings known to have been designed by Finneran are still in existence, but records of his work are incomplete.
In 1879 Finneran was calling for tenders for building the hospital and in 1881 tenders for the brewery. The brewery with its four-storey tower was a significant landmark and lookout point over the town. It is assumed he designed these buildings. In 1901 he supplied designs for a new building. Some uncertainty existed around whether he designed the band rotunda, as entrants for the design competition had entered anonymously. However, it was disclosed at a council meeting that “Mr Finneran was the designer of the beautiful plan selected by the Council” even though he had submitted his design anonymously under Parnell & Co.'s name.
His other work includes the Masonic Hall, still standing but modified, in Childers Road, built 1895 and opened 2 January 1896. The Hall was enlarged in 1897 and is registered as Category II. The Poverty Bay Club is stylistically very similar to two of Finneran's better-known works, the Opou Station homestead (extant) and Whataupoko sheep station homestead (burnt down), the home of Percival Barker. Opou Homestead, Manutuke, (formerly known as Riverslea when built for owner Thomas Bloomfield in 1883; Register # 7170, Category I historic place) is described as “restrained Victorian classicism...[with] stately proportions and vast room heights”. Another more modest building attributed to Finneran [cited as P Fineran] is a “Two-way Bay Villa for Captain Martin” in 1900, the drawings for which “show a preoccupation with details such as the half-drawn blinds and curtains”.
Finneran was responsible for designing the enlargement of the Holy Trinity Anglican Church (subsequently the Anglican Church Hall) with the chancel and transept of the wooden church being added. However, these changes were not approved by all: “some details of decorative style were introduced by the Gisborne architect, Mr Finneran, which marred the “pure” Gothic style of the first stage of the building.”
The only other architects known to be working in Gisborne in the 1880s-early 1900s are W J Quigley from 1882 , James O Barnard , and Andrew Y Ross.
Little is known of Finneran's life and family. In an 1881 New Zealand-wide directory, W.P. Finneran is listed twice, once as a carpenter in the Napier electorate with freehold qualification in Gisborne; and again as an architect with residential qualification in Gisborne, in the East Coast electorate. His name is listed in directories for 1883-84, 1894, 1896 (in Gladstone Rd) and 1898-99. He and his wife Margaret are listed on the Waiapu electoral roll for 1902, and in the Borough of Gisborne Roll 1901 as being at 34 Lowe Street, Gisborne, but are not listed for 1900 or 1903. However, in 1904 he is again listed as being architect, Gisborne, but is not in the nationwide directories for 1906, 1908 and 1909.
William P Finneran died on August 25, 1911, at Ponsonby, Auckland, aged 74 years and survived by his wife Margaret Ann. The funeral cortege was to leave from his former residence at Mason's Rd, Herne Bay for the Waikumete Cemetery.
Richard Keals (1817?-1885) arrived in New Zealand in 1858 and initially worked on the Thames goldfields. One of Auckland's earliest trained architects, he is known to have been practising in the colonial township by 1863, having first operated as a builder. Keals had previously served as a clerk of works in England, carrying out his articles as an architect in London.
Keals designed a variety of building types in New Zealand, encompassing domestic, commercial and public structures. His early works in Auckland included the Waitemata and Thames Hotels in Queen Street, erected in 1866 and 1868 respectively. His New Zealand Insurance Company Building in Queen Street (1870) was one of the grandest commercial buildings in late-Victorian Auckland. Surviving buildings designed by Keals include Blackett's Buildings, previously known as the South British Insurance Building, erected in 1878-79 on the corner of Shortland and Queen Streets (Register no. 4483, Category 1 historic place). He was joined in practice by his two sons by 1885, the year of his death. In 1902, R. Keals and Sons claimed to be the oldest firm of architects in Auckland.
Source: Registration Report for Logan Park (Register No. 9643), May 2014
Wilson, Francis John (1836-1911)
Wilson was born in Capetown, and went to Melbourne when 19 years of age. From there he came to New Zealand, arriving in Timaru in the 1850s. For 30 years he practised there as an architect, and was involved in the rebuild of Timaru after the 1868 fire. In 1887 Mr Wilson returned to Melbourne, and was in partnership with Mr Charlesworth (now of Wellington), for about four years. He returned to Wellington in 1898. In 1905 Mr Wilson came to Gisborne to supervise the erection of the Herald building and remained in Gisborne. He was a prominent member of the Gisborne Bowling Club, a Past Master of the Timaru Masonic Lodge, and a life member of the Timaru Rowing Club.
