Chokebore Lodge

148-150 Racecourse Road, Upper Riccarton, Christchurch

  • Chokebore Lodge.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Melanie Lovell-Smith. Date: 1/09/2001.
  • .
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Melanie Lovell-Smith. Date: 1/09/2001.
  • .
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Melanie Lovell-Smith. Date: 1/09/2001.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 1791 Date Entered 16th November 1989


City/District Council

Christchurch City


Canterbury Region

Legal description

Lot 30 DP 49665


The first Pakeha owner of this land was George Willis who purchased fifty acres of land, in 1855. The following year he sold twenty acres to his brother John, who built the cob cottage now known as Chokebore Lodge. The cottage consisted of four rooms downstairs and two above, with a timber verandah at the front. John also built stables on his land, which he leased to Henry Redwood from around 1868. In 1874 Redwood bought the entire property and named it Chokebore Lodge after a type of shotgun with which he was an excellent shot. Known as the 'Father of New Zealand Racing' Redwood dominated Canterbury racing throughout the 1860s. He added two rooms to the rear of the cottage, which were predominantly built from timber, except for the west wall, which was brick.

In 1880 Chokebore Lodge was sold to Edward Cutts, formerly Redwood's jockey and trainer, who had leased it since 1875. Around the time Chokebore was sold to Cutts a separate kitchen addition was built in brick, at the rear of the cottage. (The kitchen block and cottage were eventually linked by a long timber corridor around 1920.)

In 1894 Sir George Clifford bought the property and Cutts and his two sons became Clifford's trainers. Clifford was both Chairman of the Canterbury Jockey Club and President of the Racing Conference. He was also one of the most successful racehorse owners in New Zealand at the time. After the Cutts family left the Lodge in the 1950s various other trainers lived there.

The last winner from Chokebore Lodge was 'In the Glen', a mare who won the Ashley Meats Brabazon Handicap in 1985. By then the property had already been purchased by Suburban Estates Ltd who intended to create a new subdivision. The cottage, some of the surrounding land and soem money were given to the Council in lieu of a reserve contribution. The stables and other outbuildings were destroyed at this time. Chokebore Lodge opened as Canterbury's first racing museum in 1987. However by 1994 the museum had moved to the Riccarton racecourse.

Chokebore Lodge is significant as part of Canterbury's social history. Racing formed a major part of Canterbury social life and the Lodge has a long association with racing families and trainers. The Lodge is of particular importance because of its connection to Henry Redwood, the 'Father of New Zealand Racing'. The three separate stages of the Lodge's construction are still easily recognisable and the earliest part of the building is representative of cob construction.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Willis, John

John Willis, a farmer by trade, came to New Zealand from England in 1852. An early Canterbury colonist, he built his own house of earth and wood.

In 1856 he built a two-storeyed cob cottage which became the main section of Chokebore Lodge, Christchurch.

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1856 -
Cob Cottage

1874 -
Two rooms added to rear. Built in timber.

1880 -
Separate kitchen block built in brick at rear of property

1920 -
Timber corridor linking kitchen and cottage.

One of upstairs bedrooms altered to kitchen.

Completion Date

10th December 2001

Report Written By

Melanie Lovell-Smith

Information Sources

Morton, 1995

Barry Morton, 'The Story of Chokebore Lodge, 148 Riccarton Road, Christchurch', unpublished research report, [1995]

New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT)

New Zealand Historic Places Trust

Pam Wilson, memo, NZHPT file 12009-032, 18/9/1998

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.