Courthouse (Former)

2A Domain Avenue, Temuka

  • Courthouse (Former). Image courtesy of
    Copyright: PhilBee NZ (Phil Braithwaite). Taken By: PhilBee NZ (Phil Braithwaite). Date: 9/04/2012.
  • Courthouse (Former) 1993. Original image submitted at time of registration.
    Copyright: NZHPT Field Record Form Collection. Taken By: P Wilson.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 2032 Date Entered 23rd June 1983


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as RS 41310 (CT CB34C/147), Canterbury Land District, and the building known as Courthouse (Former) thereon, and its fittings and fixtures.

City/District Council

Timaru District


Canterbury Region

Legal description

RS 41310 (CT CB34C/147), Canterbury Land District


The ornate Courthouse (Former) in Temuka, constructed in brick in 1901-02 as a replacement for an earlier timber courthouse, is considered to be one of New Zealand’s finest small-town public buildings. It has historical, social, aesthetic and architectural significance.

Temuka’s original timber courthouse was built in 1871 and served the town for almost 30 years. It was removed from its site by traction engine in August 1900, in preparation for the construction of a new brick courthouse on the site. The foundation stone (brick) was laid for the new building by D O’Donohue on the site in September 1900. Court business was temporarily transacted from premises opposite while the new courthouse was being constructed. Designed by Government Architect, F Schwartz, the new building had a central passage, large court room and smaller rooms for witnesses, court clerk and magistrate. The new courthouse was used for the first time in late-April 1901, hearing a larger number of cases than usual.

The single storeyed building has an L-shaped plan and is constructed of brick, with elaborate decoration embellishing a symmetrical façade that fronts the south side of Domain Avenue. Decorative features include keystones, curved aprons under the windows, fanlight over the doorway, parapet with blind arcade, gable capped with a scroll pediment, finials, and ribbed chimney stacks with triangular pediments. Entry to the building is through a large porch. The roof is clad in corrugated iron.

Initially left bare, the interior plastered walls and ceiling were painted in late 1903. Outbuildings were destroyed by fire in 1907 and were replaced by early 1908. In 1911 a brick addition was constructed at the south-west corner of the Courthouse building, to provide a room for electoral business. A small mortuary was erected in 1928 at the south-east corner of section. In 1979 the courthouse was closed. In 1982 the building was re-opened as the town’s historic museum, and to this day is open to the public for a limited period on Sunday afternoons between the end of October and early June.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Clinch & Lloyd

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

F Schwartz

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

1907 - 1908
Outbuildings destroyed and rebuilt

1911 -
Extension at south-west corner of Courthouse

Additional building added to site
1928 -
Mortuary building constructed

Original Construction
1900 - 1901

Completion Date

1st March 2018

Report Written By

Robyn Burgess

Information Sources

Temuka Through the Years, An Informal History

Temuka History Book Committee, Temuka Through the Years, An Informal History, 2009

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.

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