Methodist Parsonage (Former)

46 Princess Street, Waitara

  • Methodist Parsonage (Former). Original image submitted at time of registration. Permission from the Taranaki Museum must be obtained before any re-use of this image.
    Copyright: Taranaki Museum. Taken By: R Pritchard.
  • Methodist Parsonage (Former). Map from QuickMap®.
    Copyright: QuickMap®.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 815 Date Entered 1st September 1983


City/District Council

New Plymouth District


Taranaki Region

Legal description

Pt Sec 15 Waitara East District (CT TN128/79), Taranaki Land District


The former Waitara Methodist Parsonage was built in 1885 by local architect/builder Edward Wickham for Reverend Thomas Fee and his family. The villa residence has historical and social significance for its association with the Methodist church in Taranaki and remains a good example of colonial vernacular architecture.

In 1841 the Wesleyan Methodist missionary Reverend Charles Creed arrived in New Plymouth to establish a Māori mission in Taranaki; he was followed soon after by the first Pākehā settlers to New Plymouth. The first Methodist service conducted in Waitara is thought to have been held in a private residence by Reverend John Crump in 1872. Reverend W. Harper was appointed Waitara’s first resident minister in 1882. Harper was replaced by Reverend Thomas Fee in 1883. Fee was married with children and a parsonage was required to house him and his family. A four acre site, large enough to accommodate a house, a kitchen garden and paddocks for animal grazing, was purchased from Mrs M. Bamford for £80. Local architect and builder Edward Wickham was employed to draw up plans for the new building. Between 26 August and 3 September 1884 tender notices ‘for the erection of Wesleyan Parsonage at Waitara’ were advertised in the Taranaki Herald and construction of the new parsonage was completed the following year. It was occupied by eleven ministers and their families between 1885 and 1917.

An interesting feature of the six room villa, which was comprised of three bedrooms, a lounge, kitchen and study, was the construction of a side entrance through a cloakroom-corridor that led directly to the minister’s study. Visitors using this side entrance did not disturb people in the front or back of the house, therefore providing the family with a measure of privacy.

The building’s 32 year association with the Methodist church came to an end in 1917 when it was sold to the Carmichael family, who owned it until 1982. The Carmichaels made some significant alterations to the back rooms’ configuration in 1929. The minister’s study became the kitchen, the kitchen became a third bedroom, the cloakroom-corridor became the bathroom, the toilet and laundry were moved inside and a garage with covered walkway was built on the site of the original washhouse. Though the removal of the side entrance represents a loss to building’s intactness, it has a good level of architectural authenticity through the retention of features like the decorative trims. The property is one of few in Waitara whose original section has not been subdivided.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Edward Wickham

Architect and builder of St Paul’s Church (Anglican), Urenui.

Edward Wickham

Architect and builder of St Paul’s Church (Anglican), Urenui.

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

- 1929
Back room configuration changed: study becomes the kitchen, kitchen becomes a bedroom, cloakroom-corridor becomes the bathroom, toilet and laundry moved inside, garage and covered walkway added on the site of the original washhouse

Completion Date

4th April 2019

Report Written By

Jessica McDonnell-Buwalda

Information Sources

Bolitho, 2003

Bolitho, Elaine E., Original Waitara Methodist parsonage at 46 Princess Street, Waitara - heritage inventory, December 2003. Copy on Heritage New Zealand Central Region Office file 12013-985.

Surrey, 1977

Surrey, A.K., A centennial survey of the Waitara Methodist Church, 1875-1975, Waitara: Waitara Methodist Church, 1977

Other Information

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Central Regional Office of Heritage New Zealand.

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.