Queen Mary Hospital (Former)

Amuri Avenue And Jacks Pass Road, Hanmer Springs

  • Queen Mary Hospital (Former), Hanmer Springs. Image courtesy of www.flickr.com.
    Copyright: Shellie Evans . Taken By: Shellie Evans - flyingkiwigirl. Date: 15/07/2014.
  • Queen Mary Hospital (Former), Hanmer Springs. Image courtesy of www.flickr.com .
    Copyright: Shellie Evans . Taken By: Shellie Evans - flyingkiwigirl. Date: 15/07/2014.
  • Queen Mary Hospital (Former), Hanmer Springs. Soldiers Block 1916. Image courtesy of www.flickr.com .
    Copyright: Shellie Evans . Taken By: Shellie Evans - flyingkiwigirl. Date: 15/07/2014.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7612 Date Entered 24th June 2005 Date of Effect 24th June 2005


Extent of List Entry

Extent of Registration is the land described as Lot 2-3 DP 430432 (RT 518495), (NZ Gazette 2010 p 2643), Canterbury Land District and the buildings, fixtures and fittings thereon. The boundary around these buildings has been drawn to include the heritage curtilage (the grounds), which have historically been seen as a major contributing factor to the therapeutic environment of Queen Mary.

City/District Council

Hurunui District


Canterbury Region

Legal description

Lot 2-3 DP 430432 (RT 518495), (NZ Gazette 2010 p 2643), Canterbury Land District


The former Queen Mary Hospital at Hanmer Springs consists of the original Queen Mary Hospital for Sick and Wounded Soldiers (1916, now known as the Soldiers' Block), the Chisholm Ward for female patients (1926), the Nurses' Home (1928-29) and the environs which surround these three buildings.

The Queen Mary Hospital (former) is within the 2,560 acres (1,072 hectares) of land reserved by the Nelson Provincial Government in 1860 to protect and control the thermal springs as a potential spa resort. By the first years of the twentieth century there was a strong focus on the medical benefits obtained from bathing in or ingesting the thermal waters.

World War I facilitated the further development of the therapeutic aspects of the site, when in 1915 the government recognized that special hospitals were needed to care for returned soldiers suffering shell shock and other war-induced neuroses. Hanmer Springs, along with Trentham, Featherston and Rotorua, were chosen as hospital sites. The first hospital was built at Trentham in 1915. At Hanmer Springs, as at Rotorua, the therapeutic values of the thermal springs were considered important. The Queen Mary Hospital for Sick and Wounded Soldiers was completed on 3 June, 1916.

After the war ended, and as soldiers recovered from their war traumas, a few civilian patients were admitted. The change in patient demographics and their treatment was recognized when on 19 January 1922 the administration of the Queen Mary Hospital was transferred from the Defence Department to the Health Department. The Hospital developed and expanded into a nationally recognised specialist centre for the treatment of functional nervous disorders and neurasthenia and from the 1960s became a treatment centre for drug and alcohol dependency.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The Queen Mary Hospital holds a unique place in the history of health care development in New Zealand. Its origins are in the government's nineteenth century control and promotion of Hanmer Springs as a spa. The government spa officially opened here in 1883 and developed over the next 30 years as a well patronised facility visited chiefly because of its therapeutic qualities. The qualities of the location were confirmed when the Defence Department decided in 1916 that this was the place to build the specially designed Queen Mary Hospital for the treatment of sick and wounded soldiers. Successes here soon followed, giving the hospital recognition as a particularly effective treatment centre. The emphasis on the treatment of nervous disorders which developed under military jurisdiction, continued when the Health Department took control in 1921 and the hospital was used for both male and female public patients. As the hospital expanded, so did its reputation for the quality of its treatment, with patients coming here from throughout New Zealand.

Of the three spa areas (Te Aroha, Rotorua and Hanmer Springs) only Hanmer Springs and Rotorua were associated with these special World War I hospitals and only at Hanmer Springs did the facility continue and develop as a public hospital until 2003. Unlike other mental health institutions throughout New Zealand, the Queen Mary Hospital evolved from the specially designed Soldiers' Block in 1916 with its close links to the Hanmer Springs thermal pools and the identified therapeutic benefits of the elevated scenic setting. No other mental institution functioned for over 50 years in conjunction with a spa.

