Coromandel Courthouse (Former)

355 Kapanga Road And Allman Drive, Coromandel

  • Coromandel Courthouse (Former). Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Jonty Crane . Taken By: Jonty Crane . Date: 1/04/2016.
  • Coromandel Courthouse (Former) including WWI Memorial (centre) and Queen Victoria Monument (left) and Coromandel Centennial Year Tablet (right).
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Andrew Winter. Date: 7/09/2018.
  • Coromandel Courthouse (Former). Building detail and WWI Memorial .
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Andrew Winter. Date: 7/09/2018.
  • Coromandel Courthouse (Former). Building detail and WWI Memorial .
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Andrew Winter. Date: 7/09/2018.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 4680 Date Entered 13th December 1990


City/District Council

Thames-Coromandel District


Waikato Region

Legal description

Lot 3 DPS 45087 (CT SA41A/891), South Auckland Land District



The Auckland Provincial Council built the Government Building at Coromandel in 1873. It was the administrative centre for the Coromandel goldfield and incorporated a courthouse for the Resident Magistrate and the Mining Warden, together with office accommodation for the District Engineer and other officials. It made redundant an earlier building of 1862 which had been one of the first permanent buildings in wood on the Coromandel goldfield. Declining gold production by 1869 resulted in the withdrawal of government officers from the town then known as Kapanga. However, further gold discoveries in 1868 resulted in the rejuvenation of the town and the re-establishment of government services.

Towards the end of the century, the Post office was located in the building and by 1954 Court sittings were no longer being held there. The building then became used as offices for the local authority, which use continues today following the 1989 local government reorganisation.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

This was the second building at Coromandel (Kapanga) housing the administrative and judicial offices of the provincial government. This use was continued by central government following the abolition of the provinces in 1875. Today it is a local government facility.


This is a simply detailed building which has some traditional classical ornamentation, such as the pilasters and pediment with dentils. It is a rare extant example of a Provincial Government office building and courthouse, and it has some fine detailing inside.


Prominent from Kapanga Road in low-rise Coromandel. Enhanced by its garden setting.


Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description


Not known


The building may have been designed in the office of the Coromandel District Engineer, Alexander Aitken, who records forwarding plans for the building to the Goldfields Secretary in Auckland at the end of November 1872. This was six weeks after the Secretary was reported to have given the instruction that plans be prepared. The contract was supervised by Aitken.


The building has a gable front, with substantial identical wings on either side. This front is classically detailed. Corner pilasters support an entablature and a pediment embellished by dentils. A medallion in the centre bears the 1873 construction date. There are two double hung sash windows, with hood mouldings on the gable front. This central portion of the building houses the courtroom.

Each wing has a simply supported verandah and double hung sash windows. The west wing has a single metal ventilator duct on the ridge, and an attic window in the gable end. A brick chimney protrudes from the ridge in the centre of each wing. Successive lean-to additions clutter the rear of the building.

Inside, the lofty space of the courtroom has a middle cruk ceiling. The wall has horizontal wooden cladding. The dado, with its vertical tongue-and-groove cladding, is a later addition. Star patterns cut in the ceiling act as ventilators. A simple prosecution stand contrasts with the balustrade ornamentation of the magistrate's bench.

Although the remaining interior layout has been changed over the years, much of the original interior cladding and original ceiling remains. A fireplace surround in the St John's Ambulance wing is intact.


1896 - Post Office accommodation in west wing enlarged.

1897 - Lean-to added for telephones and batteries, west wing.

1899 - Strong room and safe added.

1945 - Concrete lavatory built at end of courtroom.

Date Unknown - Gable window of east end filled in and interior walls removed.

Notable Features

The courthouse finishing and furnishing.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1873 -

Construction Details

Timber frame and cladding; wooden floors, partitions, sarking and ceiling; galvanised corrugated iron roof.

Information Sources

Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives (AJHR)

Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives

1874 p67, App. F of App. E3

- 1893 p54, App. F of App. D1

- 1899 p97, App. E of App. D1

Archives New Zealand (Auck)

Archives New Zealand (Auckland)

Manuscripts/Press - copy letter book, District Engineer & Mining

Theses: Inspector, Coromandel. Held at National Archives, Auckland. Accession No. 432, Item No. 195.

Auckland Public Libraries

Auckland Public Libraries

Photographs: Neg: A8802; 8813

Auckland Weekly News

Auckland Weekly News

8 June 1872, p4(2) & p9(1)

20 July 1872, p4(2)

22 September 1872, p4(2)

8 February 1873, p4(5)

30 August 1873, p16(3)

Cyclopedia of New Zealand, 1902

Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908, Vol.2, Christchurch, 1902

Journals of the Auckland Provincial Council

Journals of the Auckland Provincial Council

Session XVIII, 1872 App. A, No. 5 p4

- Session XXIX, 1873-4 App. A, No. 2 p9

New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald, 12 July 1932, p. 6; 28 September 1933, p. 6.

5 February 1873, p2(6)

17 March 1873, p3(1)

1 September 1873, p2(1)

3 September 1873, p3(2)

Southern Cross

Southern Cross

30 August 1862 p3(5)

7 July 1868 p3(3)

Porter, 1983

Frances Porter (ed), Historic Buildings of Dunedin, South Island, Methuen, Auckland, 1983.


McNeil, 1964

A R McNeil, Memories of Old Coromandel, Coromandel, 1964

Rhodes, 1899

T W Rhodes, The History & Resources of the Auckland Goldfields, Coromandel, 1899

Haglund, 1949

J R Haglund, 'A History of the Coromandel Goldfield, 1853-1868. The Second Phase of Development', M.A. Thesis, Auckland University, 1949.

Porter, 1983 (2)

Frances Porter (ed.), Historic Buildings of New Zealand: North Island (2nd edn.), Auckland, 1983

Other Information

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

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.