War Memorial Entrance Gates

40-70 Stevens Street, Waltham, Christchurch

  • War Memorial Entrance Gates.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Robyn Burgess. Date: 31/10/2013.
  • War Memorial Entrance Gates. 1984. Image included in Field Record Form Collection.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: D Cosgrove.
  • War Memorial Entrance Gates. c1920s. Photograph likely taken in the first few years of its existence, prior to 1926 when the plaque to the Canterbury Commercial Travellers & Warehousemen’s Association was added. Photographer unknown. Ref: 1/1-011707-G. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23019652. Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library must be obtained before reuse of this image .
    Copyright: Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 3735 Date Entered 6th September 1984 Date of Effect 6th September 1984


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Pt RS 62 (RT CB27K/1155), Canterbury Land District and the structure known as the War Memorial Entrance Gates thereon. It does not include any other buildings on the land parcel. Refer to the extent map tabled at the Heritage New Zealand Board meeting on 11 September 2014.

City/District Council

Christchurch City


Canterbury Region

Legal description

Pt RS 62 (RT CB27K/1155), Canterbury Land District


The War Memorial Entrance Gates at Lancaster Park in Christchurch were built in circa 1924 as a memorial to Canterbury athletes who died during World War One. They have social and community significance as a highly distinctive and memorable part of the sporting and social venue of the park.

In 1881 the Canterbury Cricket and Athletics Sports Club Ltd purchased land on the outskirts of the city for a sports club from Benjamin Lancaster. Lancaster Park was the venue for many important sporting fixtures and other events. By World War One, however, the park had struck hard financial times. As the war ended, an extraordinary effort by the Canterbury Commercial Travellers and Warehousemen’s Association raised the money to clear the park’s £8,000 debt, on the condition that it would become a permanent memorial to the men of Canterbury who had died in the war and that the park would be vested in the Crown. Some of the money raised was also set aside to create memorial gates for the athletes of the Province. This was one of the few memorials built for something other than a geographic community. To further cement the park’s connection to the war, it was renamed Victory Park, but in the hearts of Canterbury people it remained Lancaster Park.

The well-known Christchurch architectural firm of J S and M J Guthrie was commissioned to design the gates. The firm designed a number of other war memorials: at Halswell, Rakaia and Christchurch Boys High School, and the Victory Memorial School in St Albans. The building contractor was G L Bull. The ferro-concrete gates, 30.5 long x 3.6 metres wide, comprise two long neo-classical colonnades on either side of a two-storey central structure carrying the inscription ‘To commemorate the glorious deeds of the athletes of this province in the Great War Aug 1914 to Nov 1918’, and above this is an urn. The gates contained the ticket collectors’ office and ten entrance stiles.

The park hosted a wide range of sporting, concerts and other events, and developments occurred accordingly. In 1926 a plaque was added to commemorate the efforts of the Commercial Travellers and Warehousemen’s Association in saving the park. In 1995 the Hadlee Stand, named for a significant Canterbury cricketing family, was built directly behind the memorial gates, significantly changing the view of the gates from the street. In 1998 the name of the park was changed to Jade Stadium, and in 2007 to AMI Stadium. In 2008, in order to restructure the management of the park, it was vested in the Christchurch City Council. The legislation specifically stated that the Council must have regard for the significance of the gates in its management of the park.

The Canterbury earthquake of February 2011 severely damaged the playing surface and buildings of the park but the memorial gates appear to have escaped significant damage. The stadium is not likely to be reopened and some of the stands, including the Hadlee Stand, have been demolished.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Guthrie, John Steele and Maurice James

'John Steele Guthrie (1883 - 1946) and Maurice James Guthrie (1891 - 1968) were one of Christchurch's most active architectural firms in the first half of [the twentieth] century. John, better known as 'Jack', trained in Christchurch with either J.C. Maddison or F.J. Barlow. By 1910 he was working in independent practice. In June 1919 his brother Maurice, who trained with Collins and Harman, joined the practice, although Jack remained the senior partner and designer. Their designs include 'Los Angeles' in Fendalton Road (1913), St Mary's Convent (1919), the now demolished Edmond's Factory (1920) and Christchurch Boys' High School (1926). The partnership was dissolved in 1929.'

University of Canterbury, 'Arts and Crafts Churches of Canterbury', [Christchurch], 1996, p.14

Bull, G L

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1923 -

1924 -

1995 -
Hadlee Stand built behind the gates

2011 -
Earthquake closed Lancaster Park (AMI stadium)

2012 -
Hadlee Stand demolished

Completion Date

23rd July 2014

Report Written By

Robyn Burgess

Information Sources

Phillips & Maclean, 1990.

Phillips, Jock and Chris Maclean, The Sorrow and the Pride: New Zealand War Memorials, Department of Internal Affairs, Historical Branch, Wellington, 1990.

Greenaway, n.d.

Greenaway, Richard, ‘The Origins of Lancaster Park’, Christchurch City Council, n.d., URL: http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/Heritage/Places/Public/Lancaster-Park/ (accessed June 2013)

Slater, 1974

Slater, G, Great Days at Lancaster Park, Christchurch, 1974

Other Information

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Southern Regional Office of Heritage New Zealand

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.