At the time of the hospital's closure after 30 years of successful treatment of alcoholics, John Beattie, co-owner of the private clinic said "...no one can take away that this is the best treatment team in New Zealand...the basic entity is the best, because they've been put to the test the longest, at the toughest end of the spectrum". All these aspects have given the former Queen Mary Hospital status of unique historic value in New Zealand.

Queen Mary Hospital (former) has special architectural, archaeological and aesthetic significance.

The hospital has architectural significance with the three core buildings representing the changes in the hospital's design and function. The Soldiers' Block, 1916, was the first building for the Queen Mary Hospital, and it is the only intact and complete example of this special design for a military hospital that was used in New Zealand during World War I. Surviving in its original form, it is a unique representation of the health care measures taken by government during World War I in New Zealand. Of the three military hospitals that were at Featherston, Trentham and Rotorua only one ward from the Rotorua hospital remains. In 1931 the two octagonal units from the Rotorua Hospital were transported to [Otaki] for use as New Zealand's first children's health camp. One of these was demolished in 1963. The single surviving unit continues in use and is registered Category I (One) as a place of outstanding national significance.

To date no international precedents have been found for the hospital design, but it seems to have been inspired by the successful use of the octagonal-shaped race-course tea kiosk temporarily used as a hospital ward at the Trentham military camp in 1914 . It was planned to maximise access for patients to fresh air and sunshine, considered of supreme importance for shell-shocked and other trauma suffering soldiers as it was for tuberculosis patients. All of these features of the planning and form made for an unusual design that succeeded as a functional building.

The Chisholm Ward, 1926, built ten years later to accommodate women patients, shows a progression in hospital design and was intended to provide a practical, functional facility that was attractive and homely in appearance as well as continuing the focus on access to fresh air and sunshine. While the Soldiers' Block is unique, the Chisholm Ward is not dissimilar to those found among other hospital complexes. Its domestic rather than institutional character reflects changing attitudes and current trends in Arts and Crafts architecture with its "butterfly" plan of angled wings extending from the central core. (The plan can also be seen as a development from the Soldiers' Block layout.) The "butterfly plan" was used at Wellington Hospital's Fever Ward, designed 1911, built 1918, and registered Category II. The architectural character of the Wellington example relates more to contemporary English Arts and Crafts precedents and has some hints of the Queen Anne style. Queen Mary Hospital, built nearly a decade later, is larger and has endured in its original use for longer with minimal changes. It has features characteristic of the bungalow with the long low proportions, casement and bay windows and the extensive balcony with repeated arch form. From the time of its opening it has been considered a practical as well as an aesthetically pleasing design.

The layout and quality of the Nurses' Home reflects the contemporary desire to provide good accommodation for working nurses so that they had both a "homely atmosphere" with privacy to sleep or study, communal living spaces to associate with their colleagues, while being ideally located between the two wards of the hospital, in a setting that allowed staff to be "away from work". It was designed by the Government Architect's Office and while not of special architectural significance when compared with other similarly dated buildings (Porirua Nurses' Home or Wigram Officers' Mess) it makes a considerable impact as a visual link between the two hospital buildings as well as contributing to the total heritage landscape and is an important example of the very necessary accommodation blocks provided for nurses in this era. It was essential that nurses working on shifts through a 24 hour cycle were provided with onsite accommodation. In recent times, with the change in nursing training and more readily available travel systems accommodation blocks like this one at Hanmer are no longer required. Surviving examples have been put to new uses; in some cases where they have been retained as a functioning part of a hospital complex they are used for administration and accommodation for outpatients or patient families. Others, often no longer accompanied by the buildings they were once associated with, are used for backpacker or student accommodation. Because Nurses' Homes will not be built again it is inevitable that the Queen Mary example will be one of an increasingly diminishing number. The only Nurses' Home that had been on the Register was at the Wairau Public Hospital, Blenheim.

