Hanover Street Baptist Church

65 Hanover Street, Dunedin

  • Hanover Street Baptist Church.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Chris Horwell. Date: 4/02/2014.
  • Hanover Street Baptist Church.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Chris Horwell. Date: 4/02/2014.
  • Hanover Street Baptist Church.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Chris Horwell. Date: 4/01/2014.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 4792 Date Entered 22nd August 1991 Date of Effect 22nd August 1991


City/District Council

Dunedin City


Otago Region

Legal description

Pt Sec 11 Blk 21 Town of Dunedin



The first meeting of the Baptist Church in Dunedin was held in 1863. Baptist meetings were held in the courthouse until 1864 when the site on the corner of Hanover and Great King Streets was purchased and a church was built to the design of Robert Arthur Lawson (1833-1902).

A fund to build a new church was initiated in 1900 and the proposal was brought forward in 1909 by which time the old building was considered "old and antiquated and unsightly". It was demolished in 1910 and the foundation stone of the new building was laid on 8 October 1910 on the same site. It was completed in 1912 at a cost of £7,000. The building continues to serve the inner-city Baptist community.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The Hanover Street Baptist Church is a permanent reminder of the important role played by the Baptist Church in the ecclesiastical life of Dunedin. This building has served Baptist congregations for 78 years (1912-1990) while the church has had a 126 year association with the Hanover Street site.


Hanover Street Baptist Church is a relatively late example of a church which incorporates Gothic Revival elements more commonly associated with the nineteenth century. It is a very good example of the early work of Edmund Anscombe, an important New Zealand architect whose later buildings show a progression away from historicist styles. As such this building adds considerably to our understanding of Anscombe's oeuvre and handling of widely different styles during his career. The church itself makes fine use of its sloping inner-city site and the employment of the contrasting brick and Oamaru stone is inventive and interesting.


The Hanover Street Baptist Church occupies a prominent corner site and, along with the neighbouring Sunday School building, makes an important contribution to the streetscape in an area which has experienced rapid commercial growth.


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 http://www.dnzb.govt.nz/dnzb/ )

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description


Sited on the corner of Hanover and Great King Streets, the Hanover Street Baptist Church is orientated east to west and is Gothic Revival in style. The constructional polychromy of the red brick and Oamaru stone emphasises details such as pinnacles, ogee arches, window tracery, angle and pier buttresses and banding in the gable ends. While small windows are square-headed or lancet shaped, the large, dominant windows are ogee shaped and have intersecting tracery. Beneath these windows in the two street facades are the words "BAPTIST CHURCH".

The building has two towers, one in the north-east corner and one in the north-west. The north-east tower houses the bells and is taller than the pitched roof of the nave. It has angle buttresses, a string-course midway up and ogee shaped openings with louvres. Above these openings the tower has a frieze, cornice and parapet with reduced pinnacles. The north-west tower also has angle buttresses, a string-course at the same height as that of the larger tower and a similar frieze, cornice and parapet arrangement located just above the nave walls.

These walls have pier buttresses supporting internal arches. Arches behind the altar and pulpit have sculptured bosses. The walls are plastered to simulate large blocks of stone and a gallery is supported on cast iron pillars with decorative capitals. The interior has some staining and mould growth caused by the entry of rain.


Dates not known:

Pinnacles reduced in height

Altar area rearranged

Notable Features

Elaborately detailed square towers

Constructional polychromy

Oamaru stone tracery

Construction Dates

Pinnacles reduced in height. Altar area rearranged

Original Construction
1912 -

Construction Details

Brick walls laid in the English bond with Oamaru stone facings. Gallery supported on cast iron pillars. Slate roof.

Information Sources

Alexander Turnbull Library

Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington

'Newspaper Cuttings of the History and Personalities of Various Dunedin and Otago Churches'

Cyclopedia of New Zealand, 1905

Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908, Vol. 4 Otago and Southland, Cyclopedia Company, Christchurch, 1905

Evening Star

Evening Star


17 July 1953

4 September 1963

Knight, H. & N. Wales, 1988

Hardwicke Knight and Niel Wales, Buildings of Dunedin: An Illustrated Architectural Guide to New Zealand's Victorian City, John McIndoe, Dunedin, 1988

New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT)

New Zealand Historic Places Trust

Otago Regional Office, file on Hanover Street Baptist Church.

Otago Daily Times

Otago Daily Times

6 July 1938

11 July 1953

6 September 1963

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.