Belfast School House (Former)

665 Main North Road, Belfast

  • Belfast School House (Former). Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Shelley Morris - Madam48. Taken By: Shelley Morris - Madam48. Date: 15/09/2013.
  • Belfast School House (Former). Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Shelley Morris - Madam48. Taken By: Shelley Morris - Madam48. Date: 15/09/2013.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 3350 Date Entered 6th September 1984


City/District Council

Christchurch City


Canterbury Region

Legal description

RS 41299 - Pt Kapuatohe Historic Reserve


This site was once a Maori resting place during the trip from Tuahiwi to Lyttelton. The school itself opened in 1878 with a roll of 38 pupils. The schoolhouse, built at the same time to house staff members was occupied until 1971. (The original school building, however, was replaced with one across the road during the 1930s.) It is thought that the schoolhouse were designed by Thomas Cane (1830-1905) while he was the Canterbury Education Board architect. Cane is also known as the architect of the Timeball Station at Lyttelton and of the first Christchurch Girls' School, now part of the Arts Centre.

Because of community interest in the place the schoolhouse was taken over by the Waimairi District Council in 1978. The Council also bought the adjacent block of land which has a crofter's cottage (known as Hill's Cottage) on it dating from the 1870s. These two sections became the Kapuatohe Historic Reserve in 1979, and a local history museum now operates on the reserve. The Belfast schoolhouse is significant as one of the few remaining nineteenth century buildings in the area, in combination with Hill's Cottage next door. It is also significant as part of Canterbury's educational history.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Cane, Thomas Walter

Thomas Cane (1830-1905) was born in Brighton, Sussex. For many years he worked for Sir Gilbert Scott, the celebrated architect of London. Cane came to Lyttelton in 1874 and succeeded Benjamin Woolfield Mountfort (1825-1898) as Provincial Architect for Canterbury. He held this position until the abolition of the provinces in 1876, making his name as a Christchurch architect.

Cane was responsible for Corfe House at Christ's College and for Christchurch Girls' High School which became the School of Art, and later an extension of the University of Canterbury Library. Cane also achieved recognition as a landscape artist.

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1877 - 1878

Completion Date

20th August 2001

Report Written By

Melanie Lovell-Smith

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.