217 Manchester Street, Christchurch

  • Shands, Manchester St, Christchurch. CC BY-SA 4.0 Image courtesy of .
    Copyright: Michal Klajban - Wikimedia Commons. Taken By: Michal Klajban. Date: 4/12/2019.
  • Shands, Manchester St, Christchurch.
    Copyright: Christchurch Heritage Trust. Taken By: Anna Crighton. Date: 16/01/2018.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 307 Date Entered 2nd April 1985 Date of Effect 13th March 2019 Date of Last Review 21st February 2019


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Lot 1 DP 503017 (RT 756131) and part of the land described as legal road, Canterbury Land District, and the building known as Shand’s thereon. (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the List entry report for further information).

City/District Council

Christchurch City


Canterbury Region

Legal description

Lot 1 DP 503017 (RT 756131) and Legal Road, Canterbury Land District


Dating from 1860, the relocated timber building known as Shand’s at 217 Manchester Street, Christchurch, is one of the city’s oldest commercial buildings that, until the Canterbury Earthquakes of 2010-11, had remained on its original site in Hereford Street. Its retention and shift to a new site adjacent to the historic Trinity Congregational Church (former), still within the CBD, tells an important story of heritage survival following the drastic loss of buildings as a result of the quakes. Shand’s has aesthetic, architectural, historical and social significance or value.

Prominent early colonial settler, John Shand owned land on Hereford Street, Christchurch, which was leased and subsequently sub-leased. Terms of the lease stated that a dwelling was to be erected but, in 1860, an office building was constructed instead.

A simple, utilitarian two-storeyed building, rectangular in plan, Shand’s is a rare surviving example of early commercial timber architecture in New Zealand. The building is clad in weatherboard with a shingle roof. The main (now east) elevation contains, at ground floor level, a large shop front window containing the words ‘Shand’s’ in gold signwriting and double entrance doors, and a further two windows are at first floor level.

The building housed offices -and from 1933 a watchmaker and jeweller -until 1977 when the whole building was converted to retail and named Shands Emporium. It suffered a moderate amount of damage as a result of the Canterbury Earthquakes of 2010-11 but the neighbouring buildings did not fare so well. Following the quakes, the Olympia Building and former New Zealand Trust and Loan Building to its west and Gough House at 90 Hereford Street to its east were demolished, along with all other buildings on the south side of that Hereford Street block. Shand’s was saved as a result of protracted efforts by heritage interest groups and private individuals to find a suitable new home for the building. Its retention through relocation and careful restoration and partial reconstruction by Christchurch Heritage Trust have meant that this modest colonial building continues to survive as the oldest surviving timber commercial building within the Christchurch CBD.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Shand’s has historical significance. Built only ten years after the first English immigrants arrived in the Canterbury settlement, it tells the story of pioneer enterprises and settlement. It is of outstanding significance as a survivor from the period before security and wealth encouraged the erection of more substantial permanent material structures. As one of Christchurch’s oldest commercial buildings, dating from 1860, it is significant that it remained on its original site until the Canterbury Earthquakes of 2010-11.

The relocation of Shand’s onto the site of the quake-damaged Trinity Congregational Church (Former), still within the Christchurch CBD, is now an important part of its history. Its relocation is part of the story of the drastic events and unprecedented rapid change due to the Canterbury Earthquakes of 2010-11.

Aesthetic Significance or Value

Shand’s has aesthetic value. Its visual appearance elicits an emotional response as a rare symbolic survivor of both the pressure of development through the twentieth century and the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010-2011. There would have been a real sense of loss that would have occurred if it had been destroyed. The continuation of its green and red colour scheme and gold window lettering both hark back to its time operating as the much-frequented vintage store ‘Shand’s Emporium’. The small size and layout of the building, including its steep staircase, is evocative of the early days of colonial settlement in Christchurch, when many buildings would have been constructed in timber on such a scale.

Architectural Significance or Value

Shand’s has architectural value. As a rare survivor of early colonial architecture, it is vernacular in style. A two-storeyed lapped weatherboard building, it is functional both in its appearance and its means of construction, typifying the simple timber buildings that were constructed in the early colonial period. While this basic form was standard for the time and could be adapted for residential or commercial use, few commercial buildings of this date and style remain today. Despite some change over time and damage from the Canterbury Earthquakes of 2010-11, many of the original features and materials remain and, even following relocation, the building is a local icon for its architectural form, proportion, scale and use of materials. Other features that contribute to its architectural significance are the interior staircase, timbers, door hardware and fireplaces. The timber shingles are notable as a replica of the original roof covering from the 1860s.