Queen Mary Hospital has aesthetic values not only because of its design but also the setting. Located within the parkland first established in the nineteenth century around the thermal pools, the two ward blocks and the Nurses' Home all have an enhancing garden environment which includes the mature trees that provide a visual connection and confirm their historic links. In the landscape assessment of the whole site prepared for the Hurunui District Council by Lucas Associates it is stated: "The Queen Mary site is important as a heritage landscape of national significance due to the combination of its social and aesthetic qualities that have long been enjoyed. For alongside the visual experience of the place and its contribution to the town and district, the spiritual and existential experience is also important."

The site has archaeological significance because of the European activities in the vicinity since the 1860s. At differing times various buildings associated with the thermal pools' development were sited on the grounds of the Queen Mary Hospital. The Soldiers' Block is located where the 1897 Sanatorium was built. No known Maori artefacts have been discovered during the continued changes and excavations that have been made in the vicinity of the thermal pools. Nicolas Cable [OPUS archaeologist] in an assessment for the Hurunui District Council identifies areas of archaeological significance and recommends to the Council that archaeological protocols be established including one for "accidental discovery".

The Queen Mary Hospital has cultural and social values through its association with the people who have received health benefits from their time here and have enjoyed the scenic attractions of the place. Since 1916 people nation wide have had their health and indeed their lives mended by the treatment and experience of being patients at this hospital and today those who have successfully been through alcohol or drug dependency programmes speak wholeheartedly about the benefits of their stay here.

The hospital institution, since its beginnings, has had a special relationship and integration with the people living in the surrounding Hanmer Springs village. This special relationship exists because of the special circumstances here. Unlike other locations where hospital complexes are important components of a settlement in this instance the springs and the hospital have been the principal raison d'etre for the village's existence. Patients have always been able to freely merge into village activities. This has been influential in making a stay at Queen Mary a more comfortable and acceptable experience for patients as there was never the stigma attached to being a patient here as there was for other institutions catering for nervous disorders.

The hospital, and its predecessor the Sanatorium, have been a dominating physical feature of Hanmer Springs village for 100 years, with the large scale of the centrally located parkland of mature trees. Well through the twentieth century it was the key element in the town's economy, the staff making up a considerable portion of the population and the patients were very visible to the other residents. Altogether the institution's presence has impacted on the social and cultural character of the settlement.

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

Queen Mary Hospital has an important place in the history of New Zealand's health care development as a nationally recognised specialist mental health facility. It is differentiated by it origins as a military hospital, its long association with the use of the thermal pools and the healing qualities of its environs.

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

The hospital was highly regarded for its use of innovative mental health treatments. It was recognised through the latter third of the twentieth century as New Zealand's principal centre for the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction. It is also associated with the development of a psychotherapeutic approach to addiction from 1970 to 1990. It was the centre for excellence in this, assisted by the setting as inspiration for spiritual aspects of recovery.

(d) The importance of the place to the tangata whenua

There is an important myth associated with the formation of the thermal springs. The hospital itself has developed close links with the tangata whenua over recent decades in the treatment programmes for drug and alcohol dependency which were introduced here. Also, the spiritual garden, though outside the area of this proposed registration, was created with a large Maori content and these factors have led to a continuing supportive connection with the former hospital site.

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

Local residents, because of the major role the hospital has occupied in the town's life and evolution, hold the hospital and its grounds in high esteem. It also dominates the town physically with its central location and densely treed parkland environs, making a major contribution to the Hanmer Springs atmosphere, greatly appreciated both by residents and visitors. With current uncertainty about the site's future wide support has been demonstrated for the retention of the buildings and their landscape setting.

(g) The technical accomplishment or value, or design of the place

The three buildings each have special architectural qualities and form an integrated group which demonstrates the hospital's development. The Soldiers' Block's unique military design was improved upon ten years later by the very similarly laid out Chisholm Ward which illustrates contemporary trends in the choice of style for hospitals. Both are outstanding examples whereas the Nurses' Home, which is important in this context and integral to the hospital, is a representative of accommodation buildings constructed at this time.

