Merchiston Station Homestead Fountain

Putorino Road, Rata

  • Merchiston Station Homestead Fountain.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Helen McCracken. Date: 24/01/2002.
  • Merchiston Station Homestead Fountain.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Helen McCracken. Date: 24/01/2002.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 186 Date Entered 15th February 1990

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City/District Council

Rangitikei District

Region

Horizons (Manawatu-Wanganui) Region

Legal description

Lots 10 11 Pt Lots 1 2 3 DP 286 Ongo SD

Summaryopen/close

The Merchiston fountain was designed and built for the New Zealand International Exhibition held at Hagley Park in Christchurch in 1906-1907. The fountain was placed outside the main entrance of the Exhibition where it would have been seen by each of the almost two million visitors over the five and a half months of the exhibition. After the Exhibition closed the fountain was purchased by Edith Hammond and shipped to her property at Merchiston (near present-day Rata), and re-erected in the garden at the front of the homestead. The fountain still operates and is turned on for special occasions.

This fountain is a unique piece of craftsmanship designed in the Italian Renaissance manner. The bath surrounding the fountain is symmetrical. The base has four short decorative columns each with a headpiece repeating the motif of the central columns. These provide uniform water flow. Four fish figurines, which are usually hidden behind cascades of water from the circular dish above, surround the central shaft of the fountain. The fountain, which stands 5 metres high, is lavishly decorated.

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Historical Significance or Value

The fountain was specially designed for the International Exhibition at Christchurch 1906 and has since been associated with Merchiston, one of New Zealand's finest rural residences.

ARCHITECTURAL QUALITY:

The fountain is a rare example of the work of local craftsmen in Christchurch at the turn of the century. Sculpted in Oamaru stone, it resembles international fountains, such as seen in St Peter's Square, Rome.

TOWNSCAPE/LANDSCAPE VALUE:

The fountain is the focal point in a splendid garden.

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Physical Description

ARCHITECTURAL DESCRIPTION:

This fountain is a unique piece of craftsmanship designed in the Italian Renaissance manner. The bath surrounding the fountain is symmetrical, enhancing the central piece. The base has four short decorative columns each with a headpiece similar to the central columns. These provide uniform water spouts. Four fish figurines, which are usually hidden behind cascades of water from the circular dish above, surround the central shaft of the fountain. The fountain, which stands 5 metres high, is lavishly decorated.

MODIFICATIONS:

1907 Fountain relocated at Merchiston.

Notable Features

Its placement, which conveys a sense of importance to the homestead, and enhances the garden.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1906 -

Relocation
1907 -
Fountain relocated at Merchiston.

Construction Details

Oamaru Stone; iron pipe to feed water

Completion Date

11th October 2001

Report Written By

Helen McCracken

Information Sources

New Zealand Historic Places

New Zealand Historic Places

Jim Lundy, 'A Grand Family Home', March 1994, pp.38-41

Gombrich, 1984

E H Gombrich, The Story of Art, 14th edition, Phardon Press, England, 1984

Pfannschmidt, 1984

G E Pfannschmidt. 1968 Fountains and Springs, Harrap & Co. Ltd. London

Other Information

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

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.