Social Significance or Value

Shand’s has social significance. Especially since it has operated as a vintage store, Shands Emporium, in the late 1970s the place has been a place where people have frequented in their leisure time to shop and chat. When the building was under threat of demolition in the late 1970s, the public signed a petition enabling Shand’s to be saved from demolition. Subsequently, with the whole of the south block of Hereford Street between Oxford Terrace and Colombo Street being demolished following the Canterbury Earthquakes of 2010-11, the efforts to save and relocate Shand’s reflects the efforts made by heritage interest groups and private individuals- but especially the Christchurch Heritage Trust - to ensure that the building was not lost. This was significant in the context of drastic loss and demolition in Christchurch, through the seismic events themselves and post-quakes redevelopments.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history

Shands reflects an important aspect of New Zealand’s colonial settlement, commercial and social history. Built in 1860, it reflects the early development of central Christchurch. The relocation of Shand’s to stand beside the quake-damaged Trinity Congregational Church (Former), a response brought about by the Canterbury Earthquakes of 2010-11, reflects part of New Zealand’s history as a seismically active landscape.

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

The history of Shand’s demonstrates the place’s association with early colonial settlement and settlers John Shand, Harry Bell Johnstone and William H Wynn Williams and their commercial endeavours. In more recent times it is strongly associated with the major events of the Canterbury Earthquakes (2010-11) and their aftermath.

(e) The community association with, or public esteem for, the place

Public esteem and community association with Shand’s can be demonstrated. Its qualities were first demonstrably valued in the 1970s when public pressure resulted in the retention of the building, and again more recently when real effort was made to protect and temporarily shift the building while a permanent solution could be found for relocation. The profile of Shand’s as a heritage building has been raised in the light of loss of many historic buildings through damage and demolition during the Canterbury Earthquakes. At the 2018 Canterbury Heritage Awards, Shand’s was ‘highly commended’ in the category of ‘Public Realm – Saved and Restored Award’.

(j) The importance of identifying rare types of historic places

Despite its relocation and some change in fabric over time, Shand’s has rarity value as the oldest timber commercial building in Christchurch’s CBD, part of the story of early colonial settlement. It is a special survivor over time and, more recently, following the dramatic loss of many historic buildings as a result of another key aspect of New Zealand history, the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010-11.

Summary of Significance or Values

As a rare example of pioneer commercial premises, the relocated Shand’s building is a special survivor over time and more recently following the dramatic loss of many historic buildings as a result of the 2010-11 Canterbury earthquakes. It is significant that Shand’s has remained in the CBD and continues to be celebrated as the oldest timber commercial building there. It is considered to meet the threshold for entry on the New Zealand Heritage List as a Category 1 historic place.


Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

Early History of Christchurch

Christchurch and the wider area have a long history of Māori occupation. The vast network of wetlands and plains of Kā Pakihi Whakatekateka o Waitaha (Canterbury Plains) is inherently important to the history of its early occupation. The area was rich in food from the forest and waterways. Major awa (river) such as the Rakahuri (Ashley), Waimakariri, Pūharakekenui (Styx) and Rakaia were supplied from the mountain fed aquifers of Kā Tiritiri o te Moana (Southern Alps). Other spring-fed waterways such as the Ōtakaro (Avon) meandered throughout the landscape. The rivers teamed with tuna, kōkopu, kanakana and inaka; the wetlands were a good supply of wading birds and fibres for weaving, food and medicine; with the forest supplying kererū, kokopa, tui and other fauna as well as building materials. Ara tawhito (travelling routes) crossed over the landscape providing annual and seasonal pathways up and down and across the plains and in some cases skirting or traversing the swamps. Permanent pā sites and temporary kāinga were located within and around the Plains as Ngāi Tahu established and used the mahinga kai sites where they gathered and utilised natural resources from the network of springs, waterways, wetlands, grasslands and lowland podocarp forests that abounded along the rivers and estuaries.

Most of the Canterbury region was purchased from Ngāi Tahu by the Crown in 1848. The Canterbury Association oversaw the systematic European settlement of Canterbury and surveyed the town of Christchurch and rural sections outside of the town boundary.

Colonial commercial development in central Christchurch

One of the early colonial settlers was John Shand, son of a Liverpool cotton broker and merchant. Shand arrived in Canterbury in 1850 and took up 100 acres of land in Riccarton and four town sections in Hereford Street between Colombo Street and the Avon River. In 1859 Shand had leased his town sections to William Sefton Moorhouse, who was then Superintendent of Canterbury Province. Moorhouse in turn leased part of one of these sections to Harry Bell Johnstone, a solicitor, in August 1860. As part of the lease agreement, Johnstone was to erect a house. However, it appears that he erected an office building (Shand’s) instead. Johnstone’s business partner, William H Wynn Williams, leased the remainder of the section in November 1860. At the time of the lease agreement between Moorhouse and Wynn Williams, the plan of the land shows an office building on the part leased by Johnstone. This seems to confirm that the building now known as Shand’s was erected in the second half of 1860. Shand’s is therefore the oldest extant timber commercial building within the Christchurch CBD.

