Built in 1908 and twice relocated, the Edwardian Band Rotunda at Trousellot Park on Charles Street in Kaiapoi is a marker of the importance of bands to communities throughout the country. The Kaiapoi Brass Band had been formed in the mid 1850s, just as the town was being established. Membership was drawn from the local settler communities and the band performed regularly at community events. The erection of the Band Rotunda was a direct result of a petition signed by 130 ratepayers and residents presented to the Kaiapoi Borough Council in 1907. The building has local significance reflecting the high profile role of brass bands to the social and cultural lives of the community especially in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The Band Rotunda was designed by Thomas Keir, following his 1907 design for the Rangiora Band Rotunda, and was constructed by Paynter and Hamilton. It is octagonal in plan, with open balustraded sides and a slightly pitched eight-piece metal roof atopped by a decorative metal finial. There are three sets of timber steps leading up to the rotunda. The main steps are on the east, around three sides of the rotunda. Narrower steps with handrails are on the west and north sides. A timber balustrade, with diagonal crossed timbers, surmounts the platform and the main superstructure is held up by timber posts at each corner of the rotunda. Two plaques are situated on the east site of base of the Band Rotunda. In recent years the Band Rotunda has been restored.
Originally erected at Darnley Square in 1908, the Band Rotunda was shifted in 1913 to its second location, Raven Quay. It was moved to its present location, its third shift within Kaiapoi, in 2003.
In its third location, the Band Rotunda is still used on occasions for brass band performances and remains a well-regarded community facility as a recreational shelter and gathering place. The Band Rotunda is significant for the Kaiapoi Brass Band. The restoration of the building in 2004 and its ongoing maintenance attest to the importance of the building to the community.
Architectural Significance or Value
The Kaiapoi Band Rotunda has architectural value in its reflection of characteristics of a particular building type, namely band rotundas. Such traits identifiable with band rotundas include the octagonal ground plan, slightly pitched eight-piece corrugated steel roof covering, cast iron decoration, and steps leading up to the main floor of the rotunda.
Social Significance or Value
The Kaiapoi Band Rotunda reflects important and representative aspects of New Zealand history, notably attitudes to music, public commemoration and civic reception. The structure can be considered to enjoy public esteem, having been used for a range of events since its erection in 1908, and in more recent times for Waitangi Day commemorations.
(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history
The Band Rotunda reflects aspects of New Zealand history. Outdoor concerts by bands were a feature of Edwardian society. Therefore the Band Rotunda has potential for public education about the role of music and public recreation in early twentieth century society. The Band Rotunda is a representative type of building, like many built in towns and cities throughout New Zealand in the Victorian and Edwardian eras.
(e) The community association with, or public esteem for, the place
The Band Rotunda was first erected as a result of a petition signed by a large proportion of the Kaiapoi Borough’s ratepayers. Public esteem for the place has waxed and waned over the years. The Kaiapoi community has demonstrated its renewed esteem for the building through their expressions of concern for the Band Rotunda in the early 2000s and its subsequent relocation and restoration. Following damage and demolition of numerous historic buildings following the earthquakes, it now also serves as an historic item that is increasingly rare in the district. It is also a valued public amenity.
Information in square brackets below indicates modifications made after the review report was considered by the Heritage New Zealand Board in June 2014.
Kaiapoi and the surrounding area have a long and distinguished history of Māori settlement and occupation. The town of Kaiapoi takes its name from Kaiapohia pā, a stronghold of the Ngāi Tahu iwi, which was established in that area around the year 1700 on the Rakahuri (Ashley) River. The area was a notable mahinga kai and thriving trading centre for a range of goods, including pounamu. In 1831, Kaiapohia pā was attacked and overrun by Te Rauparaha and his northern followers, using their newly acquired musketry. The extensive loss of lives and the razing of the pa to the ground was a significant moment in Ngāi Tahu history in the area. There is still considerable archaeological evidence of Māori history of the area, including a fishing encampment at the south of the township, and numerous archaeological sites to the north including a series of reported firestones, shell middens, artefacts and burials on the bank of the Cam River.
From the mid nineteenth century, Pākehā missionaries and immigrants settled in Kaiapoi, many arriving as part of the Canterbury Association settlement programme. The town was first named Gladstone by the planners and by 1854 it had a wool store, general store and hotel. The push for a railway line north from Christchurch began in the 1860s and in 1870 when, to promote settlement and stimulate economic growth, the government adopted Colonial Treasurer Julius Vogel's (1835-1899) proposal to build a transport network throughout the country.