His buildings included Palmerston North Opera House, Wellington Meat Go's Works (Record no.3619), Skerratt and Wyllie’s offices (Wellington), Kirkcaldie and Stain's drapery warehouse, and the Oriental hotel, Wellington. He was also the architect for the Church of England in Gisborne and the Bank Street Church, Timaru (Record no.3155)
Biography Source: 3544 Information Upgrade Report Gisborne Herald Building, Linda Pattison Mar 2012
Pilbrow, Colin (? - 2005)
Gisborne architect who was part of the architectural firm of Glengarry, Corson and Pilbrow in the 1960s. He was responsible for a number of modernist buildings in Gisborne, including the H.B. Williams Memorial Library. Pilbrow designed the renovations to the Holy Trinity Church Hall, Gisborne (Register No. 809), completed in 1975.
Biography source: registration report for Holy Trinity Church Hall (Register no. 809)
Architect with Gisborne Group Architects
No biography is currently available for this construction professional
Curry and Bothwell
Gisborne Building Contractors
East Coast oral tradition states that the honoured ancestor Maui-tikitikia-Taranga fished up the North Island of New Zealand. Two Maori ancestral canoes are associated with this region; Takitimu, which made landfall in this region around 1450AD and Horouta.
The area is thought to have been extensively cultivated and utilised by Maori, with the plains and rivers both an excellent food source and transport link. Abundant bird life and tidal flats yielded a wide range of protein sources. The nearby grasslands and swamps provided food as well as materials for weaving and construction. Large villages or pa were built on strategic points on the rivers and hills.
In 1769 Captain James Cook on his ship ‘Endeavour’ made landfall at what he named Poverty Bay. This was the first contact between European and Maori. When Cook arrived in the area, it was occupied by four main tribal groups; Rongowhakata, Ngai Tahupoo (later known as Ngai Tamanuhiri), Te Aitanga a Mahaki, and Te Aitanga a Hauiti. Although there was no planned European settlement, by the 1830s traders and whalers had ensconced themselves in the region and trading posts established by settlers such as Captain Read led to further European settlement.
The Diocese of Waiapu was established in 1858, however a resident clergyman was not appointed to the town of Gisborne until 1874, when the Reverend J Murphy arrived. Prior to this, Anglican services were conducted by William Dean Lysnar, a school teacher who was appointed lay reader in April 1872. In August 1872 a public meeting was held to consider the question of erecting a church for the Church of England. Despite the presence of Archdeacon (Leonard) Williams the meeting was otherwise poorly attended and no resolution was reached. A further public meeting held on 26 November 1873 resolved that Archdeacon Williams, Mr Hardy and Captain Porter should form a committee to organise construction of a church as soon as possible.
The primary delay in organising a church for the Pakeha settler population of Gisborne was the dispute between the General Government and the Provincial Government as to who was responsible for disposing of sections in the new township. Usually land acquired for purchase by the Crown was under the control of the provincial government; however the site of Gisborne (though not confiscated) had been acquired during the disturbed time and resulted in discussion as to the boundaries relating to the confiscation. The General Government, being short of funds, took charge of Gisborne as though it had been part of the confiscated land, while the Provincial Government very naturally maintained its claim. The question was ultimately decided in favour of the Province of Auckland. According to standard procedure, sections were set apart on the plan, and religious bodies applied for land, the disposition of which was decided by lot. By 1873 the Anglican Church had received a section of land in Derby Street.
The Bishop of Waiapu, William Williams urged residents to erect a church and actively assisted with the fundraising efforts, when for several weeks during 1874 he made a further extensive canvass which resulted in the addition of a further £250 to the amount available. In November 1873 an Auckland architect, Richard Keals, was commissioned to draw up plans for a church, and on 18 August 1874, a tender of £880 from Mr J.R. Morgan was accepted for the construction. Described by the Bishop as ‘a neat and substantial’ church, it took eight months to build and sat 250 people. The church was consecrated by the Bishop on 11 April 1875 with the service being attended by a large congregation. The church was New Zealand Gothic Revival in style, without chancel or transepts. The Gothic Revival style includes characteristics such as long narrow windows and pointed arches. The building was described by one local newspaper as ‘commodious and comfortable’ and was well attended from the outset.