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

The Queen Mary Hospital was the only mental health facility that developed over many decades in association with thermal pools. It was located here in 1916 because of the healing effects of bathing in or ingesting the waters as well as the therapeutic effects of the picturesque, tranquil setting. The Soldiers' Block is the only complete surviving example of the specially designed military hospitals built during World War II to cater for soldiers suffering war induced trauma .

(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape

The proposed historic place is central to the wider grouping of hospital buildings and is a significant component of the expansive park like environs. This heritage landscape is seen as the principal feature of Hanmer Springs.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Gummer, William Henry

Gummer (1884-1966) was articled to W.A. Holman, an Auckland architect, and qualified as an Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1910. From 1908 to 1913 he travelled in the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States. During this time he worked for Edwin Lutyens, a leading English architect of the time, and for Daniel Burnham in Chicago. Burnham was a major American architect and one of the founders of the influential Chicago School of Architecture.

Gummer joined the firm of Hoggard and Prouse of Auckland and Wellington in 1913. Significant commissions undertaken during this period included the New Zealand Insurance (later known as the Guardian Trust) Building, Auckland (1914-18).

In 1923 Gummer, one of the most outstanding architects working in New Zealand in the first half of the twentieth century, joined with Charles Reginald Ford (1880-1972) to create an architectural partnership of national significance. The practice was responsible for the design of the Dilworth Building (1926), Auckland, the Dominion Museum (1936) and the State Insurance Building (1940), both Wellington. Gummer and Ford were awarded Gold Medals by the New Zealand Institute of Architects for their designs of the Auckland Railway Station and Remuera Library.

Gummer was also responsible for the Bridge of Remembrance, Christchurch and the Cenotaph in Dunedin (1927), and the stylistically and structurally advanced Tauroa (1916), Craggy Range (1919), Arden (1926) and Te Mata (1935) homesteads at Havelock North. Elected a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Architects in 1914, he was president of the Institute from 1933-4 and was later elected a life member.

Hoggard & Prouse

The partnership of Hoggard and Prouse practised initally in Wellington. The firm was one of the pioneers in the use of steel framed and concrete floored construction in New Zealand. Their four storey Cadbury Warehouse (1908) was an extremely early example of this type of construction to be found outside America.

Public Works Department

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Public Works Department

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Public Works Department

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Public Works Department

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

The scenic and therapeutic values of the Hanmer Springs area had long been recognized by both Maori and early European settlers. In 1860 the Nelson Provincial Government recognised the springs' significance and created a reserve of some 2,560 acres (1,072 hectares) around the springs including the land which is part of the Queen Mary Hospital grounds. After the abolition of the Provincial Government the area became part of the Canterbury Province. By the mid-1880s the Lands Department had built baths at the site, and the springs became nationally recognised as a Government spa resort, with the planting of trees beginning at this time and continuing into the 1890s. Through the following decades thousands of trees were planted. There was also an increasing focus on garden beds around the spa.

Ten years later the Government responded to consistent calls for accommodation for those of fragile health who were taking the waters and, in December 1897, a Sanatorium was opened adjacent to the springs. The Sanatorium offered accommodation for 16-18 people, but initially did not provide medical support services. By 1908 the Health Department had rethought their position and the Sanatorium was staffed by nurses and a resident medical officer. Unfortunately the building was destroyed by fire in August 1914.

In 1914 local runholder and hotel owner Duncan Rutherford offered The Lodge, Hanmer Springs' hotel, for use as a convalescent home for servicemen. He also established the Amuri Red Cross which provided the home with a matron, housekeeper, cook, domestic staff and food supplies, while the government paid for a doctor, military officer and medical supplies. The rather awkward mix of volunteers working under military command functioned with remarkable unanimity for about two years during which 215 servicemen were cared for (Clarke, p76). A more formal arrangement soon followed when the government organised the construction of a specially designed hospital alongside the hot springs complex. The success of the temporary convalescent home had cemented the government's belief in the value of an association with the thermal pools and was a prime factor in the choice of Hanmer Springs for the South Island military hospital.

