15 Takahe Terrace, St Leonards, Dunedin

  • Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Google Maps 2012.
  • Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Google Maps 2012.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2165 Date Entered 2nd July 1982


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 2 DP 304073 (CT 16331), Otago Land District, and the building known as House thereon.

City/District Council

Dunedin City


Otago Region

Legal description

Lot 2 DP 304073 (CT 16331), Otago Land District


The house at 15 Takahe Terrace, built circa 1915 in the Dunedin harbourside suburb of St Leonards is a good example of a substantial Edwardian residence. The building has historic significance as part of an enclave of properties associated with the Stevenson and Cook families, partners in the engineering firm of Stevenson and Cook - Ship Builders, Engineers and Boilermakers. The building has architectural significance as a fine example of a residential building of the time, built for one of Dunedin’s wealthy families.

Archival information from the Dunedin City Council suggests the house was built about 1915 for Stevenson’s daughter Isabella Buchanan. The 1914-1915 rates records show an improved value of £1550 in the name of Isabella Buchanan (birth records record Isabella as ‘Mary Isabella Stevenson’). The land was previously part of 16 acres belonging to Isabella’s father, engineer Isaac Stevenson. The construction date roughly coincides with Isabella’s marriage to Gilbert Buchanan, a printer described by historian Ian Church as a ‘pioneer in illustrations work with the Evening Star.’ Scottish-born Isaac Stevenson (1851-1946) came to New Zealand, via Australia in 1875. Stevenson was a partner in the successful engineering firm Stevenson and Cook, and was an investor in (and dredge builder for) a number of prosperous gold dredging ventures in New Zealand and Victoria, Australia. Stevenson was active in community affairs and served as mayor of Port Chalmers from 1906-1908. Stevenson’s commercial success reputedly enabled him to gift homes to his children upon their marriages, with 15 Takahe Terrace being his wedding gift to Isabella.

No information has been discovered about the architect or builder of 15 Takahe Terrace (formerly Scotland Street). The house is an attractive two storey residence constructed in a style typical of suburban Edwardian architecture. The style also has Arts and Crafts elements in its materials and structural elements. A broad palette of materials has been used including brick, tile, roughcast, and shingles. At the front there is a single gabled wing projecting from the main body of the building. Within the gable front there is a projecting flared roughcast panel and at ground floor level a projecting bay window. The building also has gabled sections on the north and south (side) elevations. Features such as bay windows, verandahs and entrances provide interest, as do the architectural elements such as verandahs, flat and hipped roof bay windows, multi-paned top-light windows, shingled window awnings, and recessed front and side entrances. Inside the building, many original period features have been retained including the entrance hall, stairwell, timber panelling, and fibrous plaster ceilings.

Alterations have generally been sympathetic to the spirit and character of the house. The rear of the building has been most heavily modified, meaning that the front and side elevations visible from the street hold the most architectural value. Together with Isaac Stevenson’s home ‘Pa Waitaha’ (replaced in 1930 by the building now known as University Lodge (List entries 2223 and 2224); 17 Takahe Terrace, the home built for another daughter, Agnes, and her husband John Fraser (List No. 2165); 16 Takahe Terrace, Isaac’s son John MacDonald Stevenson’s home (also a wedding gift from Isaac Stevenson according to Church); and John Cook’s home ‘Aorangi’ (List No. 2139); the house at 15 Takahe Terrace forms part of an enclave of high status homes associated with the Stevenson and Cook families who prospered off the back of the Victorian and Otago gold dredging booms. In 2017, 15 Takahe Terrace remains a family home.


Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Completion Date

12th June 2017

Report Written By

Jane O'Dea

Information Sources

Church, 2011

Ian Church, ‘Haven at St Leonards: The Story of University Lodge, its background and occupants’, Friends of the Hocken, 2011

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 Otago/Soutland Area Office of Heritage New Zealand.