By 1878 the financial situation of the church had improved considerably, with a large increase in pew rentals. Despite being able to seat 250 people, the church was at times inconveniently full; on occasion people came only to find all the seats taken. A proposal was submitted by the Vestry for the enlargement of the Church at a cost of £500 which they hoped to secure by subscription and debentures. Salmond Reed Architects suggests that these additions, consisting of a chancel and transepts, were completed in 1880. A 1902 description by the Cyclopedia of New Zealand describes the church as offering seating for 450, and describes the addition of a chancel, transept and decorative style by architect Mr Finneran.
Tenders were invited for the construction of a parsonage for Holy Trinity Church in April 1883. By 1886 this building had been erected next to the church on Derby Street. A notice in The Standard and People’s Advocate invited tenders for fencing of the church and a paddock adjoining the parsonage, as well as asking parishioners to donate ornamental plants so that the vestry could ‘plant the portion of ground (half an acre) round the church, with trees and shrubs…’
A number of improvements and repairs were undertaken on the church over the next decade. By 1885 the original kerosene lamps in the church had been replaced with gas lighting and the church was reroofed and painted in 1897. The pews were revarnished that same year as a result of summer heat which had softened the old varnish and caused the congregation to stick to their seats.
By June 1889 a Sunday school building had been erected on the seaward side of the church, on a property provided by Archdeacon Samuel Williams. Costing £500, the building was rented to the Department of Education and housed the Gisborne District High School during its first years of existence, functioning as a Sunday school on the weekends. The building remained in use until the new brick church was completed in 1913, and the first, wooden church became the Sunday school and church hall.
In 1904 the vestry began to consider extending the church to accommodate 700. There was disagreement as to whether the central church should be extended before addressing the need for new churches in the suburbs. However, plans for an enlarged church continued to be discussed, but without much progress. In March 1907 C. A. deLautour again raised the issue of space, and the decision was made to start a special building fund with a deposit of £500. At a Special Meeting, approval was given to build a new church, rather than enlarge the existing church, and a period of frenzied fund raising began. In 1908 the decision was made to build the new church where the vicarage currently stood, and this building was shifted in 1910 to a new site on Temple Street near Te Rau College. Local architect F. J. Wilson designed the plans for the new brick church, and the contractor W. Webb signed a contract on 10 July 1911. The church cost approximately £7,000, and was opened on 18 May 1913.
The first church had its sanctuary removed and transepts subdivided, and became a Parish hall and Sunday school. In 1923 a scheme was launched to replace the building with a modern hall, although this was later abandoned even though some funds had been raised. In 1926 the Waiapu Church Gazette reported that Church Wardens were appealing for funds for a new Sunday school building, as ‘The old church, which is in a state of “irreparable decay," is at present used by the infant classes, and the main Sunday School has been held for several years in the new church.’ In 1928 the Parish raised a mortgage of £700 and the church hall was substantially renovated, the work including reblocking and flooring, installing ceilings in the guild rooms and repairs to plumbing and windows.
In 1971 a subcommittee of the vestry considered altering the parish hall. The initial plan, designed by architect Colin Pilbrow, included adding a complex of rooms on the Derby Street side of the hall, of permanent material such as concrete blocks. This addition was to be the first stage of replacement of the whole hall. Various alterations were also planned for the interior of the hall at this time. In 1973 Pilbrow changed his mind and ‘strongly recommended that in view of the fact that the existing parish hall structure was in good condition, that the “Lounge/Committee Room” be sited inside the existing Parish Hall.’ The new plans included partitions and sliding doors dividing off a lounge, offices and a clergy and counselling room, and renovations to the kitchen and its connection to the lounge and main hall. These renovations were completed in October 1975.
Another major renovation to the church hall took place in the late 1990s, following the decision to close three suburban Anglican churches and centralise the activities at Holy Trinity, thus placing pressure on the church hall as a venue. Designed by Derek Phillips of Gisborne Group Architects, the renovations were undertaken by local building contractors Curry and Bothwell, with funding from various local and national charities. A major part of the remodel was the introduction of a mezzanine floor which included a large meeting space, counselling rooms, a library, a storage area and toilet facilities. A substantial steel frame replaced old timber posts and beams and this also supported the new upper level, as well strengthening and stiffening the original building framework. An enlarged entry foyer was created for easy access to the reception area and church offices and a lift was installed to provide disabled access to the upper floor. The exterior of the Holy Trinity Church Hall remains substantially unaltered since the addition of the chancel and transepts in circa 1878-1880.
The Holy Trinity Church Hall is a timber frame building with a mixture of concrete and timber piles. It has a timber floor, horizontal weatherboards (between 225 and 250 mm in depth) and a corrugated iron roof.
