Vestry Building

2 Murray Street And Milford-Clandeboye Road, Temuka Cemetery, Temuka

  • Vestry Building, Temuka.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Milly Woods. Date: 7/02/2018.
  • Vestry Building, Temuka.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Melanie Lovell-Smith.
  • Vestry Building, Temuka. Image included in Field Record Form Collection.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand . Taken By: C Cochran. Date: 8/04/1983.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 2037 Date Entered 23rd June 1983


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Res 857 (NZ Gazette 2006, p. 3589 and NZ Gazette 2013 p. 284), Canterbury Land District, and the building known as Vestry Building thereon. Refer to the extent map tabled at the Rārangi Kōrero meeting of 8 March 2018.

City/District Council

Timaru District


Canterbury Region

Legal description

Res 857 (NZ Gazette 2006, p. 3589 and NZ Gazette 2013 p. 284), Canterbury Land District

Location description

The Temuka Cemetery is located on the corner of Murray Street and Milford-Clandeboye Road, Temuka. The Vestry Building is located by the main gates off Milford-Clandeboye Road.


The small timber Vestry Building at Temuka Cemetery, constructed some time from the late 1880s, is a small hexagonal building constructed of timber that was built as a robing room for clergy and as the repository for maps and burial records. It has architectural and historical significance.

In the 1860s the new township of Temuka initially set aside land for a cemetery in a swampy area west of King Street and south of High Street (now Domain Avenue). A few people were buried there but it soon proved an unsuitable site and so a new cemetery was established at the eastern end of High Street (Domain Avenue). This cemetery had its first interment in February 1868. At first the cemetery was described as having a ‘wild and desert like appearance’ but soon became widely recognised as a model cemetery that was well-managed and with attractive well maintained plantings. Hedges of pine and macrocarpa were planted around the perimeter and gates were installed at the main entrance on the south side. Near the entrance gates a small cottage was built for the caretaker but this was taken off-site in 1887. In October 1887, the Temuka Cemetery Board decided to obtain tenders and plans for the erection, in the cemetery, of ‘a small building containing one room for the accommodation of the clergy’. A small hexagonal building, commonly known as the Vestry Building, was constructed on the site of the caretaker’s cottage some time after October 1887. The Vestry Building was constructed as a robing room for clergy and as the repository for maps and burial records.

The building is a six-sided rusticated weatherboard building. It is built with classical detailing, including timber quoins on all corners and carved brackets under the eaves. The hipped roof is corrugated iron, tiered near the apex and topped by a wrought iron finial. A panelled timber entrance door is located on the northern elevation and on each of the other sides are narrow box sash windows. The interior comprises one room.

In recent decades, the timber quoins, door architrave and window surrounds have been painted a dark colour, in contrast to the lighter cream colour paint of the remainder of the exterior.


Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1888 -

Completion Date

12th February 2018

Report Written By

Robyn Burgess

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 Southland Regional Office of Heritage New Zealand