University of Otago Marama Hall

Union Street, Dunedin

  • University of Otago Marama Hall, Dunedin. CC BY-SA 3.0 Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Benchill - Wikimedia Commons. Taken By: Benchill. Date: 19/09/2009.
  • University of Otago Marama Hall, Dunedin. CC BY-SA 3.0 Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Benchill - Wikimedia Commons. Taken By: Benchill. Date: 26/04/2009.
  • University of Otago Marama Hall, Dunedin. Building detail CC BY-SA 3.0 Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Benchill - Wikimedia Commons. Taken By: Benchill. Date: 19/09/2009.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2227 Date Entered 27th July 1988 Date of Effect 27th July 1988


City/District Council

Dunedin City


Otago Region

Legal description

Pt Lot1 DP8790 & Lot4 DP9986 & secs 11/20 pts 1/2 10 DP 1649

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Otago University was opened in 1871 and is the oldest of the New Zealand Universities. In 1919 the Ministry of Defence offered the University surplus money from the Hospital Ships fund to build a hall for the military training of Medical students. This building was constructed shortly afterwards. The hall was originally named the Maheno and Marama Hall after two World War I Hospital ships.

Architectural Significance:

A part of the Gothic complex of University buildings built between 1878 and 1920s, which constitutes a major example of nineteenth and early twentieth century Gothic in New Zealand, impressive in its size and completeness.

Townscape/landmark Significance:

Marama Hall is a pleasing part of the old quadrangle area but has less significance when the complex is viewed from the street.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Anscombe, Edmund

Anscombe (1874-1948) was born in Sussex and came to New Zealand as a child. He began work as a builder's apprentice in Dunedin and in 1901 went to America to study architecture. He returned to Dunedin in 1907 and designed the School of Mines building for the University of Otago. The success of this design gained him the position of architect to the University. Five of the main University buildings were designed by Anscombe, as well as Otago Girls' High School and several of Dunedin's finest commercial buildings including the Lindo Ferguson Building (1927) and the Haynes building.

Anscombe moved to Wellington about 1928 and was known for his work as the designer of the Centennial Exhibition (1939-1940). Anscombe had travelled extensively and had visited major exhibitions in Australia, Germany and America. The practice of Edmund Anscombe and Associates, Architects, had offices in the Dunedin, Wellington and Hawkes Bay districts, and Anscombe's buildings include the Vocational Centre for Disabled Servicemen, Wellington (1943), Sargent Art Gallery, Wanganui, and several blocks of flats including Anscombe Flats, 212 Oriental Parade (1937) and Franconia, 136 The Terrace (1938), both in Wellington. As well as being interested in the housing problem, Anscombe held strong views concerning the industrial advancement of New Zealand.

(See also )

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

Date of the Building:

The building was completed in 1923 and is the youngest of the complex of older buildings.

Architectural Description (Style):

Anscombe faithfully follow the style set by Bury, but Bury was influenced by Sir George Scott's design for Glasgow University built in 1870. Bury improved on Scott's design with more lively Gothic designs.


Exterior unmodified and the interior modified to some degree. The hall still exists.

Notable Features

The strongly designed stonework in contrasting dark grey and white stone.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1923 -

Construction Details

Constructed of Port Chalmers breccia for the base and andesite with Oamaru stone facings for the walls and a slate roof.

Information Sources

New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT)

New Zealand Historic Places Trust

J Stauchen, NZHPT Assessment Report, 1973

Stacpoole, 1976

John Stacpoole, Colonial Architecture in New Zealand, Wellington, 1976

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.