Hoggard, Prouse and Gummer had been asked to provide hospitals for sick and wounded soldiers by designing appropriate buildings which allowed free access to fresh air and sunshine. They took the basic idea for their plan from the temporary but very successful use of the octagonal shaped race-course tea kiosk at Trentham as a hospital ward in 1914. The design they prepared was first used at the Trentham and Featherston military camps and as it was considered to be completely satisfactory in its practicality and speed of construction it was used again for both the King GeorgeV hospital completed at Rotorua in January 1916 and Hanmer Springs' Queen Mary Hospital for Sick and Wounded Soldiers (now known as the Soldiers' Block) which opened on 3 June 1916. As at Rotorua, the thermal springs and associated facilities were taken over for the benefit of the returned servicemen and it was recognised that there were special healing qualities in the whole aesthetically pleasing Hanmer Springs environment. In 1917 the Surgeon General reported to the Minister for Health, "I am now confident that the climate and the surroundings of Hanmer are particularly suitable for shell-shock and neurasthenic case. They certainly do better there than at Rotorua" (Rockel, p. 71).

When the hospital was established the focus on improving the environs of the site was maintained and continued. Though there have been many minor changes in garden plot layout and placement the presence of notable individual tree specimens and groupings has always been a significant feature of Queen Mary Hospital. The hospital initially functioned as a convalescent home, but increasingly it specialised in the treatment of shell-shock, neurasthenia and other functional nervous diseases. Captain Chisholm was one of two doctors sent for further training at Maudsley Neurological Hospital in England in 1919, returning at the end of that year to take charge of Queen Mary Hospital. By this date the hospital, sited alongside the pools complex, provided the patients with access to a park-like environment offering leisure activities including golf and tennis - all elements which would assist the healing process.

The hospital remained under military control until 1921 when it was handed over to the Department of Health with Dr Chisholm as the Medical Superintendent. The self-sufficiency of earlier days continued with the farm providing milk for the hospital and most of the village. Although large numbers of male servicemen continued to receive treatment here, there were increasing numbers of civilian patients and more accommodation was required, in particular for women. At the same time members of the public continued visiting to bathe and ingest the waters at the hospital-managed springs in order that their various ailments might be healed. The hospital acquired property within the township to house staff and patients though this was not always satisfactory and a special "women's pavilion" was proposed.

In 1926 a large ward block was built to house female patients (known by 1952 as the Chisholm Ward in honour of long-serving Medical Superintendent Dr Chisholm). This fine, well preserved example of hospitals built in this era is an expansive single storeyed complex which functioned independently from the earlier Soldiers' Block, with its own kitchen, laundry etc. It was styled and finished in a less spartan manner, with an extended balcony across the frontage which adjoining rooms opened on to. This gave full access to fresh air and sunlight within a much cosier setting without the unglazed window openings of the military hospital built ten years earlier. Whereas large communal wards were considered fitting for the Soldiers' Block it was believed that women patients should be afforded more privacy, so though there were some small communal wards mostly single rooms, each with their own washbasin, were provided. The outlook from the building, which was planned to provide a therapeutic atmosphere, is particularly beautiful with expansive lawns, trees, garden plots and the mountains beyond. The construction of the womens' pavilion represents a phase in the hospital's development from a military facility for wounded soldiers to a specialist complex for the general public.

The Queen Mary Hospital expanded further when in 1928 the Nurses' Home was built to provide more suitable living conditions for the now predominantly female staff, and for a short period it also had rooms for six female patients. There had been concern over the difficulty in retaining staff for the hospital and in 1929, after the Home was completed, appreciation of the improved situation was expressed in the Medical Superintendent's report (A.J.H.R.). Single rooms, each with a desk and wardrobe, were provided for the female nursing staff who shared the four blocks of bathroom facilities. Adjacent to the kitchen was a large dining room at the southern end of the building. It was connected by folding timber doors to the living room at the south-west corner where a terrace gave access to the grounds. There was a variety of communal living spaces which opened out to the west where the attractive and spacious outdoor area was an important feature of the environment established to create homely conditions for the residents.

