Post Office (Former)

59 King Street And Domain Avenue, Temuka

  • Post Office (Former), Temuka. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Graeme Partridge. Taken By: Graeme Partridge. Date: 6/04/2010.
  • Post Office (Former), Temuka.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Date: 5/10/2008.
  • Post Office (Former), Temuka. Image included in Field Record Form Collection.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand . Taken By: V E Meek. Date: 9/08/1994.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2036 Date Entered 23rd June 1983


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Sec 3 SO 17995 (CT CB32F/1217), Canterbury Land District, and the building known as Post Office (Former) thereon.

City/District Council

Timaru District


Canterbury Region

Legal description

Sec 3 SO 17995 (CT CB32F/1217), Canterbury Land District


Constructed in 1901-1902, the Post Office (Former) on a prominent corner site at 59 King Street and Domain Avenue, Temuka, is a grand two storeyed building, constructed of brick with plastered detailing. Officially opened by the acting premier, Sir Joseph Ward, in June 1902, the building has social, historical and architectural significance.

A post office was first established in Temuka in circa 1869. It became increasingly busy, as a reflection of the prosperity of the district, and by the end of the nineteenth century a decision was made that a replacement post office was required. Money for the new post office was voted in 1899 but construction delayed until it was determined where it would be built. Ultimately it was confirmed it would be on the site of the earlier post office. Tenders were called by the Public Works engineer, E R Ussher, in June 1901. Mr J L Potter supervised the erection of the new post office, with Messrs Petrie and Son as the carpenters and Messrs Palliser as contractors and plasterers. The new building was officially opened by Sir Joseph Ward, in front of a large crowd, on 16 June 1902. At the same time, a bottle with coins, stamps, telegraph form and a copy of the Temuka Leader were included in the laying of the foundation stone. The ground floor was used for public offices and the upper storey housed the post master.

Situated beside the William Rolleston Memorial Lamp, on a prominent corner site of Temuka’s central business district at 59 King Street and Domain Avenue, the brick and plaster building has an asymmetrical plan. The main part of the building is two storeys in height and has a pavilion roof. Its street-facing elevations (east and north) are heavily detailed with classical features such as rusticated quoins and sash windows with pilasters, pediments, aprons and swags. The primary entrance is on the east front, with steps leading to a curved arch, above which are the words ‘ER’ ‘POST OFFICE’ and beyond which is a foyer and the main doors to the building. The south-east corner of the building is curved and forms a wide wedge shape. At the western end of the south elevation is a single storey brick wing, with a hipped roof. At the centre of the west (rear) elevation is a single storeyed brick wing, accessed through a covered doorway on its north side, and with half-pavilion roof.

It was noted at the opening service of the new Temuka Post Office in 1902 that, in New Zealand, the post offices were used in many directions and for many purposes that was not the custom in other countries. The Temuka Post Office, for example, was not only for mail services but also banking and even Registry weddings. Over the years some of the original architectural detailing at roof level has been removed from the building – tall chimneys protruding at the corners of the building, pediments and ironwork at the upper part of the roof were all removed some time prior to the mid 1980s. The building appears to have ceased being used as a post office in 1989, at which time it was purchased by the Temuka Assembly of God Trust Board. In 2006 ownership was transferred to Alexander and Laurie Copland, and the building now houses Laurie’s collection and shop of vintage fashion items.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Ussher, E.R.

Ussher came to New Zealand in 1861 from Canada and was appointed Surveyor of Roads for Otago Province. Based in Dunedin in 1871 he was a railway surveyor in the newly formed Public Works Department and two years later was Surveyor of Waste Lands. By 1878 he was working again for the Public Works Department as Resident Engineer on the construction of the Dunedin-Christchurch railway.

A short time after this he became District Engineer for Otago, remaining in this position for 47 years. He carried out rail construction in mid and north Canterbury and also for branch railways in Southland. In 1904 he assisted P.S. Hay with exploration and surveys for his monumental report on hydro-electric power resources. In 1886 Ussher was elected Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

Messrs Petrie and Son

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Messrs Palliser

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1901 - 1902

Roof level chimneys, parapets/pediments and iron railing removed

Completion Date

27th February 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