The Kaiapoi Band was formed very early on in the development of the town. In December 1855 an article in the Lyttelton Times noted members of the Kaiapoi Brass Band performed at the Kaiapoi Hotel following government elections. The band performed throughout the remainder of the nineteenth century at various venues and was a key source of entertainment at a range of social gatherings and formal events. The composition of the band frequently involved many members from the same families. An early recollection of Kaiapoi’s Brass Band noted the Blakeley, Broadley and Wright families as forming most of the band in the late nineteenth century. Reuben Blakeley is said to have been one of the first in New Zealand to play a metal clarinet or saxophone. At the opening of the Kaiapoi boating season in 1890, members of the Kaiapoi Brass Band performed on board a boat rowed by four oars. Over time, the lack of suitable accommodation for outdoor performances caused concern. In March 1907 a letter and petition signed by 130 ratepayers and residents was forwarded to the Kaiapoi Borough Council by the Kaiapoi Brass Band for assistance in the provision of outdoor accommodation for them to perform. The petition represented a significant proportion of the borough’s ratepayers and the Council felt obliged to act on the request. Thomas Keir, a Rangiora Borough Councillor and former Mayor, with a business background in building and sawmilling, designed the structure and fundraising efforts for the erection of a rotunda began later that year. Keir had been responsible for the design of the Band Rotunda in Rangiora which was officially opened a year earlier than the Kaiapoi one, in January 1907 (Register No. 3765, Category 2 Historic Place). Keir and the Rangiora Borough Council agreed the same plan could be used, with a few alterations. Two tenders were received for the building of the rotunda in February 1908, with Paynter & Hamilton being confirmed as the successful tenderer with a price of £119.16.0.
The Kaiapoi Band Rotunda was built in 1908 by Paynter and Hamilton Limited to Keir’s design. It was based on the design of the Rangiora Band Rotunda, also designed by Keir, and was originally sited at Darnley Square, some two blocks to the north-west of the current site. It was officially opened on 15 April 1908. Within only a few years, a deputation of ratepayers requested that the rotunda be shifted to a more central location. The rotunda was shifted in August 1913 to its second location, Raven Quay. Over time, the use of the rotunda had decreased in Raven Quay and it was vandalised. A group of concerned locals combined to shift and restore the rotunda and a conservation plan was prepared by the Waimakariri District Council in October 2003 to guide this work. The shift to its present location in Trousselot Park on Charles Street took place in September 2003. In this location, it serves as a central focus for gatherings and events, including Waitangi Day celebrations. The Kaiapoi Brass Band [turned 125 years in 2010 but the anniversary celebration, intended to be held at the Band Rotunda in October of that year, had to be cancelled due to the Darfield earthquake of 4 September 2010].
The Band Rotunda in Kaiapoi sits on a parcel of land on the east bank of the Kaiapoi River in an open grassy area within Trousellot Park, some 28 metres from the road and 55 metres from the Kaiapoi River bank. To the north-west the Mandeville Bridge spans the Kaiapoi River between Black and Davie Streets (Register No. 1812, Category 2 Historic Place).
The Band Rotunda is octagonal in plan, with open balustraded sides and a slightly pitched eight-piece metal roof atopped by a decorative metal finial. There are three sets of timber steps leading up to the rotunda. The main steps are on the east, around three sides of the rotunda. Narrower steps with handrails are on the west and north sides. A timber balustrade, with diagonal crossed timbers, surmounts the platform and the main superstructure is held up by timber posts at each corner of the rotunda. Two plaques are situated on the east site of base of the Band Rotunda.
Architectural Comparative Analysis
Strictly speaking, a rotunda is any building with a circular ground plan, sometimes covered by a dome. Band rotundas tend to have an octagonal ground plan and are usually covered. As a building type, band rotundas are found throughout New Zealand, in towns and cities both big and small. They are part of the fabric of so many communities in much the same way that war memorials are. As Robyn Turner stated in her 1985 article, The Band Rotunda, ‘nobody notices a band rotunda until someone wants to remove it’. The NZHPT Register of historic places, historic areas, wahi tapu and wahi tapu areas has at least 19 individually registered band rotundas, most being built in the late nineteenth century or early twentieth century (Register Numbers 726, 766, 789, 868, 882, 940, 1865, 2894, 3093, 3748, 3765, 3851, 4193, 4208, 4257, 4300, 4609, 4979 and 7154). Most are similar in appearance to the Kaiapoi Band Rotunda, and some serve also as war memorials.
Construction at Darnley Square
Relocation to Raven Street (now known as Raven Quay)
Second relocation, to Trousselot Park, on Charles Street
Timber, corrugated steel, cast iron
6th May 2014
Report Written By
Cyclopedia of New Zealand, 1903
Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908, Vol. 3, Canterbury Provincial District, Christchurch, 1903
Pauline Wood, Kaiapoi: A Search for Identity, Rangiora, 1993
Brockelbank, Charles, Old Kaiapoi, 1941.
Woodward, S John (ed), Waimakariri Historic Trails, Waimakariri District Council, 2000.
A fully referenced report is available from the Canterbury/West Coast Office of Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.
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.