It is likely that the plans for Shand’s would have been drawn up by the building contractor, rather than an architect. The original roofing was of shingles imported from Tasmania and bricks used in chimney construction may also have come from Australia or from Britain as ship’s ballast. The building had five offices – two downstairs and three upstairs, each lit by a large central rectangular window. The four larger offices on the eastern side had kauri fireplaces and cast-iron fire surrounds. On the western side of the ground floor was a narrow hall containing a staircase. A brick lean-to at the rear of the building contained a large safe.

The original occupier, lawyer Harry Johnstone, was an early colonial settler. In 1866 he was elected to the Riccarton seat in the Canterbury Provincial Council and for a time was Provincial Solicitor. Following the demolition of the adjacent Olympia building in March 2011 a door was exposed on the former western elevation of Shand’s which bore the name, ‘H Johnstone’. Also associated with the building was William H Wynn Williams, who by late 1860 had joined Johnstone in partnership in his new Hereford Street offices. In 1864 the partnership dissolved and Wynn Williams took over the business outright. A well-known Christchurch identity, Wynn Williams was deeply involved in local politics and, like Johnstone, was elected to the Provincial Council in 1866 and was Provincial Solicitor (1868). Between 1881 and 1884 he was the Member of Parliament for Heathcote. The owner of the land, John Shand, too was active in local politics and had represented the Avon seat on the Provincial Council – he died in Christchurch in 1874, but his name has long lived on through the small timber commercial building built on his land in 1860.

In its Hereford Street location, the Shand’s building underwent some modifications over the years to suit the commercial occupants but the layout of the rooms remained the same. A notable change, seemingly after watchmaker and jeweller Arnold Whitworth leased the front ground floor office in 1933, was the replacement of a four-paned ground floor window with a large single plate-glass one. The original pair of six-pane windows on the first floor was also replaced. Also in 1933, a landing was built to link with Olympia building next door to the west and two extra rooms and extra stairs were part of this addition. At some point a corrugated iron roof was placed over the original shingles.

The Gough family, through its various private companies owned the building for more than 60 years. In 1977 the building was restored and converted into a complex of small shops, and at this time it was renamed Shand’s Emporium.

In the late 1970s, the New Zealand Post Office proposed to build a new telephone exchange in Hereford Street, a proposal that would have seen Shand’s demolished. However, many people signed a petition requesting that the building be protected, and in 1981 the government designation over the land was lifted.

Canterbury Earthquakes

From 4 September 2010 and the years following, Canterbury suffered a series of major earthquakes. They caused considerable destruction and many historic buildings have been lost as a result. The Christchurch CBD particularly suffered damage and in the years immediately following the quakes, with the exception of the Shand’s building, the entire south side block of Hereford Street, between Colombo Street and Oxford Terrace was demolished.

In order to commence large-scale redevelopment while still allowing for an opportunity for permanent relocation elsewhere, by early 2014 the then owners of the land at 88 Hereford Street secured the building and allowed for it to be temporarily shifted it to an empty lot at 95 Cashel Street. Then in 2015 it was shifted to a by-then vacant land parcel at 211-215 Manchester Street and kept there temporarily until a foundation could be prepared for it to be again lifted and shifted to its final resting place, at neighbouring 217 Manchester Street, adjacent to the former Trinity Congregational Church, in late 2016.

On its new site, Strand’s was stripped so that the walls and floor could be repaired, and any alterations that detracted from the original character of the building were removed. A two-storeyed annex featuring a commercial kitchen, toilets and office space was constructed, connecting it with the adjoining Trinity Congregational Church (Former) which has been strengthened and, as at late-2018, continues to undergo restoration and repair to enable future reuse.

Physical Description

Current Description

Shand’s is a simple, utilitarian two-storeyed building, rectangular in plan. The building is clad in weatherboard. The shingles on the roof are replicas of the original Tasmanian shingles that originally covered the roof and were later obscured by corrugated iron. The main (now east) elevation contains, at ground floor level, a large shop front window containing the words ‘Shand’s’ in gold signwriting and double entrance doors, and a further two windows are at first floor level. Concrete block steps jut out onto the footpath – in a similar fashion to the way the entrance steps at Shand’s in its former location encroached onto the public space of the Hereford Street footpath. The steps are flanked by a pair of curved iron handrails – these were put there in 2018 after being removed from the minister’s speaking area in the adjoining Trinity Congregational Church (Former).

