Theatre Royal

25 Seddon Street, Raetihi

  • Theatre Royal, Raetihi.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Greg Mason. Date: 8/06/2001.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7347 Date Entered 25th October 1996

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

Extent of registration includes the land described as Lot 1 DP 5220 (CT WN390/42), Wellington Land District, and the building thereon known as Theatre Royal and its fixtures and fittings

City/District Council

Ruapehu District

Region

Horizons (Manawatu-Wanganui) Region

Legal description

Lot 1 DP 5220 (CT WN390/42), Wellington Land District

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Historical/Social:

The Royal, Raetihi, has local historical significance as a movie theatre, social focal point and, for five years, a temporary church for the people of this formerly isolated sawmilling and farming community.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Aesthetic:

The building forms an important part of the streetscape of Raetihi's main road.

Architectural:

The Royal Picture Theatre is a solid concrete building designed and built in the Stripped Classical style. The symmetry of the facade has been compromised by a wooden projection box extending over the verandah, although this addition is reversible.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

The following comments are made in relation to the criteria identified under S.23(2) of the Historic Places Act 1993.

b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history:

The building was one of the few important structures to survive the disastrous fire of 18-19 March 1918, which razed one hundred and twenty houses and more than sixty commercial and industrial buildings.

The screening of two film premiers, one for the acclaimed 'Skin Deep', gives the theatre some claim to more than local significance.

The Royal was built in 1915 by local sawmiller, Mr John F. Punch, who arrived in Raetihi in April 1893 and established a sawmill on a site next door to where the theatre stands today. In 1925 it was sold by the Punch family to the Thompson family of Ohakune, a member of that family, Bruce Thompson, being the present owner.

The picture theatre formed an important focal point for any community throughout much of the twentieth century, and the Royal would appear to have had great social significance for this formerly isolated community.

c) The potential of the place to provide knowledge of New Zealand history:

The Royal demonstrates an important aspect of public entertainment and social interaction in Raetihi throughout much of the 20th century.

g) The technical accomplishment or value, or design of the place:

The Royal Picture Theatre is a solid concrete building designed and built in 1915 in the Stripped Classical style. Interesting details of the original design which are still visible on the main facade are the three large segmented Neo Georgian style windows on the ground floor which are followed through on the first floor by similarly segmented fanlights; four pilasters (fluted on the ground floor) running through two floors and terminating in parapets and a central gable bearing the legend "The Royal 1915", plus wrought iron verandah posts designed in the Corinthian order.

The symmetry of the facade has been compromised by a wooden projection box extending over the verandah. The segmented window frame which now frames the projection box in the interior, once acted as an exit on to the balcony in the days of silent film.

The interior of the Royal, with its 1940s single tier seating arrangement, is a relatively unadorned example of an early movie theatre.

Conclusion:

The Royal, 22 Seddon St, Raetihi, is recommended for registration as a Category II as a place of historical and cultural heritage significance and value. The Royal demonstrates an important aspect of public entertainment and social interaction in Raetihi throughout much of the twentieth century. The Stripped Classical style of the building, though compromised by a later addition, forms an important part of Raetihi's streetscape.

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Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1915 -

Information Sources

New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT)

New Zealand Historic Places Trust

Nomination Form

Other Information

A copy of the original report is available from the NZHPT Central 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.