St Anne's Church

Pleasant Valley Road, Geraldine

  • St Anne's Church.
    Copyright: Church Property Trustees. Date: 4/05/2007.
  • St Anne's Church. 1989. Original image submitted at time of registration.
    Copyright: NZHPT Field Record Form Collection. Taken By: R Burgess.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 1993 Date Entered 11th December 2003


Extent of List Entry

Registration includes building on its site.

City/District Council

Timaru District


Canterbury Region

Legal description

Pt RS 3608 (CT CB406/163), Canterbury Land District

Location description

Located on the eastern side of Pleasant Valley Road and immediately to the north of 396 Pleasant Valley Road, Geraldine.


Pleasant Valley was one of the bush clad areas in the South Canterbury foothills where a flourishing business of bush felling and timber milling became established in the 1860s. It was one of the earliest settlements in South Canterbury and soon had a store, a hotel, blacksmith's shop and school. Rev. Lawrence Lawson Brown, who was appointed to the pastoral district of Orari in 1862, based himself in Geraldine, conducting services in woolsheds and homesteads around the area before any churches were built. Settlers were keen to have a church in their district and both land and timber were donated for this purpose in Pleasant Valley. Lt. Belford Woolcombe, the resident magistrate in Timaru, drew plans for a simple church to accommodate up to 40 people and the timber was felled and pitsawn by local volunteers.

The church's completion was celebrated by holding a dance in it and the first baptisms are recorded as taking place here on 30th August, 1863. Bishop Harper performed the consecration in 1865. Rev. Brown served the parish for many years and it is thought that the name St. Anne's was a tribute to his wife, who is buried in the churchyard.

By the mid 1880s the Pleasant Valley township had become almost deserted as the timber had all been milled. The St. Anne's congregation was much reduced and the little building was in poor repair. However, new farming settlers arrived and the church was renovated and enhanced by a series of gifts.

In 1926 a local parishioner Mrs Burdon presented a memorial window in memory of her friend Edith Moffat. This stained glass window was placed over the chancel replacing the two latticed lancets which were originally there. It was designed and produced by Veronica Whall (1887-1967) one of the leaders of the Arts and Crafts movement in stained glass. The window is typical of her style and is the earliest example of her work in New Zealand.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

St. Anne's Church has historical significance as one of the oldest churches in the Christchurch Diocese and the oldest surviving example in South Canterbury.

It has architectural and technological significance or value as a simple example of the Gothic revival style interpreted in pit sawn timber with a cob interior lining. The striking stained glass window by Veronica Whall which lights the chancel, adds to its aesthetic values.

As the centre for worship in what was a timber milling and then a farming settlement it has social, cultural and spiritual values.

St. Anne's Church can be assigned Category II status because it reflects the history of the early occupation of Pleasant Valley. It was built in 1863 in the earliest years of settlement here when bush felling was a prime industry. The community esteem for the place is illustrated by the efforts by local residents to maintain the building and continue its use. The construction, using cob for the lining of a timber church, is a rare type and is of technological value in the 21st century.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Lieutenant Belfield Woolcombe

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Huffey, John

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Young, William

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

Steeply pitched roof (originally of totara shingles) over a nave, separately roofed chancel and entrance porch. The small church is constructed of kahikatea (white pine) and has a weather board exterior. The flooring is of Matai (black pine). To finish the interior the spaces between the studs were filled with cob, a mix of mud and tussock, which was later coated with whitewash. Simple lancet windows with lattice glass light the nave and a splendid example of Veronica Whall's artistry in stained glass is positioned over the altar.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1863 -

Pit sawn nave flooring replaced by rimu floor boards;

Corrugated iron replaced shingles roof, some replacement of weather boards and studs, timber piles replaced by boulders.

Construction Details

Pit sawn timber, corrugated iron roof.

Completion Date

6th September 2004

Report Written By

Pam Wilson

Information Sources

Ciaran, 1998

Fiona Ciaran, Stained Glass Windows of Canterbury, New Zealand. A Catalogue Raisonne, Dunedin, 1998

Harper, 1963

B. Harper, St. Anne's Church, Pleasant Valley, Geraldine, 1863-1963. Timaru, 1963 (Timaru Herald)

Williamson, 1978

E Williamson, Hearts, Hands and Voices, Geraldine: St Mary's Anglican Church, 1978

New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT)

New Zealand Historic Places Trust


Other Information

A fully referenced version of this report is available from the NZHPT Southern Region 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.