On the interior, the steep staircase is immediately to the right when one enters the front doors. In the building’s relocation position, this means that it runs on the inside up the north side of the interior. Floorboards on the ground floor are original to the building (though some have been reused from the first floor). The flooring of the first floor is not historic.

On the north (side) elevation is the street numbering that used to sit on the front of the building at its former location, and reads ‘88 Hereford Street’.

A modern concrete annex at the rear contains services. Its first floor provides utilities for the Shand’s building – two offices, a toilet and kitchen. On the ground floor is a commercial kitchen and toilets to service the adjoining Trinity Congregational Church (Former) when it is restored. At the western half of the north elevation is a glazed covered area that links the building to the former Trinity Congregational Church to its north. The south elevation is a firewall concrete skin – in its previous location, this elevation adjoined the neighbouring Gough House at 90 Hereford Street.

Comparative Analysis - Relocated Buildings

While the New Zealand Heritage List does include a number of historic places that have been relocated, relatively few relocated buildings have been given a Category 1 historic place status. This is because relocation usually removes a building from its historical context and tends to reduce its significance. However, occasionally relocation is recognised as being part of the historical significance of the place. For example, the Camp House, North Egmont, Taranaki (List No. 7233, Category 1 historic place) is a highly significant building belonging to the period of the New Zealand Wars that was relocated from New Plymouth to North Egmont in 1891 as part of an important scenery preservation initiative. A number of relocated churches are Category 1 historic places on the List. For example, St Bartholomew’s Church (Anglican) (List No. 285) was built on a sandhill in Kaiapoi in 1855, to the design of Benjamin Mountfort, but shifted from its original site to Cass Street, Kaiapoi, in 1859. St Andrew’s Church (Presbyterian), Christchurch (List No. 304), was first entered on the New Zealand Heritage List in 1983 in a central city location but it remains on the List as a Category 1 historic place despite being relocated to Rangi Ruru Girls’ School in Merivale in 1987. A post-quake relocation of the Church of St Saviour to the site of the demolished Holy Trinity Church in Lyttelton, amalgamating some elements of the latter church in with the Church of St Saviour, elevated it from a category 2 historic place to a category 1 historic place for the remarkable story that it tells of ecclesiastical heritage survival and improvisation following the total loss of Lyttelton’s historic churches in the 2010-11 Canterbury earthquakes.

There are some examples of relocated commercial buildings that are entered as Category 2 historic places on the New Zealand Heritage List (for example, some commercial and retail buildings at 270, 272 and 274 Cuba Street in Wellington have all been shifted within the CBD but remain on the List). However, there appear to be no relocated commercial buildings comparative to Shand’s that are Category 1 historic places.

The Canterbury earthquakes have resulted in some relocations as a way of saving buildings, especially where land was ‘red-zoned’. Most of these have been residential buildings and some churches. The saving of the Shand’s building through relocation at a time when many historic buildings were demolished has been recognised as a good news story for heritage and is reflective of the high social values that it retains. It was a finalist in the 2018 Canterbury Heritage Awards under the Category ‘Public Realm Saved and Restored’ and although was a runner up, the work carried out here was ‘highly commended’ by the judges. The retention of the building in a new location within the CBD was a positive heritage outcome in an environment of widespread loss as a result of the quakes.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1860 -

1933 -
Addition of landing to link with Olympia building next door (two extra rooms and extra stairs)

2015 -
Relocated to 213-215 Manchester Street, Christchurch.

2016 -
Shifted next door to 217 Manchester Street

Fenestration on main façade altered

2014 -
Temporarily shifted to 95 Cashel Street

Construction Details

Timber, corrugated steel, glass

Public NZAA Number


Completion Date

16th January 2019

Report Written By

Robyn Burgess

Information Sources

Architectural Heritage of Christchurch

Architectural Heritage of Christchurch

2: Shand's Emporium, Christchurch, 1982

Te Maire Tau and Atholl Anderson (eds), 2008

Te Maire Tau and Atholl Anderson (editors). Ngāi Tahu: a migration history: the Carrington text, in association with Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. 2008.

Other Information

A fully referenced New Zealand Heritage List report is available on request from the Canterbury/West Coast Office of Heritage New Zealand.


Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero 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.

Archaeological sites are protected by the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014, regardless of whether they are entered on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero or not. Archaeological sites include ‘places associated with pre-1900 human activity, where there may be evidence relating to the history of New Zealand’. This List entry report should not be read as a statement on whether or not the archaeological provisions of the Act apply to the property (s) concerned. Please contact your local Heritage New Zealand office for archaeological advice.