Woodend Orchard House

128 Main North Road, Woodend

  • Woodend Orchard House. Image courtesy of vallance.photography@xtra.co.nz.
    Copyright: Francis Vallance. Taken By: Francis Vallance. Date: 20/11/2009.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 3799 Date Entered 6th September 1984


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Pt RS 685 (CT CB390/129), Canterbury Land District, and the building known as Woodend Orchard House thereon. Refer to the extent map tabled at the Rārangi Kōrero meeting of 8 March 2018.

City/District Council

Waimakariri District


Canterbury Region

Legal description

Pt RS 685 (CT CB390/129), Canterbury Land District


Woodend Orchard House at 128 Main North Road, State Highway 1, Woodend, is architecturally and historically significant as an early double brick house constructed around the 1860s by pioneer settlers, Thomas Ayers and his son Samuel as their family home. The Ayers’ made a significant contribution to the building technology in North Canterbury in the second half of the nineteenth century.

In 1858 Thomas and Elizabeth Ayers (née Gibbs) immigrated to New Zealand with their family and settled in Woodend. The tiny settlement was initially called Gibbs Town or Gibbstown, since Elizabeth’s brothers had already established themselves there, but by March 1859 it had become Woodend, in recognition of the place where the native bush ended. Thomas Ayers was a Bedfordshire stonemason who continued this trade in New Zealand and also became a bricklayer. His sons, Samuel and Thomas junior, also became bricklayers. Thomas Ayers purchased land in 1860 and later he and Samuel constructed the family home. The exact date of construction is not known but the earliest part may have been built in the early 1860s.

The Woodend Orchard House is a two storeyed cottage of double brick walls with a front facing gable and an ogee shaped verandah and corrugated iron roof. Concrete or plaster has been used in some areas to cover the brick, which was painted in the early 1970s. The interior includes panelled doors and kauri lined ceilings. Associated buildings at the rear (east) are a cookhouse and stables/timber drying shed, both constructed of red brick.

As well as being involved in the construction of a number of brick structures in the Waimakariri, including Ohoka Homestead (built early 1870s, List No. 274) and probably Haskell House, 250 Williams Street, Kaiapoi (built 1865-6, now demolished), Thomas Ayers was particularly active in the temperance lodge and Methodist church community. Thomas died in July 1886 but the house remained in the ownership of his descendants for many years. In 1911 an extension was added to the north-east, incorporating new bedrooms. In the 1950s the interior was remodelled on the ground floor. The original slate roof was replaced with corrugated iron. The original red brick exterior was painted around the 1970s. A bay window on the main elevation has been replaced with casement windows.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Ayers, Thomas and Sons.

North Canterbury bricklayers.

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1860 -

1911 -
Extension to the north-east

Interior remodelling on ground floor, slate roof replaced with corrugated iron

Exterior painted

Bay window replaced with casement window

Completion Date

19th February 2018

Report Written By

Robyn Burgess

Information Sources

Beyond the Waimakariri

D N Hawkins, Beyond the Waimakariri, 3rd edition, 2001

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