St Martin’s Anglican Church

3487 Kurow-Duntroon Road And Earthquake Road, Duntroon

  • St Martin’s Anglican Church.
    Copyright: Advertising & Art. Taken By: Stewart Robertson.
  • St Martin’s Anglican Church. June 2012. Image courtesy of Bill Caelli.
    Copyright: Bill Caelli. Taken By: Bill Caelli.
  • St Martin’s Anglican Church. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: itravelnz - Wikimedia Commons. Taken By: itravelnz - Wikimedia Commons. Date: 3/06/2012.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2429 Date Entered 7th April 1983 Date of Effect 7th April 1983


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Pt Lot 1 DP 294 (RT OT122/26), Otago Land District, and the building known as St Martin’s Anglican Church, thereon.

City/District Council

Waitaki District


Canterbury Region

Legal description

Pt Lot 1 DP 294 (RT OT122/26), Otago Land District


Funded by a bequest from Emily Campbell, wife of runholder Robert Campbell of Otekaieke Station, this handsome church designed by architect Thomas Cane and built 1901, tells a story of landed gentry in North Otago and of the significance of religion in nineteenth century New Zealand. St Martin’s Anglican Church has aesthetic, architectural, historic and spiritual significance.

Between 1881 and 1891 the Waitaki Valley Anglican community was served by curates who lived locally but who were appointed by the vicar of Oamaru. In 1891 the Waitaki Mission District was established and Hugh Corrie Frere was appointed first curate of the parish. Kurow was in the Waitaki Mission District of the Anglican Church that extended from the ‘sea coast to a point in the mountains beyond Kurow, about sixty miles from that township.’ The district included the settlements of Kurow, Ngapara, Livingstone, Maerewhenua, Duntroon and the Hakataramea Valley. Frere’s appointment coincided with the generous but troublesome bequest left by Emily Campbell, wife of the late Robert Campbell who had been a leading North Otago landholder.

The Campbell bequest caused some difficulties for the parish. In 1892 the Church News reported from Minister H.C. Frere, the Anglican priest for the parish, that a ‘terrible mistake’ had been made in the bequest restricting it to the building of one church and parsonage for the Kurow and Duntroon districts. The trustees could not buy land or allow two churches to be built nor provide for the clergyman’s stipend. There was considerable local controversy over where the church should be built: the Duntroon folk wished the church and parsonage erected side by side in their town. While Kurow people argued for the buildings to be there. Nor did the endowment provide for a stipend for a curate. The bishop stepped in to offer a compromise where the parsonage would be built at Kurow and the church at Duntroon.

An 1892 newspaper article discussed the Kurow controversy. Mrs Campbell left £6,000 to the Anglican Church Property Trustees for the building of a church and parsonage between Kurow and Duntroon – the towns are 22 kilometres apart. After a lengthy period of debate a site in Duntroon was chosen and purchased from R. Orr. Plans were called for and the design of Christchurch architect Thomas Cane was chosen by the congregation and approved by the bishop. The Otago Daily Times described the design as fourteenth century Gothic and consisting of a nave, chancel, vestry, organ chamber and tower. All windows had traceried heads and were glazed with pale green cathedral glass with white margins in lead quarries. The floors were tiled, except under the seats where there were wood. The nave provided seating for 95 adults. The font, located just inside the door, stood on a base of wrought bluestone. The chancel was accessed down three bluestone steps through a ‘truly magnificent arch.’ The tower was finished with a battlemented parapet with a crocketted pinnacle at each corner. The tower from floor level to apex is fifty feet high. All corbels, capitals, summer stones and bosses were carved to Cane’s carefully conceived designs. The stone was from Perry’s Totara quarry. The contractor was John Menzies from Maheno, who also built the Kurow vicarage. The carver was Mr Baird of Hall Street in South Dunedin. Mr and Mrs Campbell presented a brass altar cross and desk, vases and candlesticks, and book markers.

St Martin’s Anglican Church was consecrated by the Bishop of Dunedin on 29 August 1901 and named for St Martin’s in the old town of Duntroon in Scotland. In his address the bishop recalled the kindness of the donors in giving the church and noted that it was built just outside Duntroon ‘on the nearest pieces of land’ to the Kurow vicarage and chapel. He recognised the effort that both the architect and the builder had put into the church.

In 2010 a stained glass window from Duntroon’s now-closed St Magnus Presbyterian Church in memory of parishioners Tom Mclean and Douglas Peterson found a new home in St Martin’s. In 2016, St Martin’s Anglican Church remains the centre for Anglican worship in the Waitaki Valley.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Cane, Thomas Walter

Thomas Cane (1830-1905) was born in Brighton, Sussex. For many years he worked for Sir Gilbert Scott, the celebrated architect of London. Cane came to Lyttelton in 1874 and succeeded Benjamin Woolfield Mountfort (1825-1898) as Provincial Architect for Canterbury. He held this position until the abolition of the provinces in 1876, making his name as a Christchurch architect.

Cane was responsible for Corfe House at Christ's College and for Christchurch Girls' High School which became the School of Art, and later an extension of the University of Canterbury Library. Cane also achieved recognition as a landscape artist.

John Menzies

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1901 -

2010 -
Stained glass window from St Magnus Presbyterian Church installed

Completion Date

19th December 2016

Report Written By

Heather Bauchop

Other Information

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.

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Otago/Southland Office of Heritage New Zealand.