Edmonds Ruins

Edmonds Road, Kerikeri Inlet, KERIKERI

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Edmonds Ruins, Kerikeri are the remains of a homestead and farm built by the first European settler family on the south side of the Kerikeri Inlet. The mortared stone house was built by John Edmonds and his sons between about 1840 and 1858, after his employment by the Church Missionary Society in Kerikeri had been terminated. After the house burned down about 1885, descendants continued to live on the property until the 1950s. Although the English methods of stone construction were imperfectly applied, the ruined stone house, the other structures and the dry stone walls that surround the adjacent paddocks were built sufficiently well that they have lasted to the present as an example of an early farm settlement. John Edmonds (1801 - 1865) was a stonemason from Dorset who with his wife Mary Ann (1804 - 1862) and five sons arrived in the Bay of Islands in 1834 to work for the Church Missionary Society (CMS). Edmonds was a stone mason, sent out to erect the Stone Store at the Kerikeri Mission Station. By the time of his arrival, however, the Store was practically complete. In 1839 he was paid off by the CMS, and moved his family to the five acres of land he had bought near the mouth of the Kerikeri Inlet. The family probably lived in a wooden house on the river bank at Paetae (or Paitai), before moving 750m inland to build the stone house now forming the Ruins. The family moved to Auckland in 1845, returning after the Northern War. The stone house was built from about 1840 onwards, in three main stages ending in 1858, using the basalt boulders that occur throughout the area. The first part of the house was a gabled shingled roof over two rooms, the western part of the present main structure, including the later oven, fire-place and flue in the southern wall. Subsequently, two rooms were added to the east, with a separate shingled gable roof, with two dormer windows. Finally, an Annexe was built separately to the west of the house. Further west was a small shed. None of the house walls has any apparent foundation, and the stones are generally laid in stacks with a lack of deliberate bonding. There are some dressed quoins, but these are not bonded with the adjacent masonry. The lack of bonding produced a relatively weak structure. This is especially true of the northern wall around the intact chimney. Aidan Challis has suggested that because of John Edmonds' poor health, much of the building work apart from the dressed quoins and fireplace stones may have been done by John Edmonds' relatively inexperienced sons. John Edmonds died in 1865, but members of the family continued to live in the house and farm the property. The main house was destroyed by fire in 1885 or 1886 and rendered uninhabitable. The annexe building continued to be occupied and Edmonds descendants lived on the site until the 1950s. Several fields in the vicinity were surrounded by stone walls. The two principal fields in the reserve are surrounded by a stone wall, with a central dividing wall running east-west. This central wall and both the northern and southern boundary walls have been breached to form gateways. Adjacent to the south-east corner of the Reserve is a small walled burial ground, now administered by the Otahuao Burial Ground Trustees appointed by the Maori Land Court. Edmonds Ruins represent a rare example in Northland of a stone farmhouse and related farm structures of the mid nineteenth century. The Ruins illustrate the lives of people associated with the Church Missionary Society missions after that association ceased, and provide a tangible link with the founding ancestors of the now widespread Edmonds whanau.

Edmonds Ruins, Kerikeri | 19/12/2018 | Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga
Edmonds Ruins, Kerikeri | JH | 01/09/2022 | Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga
Edmonds Ruins, Kerikeri. Walls | JH | 01/09/2022 | Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga



List Entry Information


Detailed List Entry



List Entry Status

Historic Place Category 2


Able to Visit

List Number


Date Entered

11th November 1982

Date of Effect

11th November 1982

City/District Council

Far North District


Northland Region

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 1 DP 70261, pt Section 34 Block XII Kerikeri SD; Lot 1 DP 72417 pt Section 34 Block XII Kerikeri SD, ;and Section 62 Block XII Kerikeri SD, (NZ Gazette 1975, p.1295 and p.1302 and 1979, p.3711), North Auckland Land District and the buildings / structures known as Edmonds Ruins associated with John Edmonds his family and descendants, thereon. (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the Information Upgrade Report for further information).

Legal description

Lot 1 DP 70261, Lot 1 DP 72417, Sec 62 Blk XII Kerikeri SD, (NZ Gazette 1975, p.1295, 1975 p.1302, 1979, p.3711), North Auckland Land District

Location Description

The reserve is accessed down an accessway from Edmonds Road.

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