German Mission House

Waitangi West Road, Maunganui, Chatham Island

  • German Mission House.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Alison Dangerfield. Date: 3/04/2008.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 5401 Date Entered 21st November 1991 Date of Effect 21st November 1991


City/District Council

Chatham Islands Territory


Chatham Islands

Legal description

Area marked 'A', DP 325087 on Pt Sec 4, Pt Wharekauri No.1 (RT WN950/81), Wellington Land District



The cottage was built between 1866-1868, for the Moravian Missionaries who arrived in the Chathams in 1843.

These German missionaries made no converts, but had a significant input into the history and lifestyle of the Chathams, introducing large-scale horticulture, sheep farming, ship building and literacy.

The cottage is built largely of local stone and wood, which reflects the missionaries' attitudes. They were committed to the idea of being self reliant in their own lives, and as an example to others, and hence using only local materials.

Johannes Engst and Johann Baucke, two of the cottage's builders, were two of the missionaries who came to the Chathams. The third building was William Baucke, Johann's son, who was born on the Chathams. William spent much of his early life with the Moriori people, and in later life wrote about his experiences, and the Moriori lifestyle and language. Although his attitudes were questioned, he was a valuable and unique source of information on aspects of Moriori life.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The cottage provides the only architectural evidence of New Zealand's sole Moravian German Mission.

The missionaries made a significant contribution to the economy and lifestyle of the inhabitants of the Chatham Islands. The cottage, being built of permanent materials, represents the missionaries' commitment to the Islands, and the local materials represents their attitudes of self reliance.


The building represents the pioneering period of New Zealand architecture. It is a 'second generation' building, being built of permanent materials, rather than to provide temporary shelter. Such buildings in stone are rare in New Zealand, and this is the only example on the Chatham Islands. The building is notable for its use of local materials, and for the carpenters marks indicating prefabrication of imported materials.


The cottage has a spectacular setting. It sits on a slight rise above surrounding flat farm land, and behind it rises the vast basalt outcrop of Maunganui. This outcrop is perhaps the best known landscape feature of Chatham Island. The small scale of the cottage enhances the grandeur of Maunganui.

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description


Johannes Gottfried Engst

Johann Baucke

William Baucke

The German Mission Cottage was designed and built by two missionaries of the Moravian German Mission Johannes Gottfried Engst and Johann Baucke, and Baucke's son, William Baucke.


The cottage has a simple rectangular form, with a gabled roof. The main elevation is asymmetrical with three windows and a door. This reflects the internal arrangement with three rooms, the middle being the largest. Ground floor windows are either two casements each with eight panes, or one casement with 4 x 3 panes. There are three spaces in the roof used as bedrooms, the two end rooms lit with windows in the gable ends, with the east window now missing. Access to the upper storey is by a staircase near the western end of the building.

A lean-to has been added on the south side, stone foundations remain of what possibly was an earlier lean-to. There are two chimneys, one on the west elevation and one on the south.

A cellar has been dug below the house. It is under the west end of the building and is lined with stone.


Date unknown:

Partition removed to make room at east end into one room.

Modern kitchen fittings installed in middle room.

Modern bathroom installed in west end room, also laundry fittings installed.

Lean-to on south elevation added. The present lean-to is different in form from that seen in historical photographs.

Exterior stonework has been plastered; original thatched roof replaced with corrugated iron.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1866 - 1868

2010 -
As at 2020 viewed that post 2010 a supporting ground floor wall removed. Floor joists that support upper floor are too light.

1955 - 1955
Lean to added to rear of cottage with wc

Construction Details

Tuff or basalt blocks, timber floors, internal walls are timber-framed with ponga log infill and plaster lining, corrugated iron roof, corrugated iron and timber lean-to. Recently the external walls have been plastered.

Information Sources

King, 2000

M King, Moriori: A People Rediscovered, Revised Edition, Penguin Publishers, Auckland, 2000

1991 Edition

King, 1990

M King & Robin Morrison 1990. A Land Apart - The Chatham Islands of New Zealand. Random Century, Auckland.

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.