St Mark's Church (Anglican)

35 Elizabeth Avenue, Rakaia

  • St Mark's Church (Anglican), Rakaia. Image courtesy of www.flickr.com.
    Copyright: Shellie Evans . Taken By: Shellie Evans – flyingkiwigirl. Date: 16/07/2017.
  • St Mark's Church (Anglican), Rakaia.
    Copyright: Church Property Trustees. Date: 22/05/2007.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 5453 Date Entered 28th November 1992

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 1 DP 302026 (CT 8086), Canterbury Land District and the building known as St Mark’s Church (Anglican) thereon.

City/District Council

Ashburton District

Region

Canterbury Region

Legal description

Lot 1 DP 302026 (CT 8086), Canterbury Land District

Summaryopen/close

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. The text that follows is from the original Proposal for Classification report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Built in 1877, this Gothic style church is a simple rectangular structure, with a square ended chancel, and is typical of Mountfort's simple timber churches for small parishes. The church is pivotal in the development of the Rakaia district, after the railway reached Rakaia in 1874.

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Construction Professionalsopen/close

Mountfort, Benjamin Woolfield

Benjamin Woolfield Mountfort (1825-98) trained as an architect in England, in the office of Richard Cromwell Carpenter, a member of the Cambridge Camden Society (later the Ecclesiological Society). He arrived in Canterbury in 1850.

Mountfort was New Zealand's pre-eminent Gothic Revival architect and, according to architectural historian Ian Lochhead, 'did most to shape the architectural character of nineteenth-century Christchurch.' The buildings he designed were almost exclusively in the Gothic Revival style.

During his career he designed many churches and additions to churches; those still standing include the Trinity Congregational Church in Christchurch (1874), St Mary's Church in Parnell, Auckland and the Church of the Good Shepherd in Phillipstown, Christchurch (1884). In 1857 he became the first architect to the province of Canterbury. He designed the Canterbury Provincial Council Buildings in three stages from 1858 to 1865. The stone chamber of this building can be considered the greatest accomplishment of his career. He was involved in many important commissions from the 1870s, including the Canterbury Museum (1869-82) and the Clock-tower Block on the Canterbury College campus (1876-77). He was also involved in the construction of Christchurch's Cathedral and made several major modifications to the original design.

Mountfort introduced a number of High Victorian elements to New Zealand architecture, such as the use of constructional polychromy, probably first used in New Zealand in the stone tower of the Canterbury Provincial Government Buildings (1859). Overall, his oeuvre reveals a consistent and virtually unerring application of Puginian principles including a commitment to the Gothic style, honest use of materials and picturesque utility. The result was the construction of inventive and impressive buildings of outstanding quality. He died in Christchurch in 1898. A belfry at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Phillipstown, the church he attended for the last ten years of his life, was erected in his honour.

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1877 -
Gothic Style

Completion Date

22nd October 1992

Report Written By

Mary O'Keeffe

Other Information

A copy of the original report is available from the NZHPT Southern region office

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.