Edmonds Ruins

Edmonds Road, Kerikeri Inlet, Kerikeri

  • Edmonds Ruins, Kerikeri.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Pam Bain. Date: 17/03/2018.
  • Edmonds Ruins, Kerikeri.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Pam Bain. Date: 17/03/2018.
  • Edmonds Ruins, Kerikeri. Walls.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: R O'Brien. Date: 6/05/2013.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 406 Date Entered 25th November 1982 Date of Effect 25th November 1982


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).

City/District Council

Far North District


Northland Region

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.


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.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Edmonds, John

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Edmonds, John

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1841 - 1858
1841 (approx) John Edmonds and his sons commence construction of house, 1858 (approx) Construction complete

Original Construction
1858 -
1858 (approx) Construction of house complete

1865 -
John Edmonds dies

Demolished - Fire
1885 - 1886
1885 or 1886 House destroyed by fire

1886 - 1960
1886 - 1950s Edmonds descendants continue to live in the annexe to the house

1975 -
House and adjacent paddocks are given to NZHPT by Mr T H Ross and gazetted as a reserve for historic purposes (NZ Gazette 1975/1302)

1975 -
NZHPT is appointed to control and manage the reserve (NZ Gazette 1975/1295)

1979 -
Reserve classified as an Historic Reserve under Reserves Act 1977 and adjacent block of former State Forest land added to Reserve to provide access to Edmonds Road (NZ Gazette 1979/3711)

Public NZAA Number


Completion Date

31st October 2008

Report Written By

Stuart Park

Information Sources

Department of Conservation

Department of Conservation

'Auckland 1842 - 1845: a demographic and housing study of the city's earliest European settlement'. Science and Research Series No. 33

New Zealand Historic Places

New Zealand Historic Places

'A Courageous Enterprise', 1995: 9-10

Challis, 1994

'Edmonds Ruins, Kerikeri Inlet, Bay of Islands: the stone structures and the artefact assemblage' Science and Research Series 68 1994. Department of Conservation, Wellington

Mossong, 1985

John Edmonds: a very suitable man, Auckland, 1985, D.Ellis.

Other Information

Current Ownership:

Crown Historic Reserve (NZ Gazette 1975/1295; 1975/1302; 1979/3711), with NZHPT appointed to control and manage it (NZ Gazette 1975/1295).

A fully referenced registration report is available from the NZHPT Northland Area Office.

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.