In 1940 a new and larger male ward was needed to replace the Soldiers' Block. Its construction was delayed as materials and workmen were in short supply in the first years of the war, but it was finally put into use and named the Rutherford Ward to commemorate the early support given to the Queen Mary Hospital by Duncan Rutherford. Meantime, it had been decided that the original building be retained after all and it was upgraded to again care for returning servicemen through World War II. Use of the baths was originally an important component of the hospital's treatment programmes, assisting in patients' rehabilitation. This use lessened as the hospital's direction turned more exclusively to the treatment of functional nervous disorders and from the 1940s to the detoxification of alcoholics.

The Soldiers' Block provided wards for male patients until the late 1950s. After this period it had various hospital-related uses, including Occupational Therapy and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. The building was also used for community-based activities, for example as a plumbers' store, library for the Hanmer Springs village and general community centre for dances, lectures, billiards and table tennis.

In 1960 the control of the Queen Mary Hospital was given to the Hospital Division of Mental Hygiene and used for the treatment of alcohol and drug dependency.

In the following decades Hanmer Springs' hospital was recognised as New Zealand's principal centre for the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction. In 1972 the North Canterbury Hospital Board took control of the hospital; later the Canterbury Hospital Board, the Canterbury Area Health Board, Health Link South and finally the Canterbury District Health Board. Over the period from the 1980s there were threats of closure. The Nurses' Home was altered in the 1980s to provide flats for staff as the traditional provision of an exclusive and strictly controlled home for female nursing staff was changed. From 1990 until 2003 the Taha Maori programme was conducted in the eastern octagonal ward of the Soldiers' Block. In 1997 the complex was leased to a private consortium (the Hanmer Clinic) which continued to operate as a drug rehabilitation clinic with the backing of government funding. When this was withdrawn in 2003 the clinic went into liquidation and ceased operating. The Canterbury District Health Board has resolved to dispose of the property and its future is currently uncertain.

Queen Mary Hospital is unique. It evolved from a military-controlled hospital for healing shell-shocked soldiers and it was established in Hanmer Springs for the benefits to be derived from use of the thermal pools as well as the healing qualities of the environs. Its patients have always been integrated into the town's normal activities, so that they had no sense of shame being there, as often happened with people sent elsewhere for treatment of mental illnesses. A significant aspect of difference between Queen Mary Hospital and similar institutions is the date of its formation in 1916. This has meant that it was never been dominated by a grand but forbidding nineteenth century edifice as at Sunnyside (1868) in Christchurch, Seacliff (1878) near Dunedin, or Porirua (1887) near Wellington. It has never been associated with the colonial nomenclature "Lunatic Asylum" nor has it had patients with the type of illness that made them violent and requiring high security. All these factors have allowed Queen Mary Hospital to display the identity the early Maori recognized by naming Hanmer Springs, Wahi Oranga, the healing place.

Physical Description

Entering the Queen Mary Hospital site from Amuri Avenue through the tree lined boundary the first building encountered is the Soldiers' Block. Its length extends on an east to west axis and leads the eye across to where the north/south orientated Nurses' Home is sited with its background of trees. Turning right from in front of the Nurses' Home the avenue of lime trees connects to the rear of the Chisholm Ward. This building's frontage faces north and can be accessed from Jacks Pass Road.

The Queen Mary Hospital buildings are sufficiently different in style to require individual descriptions. These follow below:

Soldiers' Block:

The hospital is cruciform in shape, the dominating features being the two large, octagonal-shaped wards. Each ward has a central, octagonal-shaped, raised nursing station with glass walls and a lantern roof. The wards were each planned to accommodate 100 men with beds arranged in concentric circles. Forming the link and the other arms of the cross are the remaining rooms connected by corridors. The central section is also lit by a lantern roof.

The building's overall appearance, with its three lantern-crowned sections of pavilion roofing, developed from its plan and does not relate to any particular historical or contemporary style.

The building was originally described as containing, "dining hall, recreation room, non-commissioned officers' rooms, commandant's quarters, visitors' bedrooms, doctors' consulting and waiting rooms, dispensary, storerooms, kitchen, pantry, bathrooms, lavatories and all the necessary sanitary arrangements" .

The verandah across the northern frontage of the dining hall was added in 1917.