The porch has double doors on either side, flanked by glass panels with some stained glass sections. A single three panel gothic window in the front wall is mirrored by similar windows on either side of the façade behind the porch. Above the porch is a main window made up of three gothic windows, the central element with five panes of glass, the flanking elements have three panes each. A vent sits above this window. The barge boards have rounded ends. A modern freestanding architectural element has been added in front of the porch to mirror the basic shape of the building.
A lean-to has been added, possibly in the most recent renovations (2000). This has simple casement windows, exposed eves and is clad with horizontal weatherboards. Above the lean-to are high, middle pivot, clerestory windows. The south transept has a three element gothic window, the same as the street elevation, with a rose window above it. Doors have been cut into the south transept, a later addition. Skylights have been added on the roof, along with metal brackets for spouting. A brick and steel fence prevents access to the back of the section.
The aisle has casement windows, which might not be original but are certainly old. Above the aisle, along the sides of the nave are four high, middle pivot clerestory windows, mirroring the south elevation. The transept is the same as the south elevation, with a three element gothic window, and rose window above. A doorway leads into the building, providing access to the stairs to the first floor, and the main hall on the ground floor. This is covered with a sloping roof.
This façade has changed more than the other facades. The main altar window has been cut down, leaving only the top arch. A rose window sits above it. New casement windows have been added under the main window, providing light to the kitchen. A door also provides access to the kitchen. Two casement windows seem to have replaced the three element gothic window that would have presumably matched this type of window on the right side.
The porch, which functions as a foyer, is floored with tiles. The porch leads through to a reception area, with grey carpet. A reception desk sits on one side of the space, with a stationery and photocopying area, marked off by low walls, on the opposite side of the space. Stairs and an elevator provide access to the first floor. There are offices on both the right and left sides of the reception area.
On the ground floor, doors open onto the hall, which has wooden floors and skylights on both sides of the roof, and a coffered ceiling. There is a storeroom under the stairs in the reception area, accessed through a door in the hall. Double doors provide a fire exit on one side of the hall, with a kitchen at the end of the space, and toilets on the other side. A room is divided from the hall by folding doors, and folding doors also separate the kitchen from the hall. Stairs leading to the first floor can be accessed through a door at the back of the hall.
The first floor is notable for the exposed scissor trusses throughout the space. Two smoke stop doors lead to the main upstairs room from the stairs at the front of the building. Skylights feature on either side of the roof, and the floor has grey carpet. Trefoil decorations have been cut into the gussets of the scissor trusses. The north transept features a solid wall that divides the main room from the library. The south transept has glass infill below the truss, separating the upstairs room from the hall below. Bathrooms and a kitchenette are located in one corner of the room, with two meeting rooms at the back of the space, and a door to the library and stairs located behind a built-in screen in the other corner.
August: Construction of church begins
1878 - 1880
Church enlarged with addition of chancel and transept
Vicarage built next to the church
Church reroofed and painted
New brick church constructed on adjacent Vicarage site
Renovations to church hall, including reblocking and re-flooring, new ceilings in guild rooms, repairs to plumbing and windows
October: Church hall renovations completed, including partitions and sliding doors to create lounge, offices, clergy and counselling rooms, kitchen upgraded
Church hall renovations completed, including new mezzanine floor with meeting space, counselling rooms, a library, storage area and toilet facilities, removal of suspended ceiling, enlarged entry foyer, elevator installed
First church becomes church hall, with sanctuary removed and transepts subdivided
11 April: Church consecrated
Timber-framed construction with plain weatherboard cladding and corrugated iron, gabled roofs, gothic arched timber joinery, round quatrefoil windows in main gables.
18th October 2012
Report Written By
Damian Skinner, Gail Henry, Linda Pattison
W. Leonard Williams, East Coast Historical Records, Gisborne, 1932
William Rosevear, Waiapu: The Story of a Diocese, Hamilton, 1960
Alan D. Ward, A History of the Parish of Gisborne, Gisborne, 1960
Mackay (ed), 1927
J.A. Mackay (ed), Life in Early Poverty Bay: Trials and Triumphs of its Brave Founders, Gisborne, The Gisborne Publishing Company, 1927
Frederic Wanklyn Williams, Through Ninety Years, 1826-1916: Life and Work Among the Maoris in New Zealand: Notes of the lives of William and William Leonard Williams, First and Third Bishops of Waiapu, Auckland, Whitcombe & Tombs Ltd, 1939
A fully referenced registration report is available from the NZHPT Lower Northern Area Office.
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.