One of the design principles for the building in 1916 was the maximising of fresh air and sunshine, so the ward's windows were originally unglazed, with canvas available in sliding frames to provide some enclosure. When the hospital was being readied for re-use by returning soldiers in World War II, these windows were glazed .

Over the years the structure has remained largely unaltered, though the usage of rooms changed and some of the smaller spaces became bedrooms. The large, centrally-located dining hall, capable of seating 250, served a double function from the beginning as a recreation room and in recent times has been used as a meeting room.

In the 1980s, part of the north-facing exterior which was most affected by sun and driving rain was covered with a synthetic weather boarding as a maintenance saving measure, but it is understood that the original timber beneath is sound.

Chisholm Ward

The single storeyed Chisholm Ward was designed to provide all the facilities needed for a hospital unit. It contained two wings providing patient accommodation. The main entrance, sitting rooms, administration rooms, kitchen, dining room, laundry and store-rooms were within the central section. There were two small ward blocks and the rest of the wings held individual patient rooms, each with its own hand basin. All of the rooms along the frontage opened to a spacious verandah, with access onto the flanking lawn area. A central corridor with bathrooms at intervals linked the whole ward.

The plan of the complex is symmetrical, its footprint resembling a splayed V with the two wings opening to the north and receiving full access to the sun. The central portion at the V's apex extends to the south, and this was where goods were delivered and service areas were located. There is a large basement section at the rear of the complex where the heating system is housed.

The general style of this ward relates to current bungalow design with casement and bay windows, the repeated arch form and the extensive balcony. Considerable decorative detail is applied to the balcony and an attractive appearance was clearly the architect's objective, as well as a practical, functional building. The interior finishing shows similar attention to detail so that the more usual spartan character of institutions is avoided. This illustrates the recognition given at that time to the need for places of healing to be homely.

Nurses' Home

The two-storeyed building is in the form of a long oblong block running north and south with wings at each end to form a broadened "H" shape. Double-hung sash windows light the individual rooms around the building with the lower sash single-paned and the upper one with six lights. Larger single-paned glazing was used for the western communal spaces. The western elevation's central section has a variety of window forms whereas the eastern one is symmetrical and has a classically-styled main entrance portico as the dominating feature. Originally the first floor windows along the north elevation and on the two terminating wings of the eastern façade were decorated by shutters. Open fireplaces were provided in the living spaces so that the roofline was enlivened by six chimneys, only one of which remains.

The main entrance is on the eastern side providing ready access for the nurses to the existing hospital wards, while the communal living areas face west to the broad lawn and surrounding trees. The 37 bedrooms were ranged throughout the building with bathrooms located at four points. At the south-western corner is a deep, partially glazed porch area, opening on to the western lawn. This was the nurses' living room connected by folding doors to the dining room behind with the kitchen adjacent on the south eastern corner. In the central position on the ground floor of the western façade was the sisters' sitting room, and the matron's suite alongside it. Box and store-rooms were provided. Two staircases give access to the first floor and three balconies facing west provided further living spaces for all the residents.

In style and plan the Queen Mary Hospital Nurses' Home is comparable with contemporary accommodation blocks built for nurses, students or servicemen.

The Environs

These three key buildings at the former Queen Mary Hospital site are unified and linked by their curtilages. A road from Amuri Avenue runs in front of the Soldiers' Block to the Nurses' Home where it turns to the right towards the rear of the Chisholm Ward and passes around to the right of the building and exits to Jacks Pass Road. The whole of the Queen Mary environs is renowned for the magnificent trees many of which date back to the last decades of the nineteenth century, though there has been a continuous programme of enhancement. This has meant that the connecting roadway through the proposed historic place is surrounded by, and gives views to lawns, garden plots, orchard trees, the lime avenue which links the Nurses' Home to the Chisholm Ward, a mixture of boundary planting and specimen trees.

The Nurses' Home's large western lawn is semi-screened by its enclosing trees, giving off duty staff a sense of privacy and distance from their work environment. The Soldiers' Block has a relatively small but appealing garden area immediately linked to it, though its residents could appreciate the wider views. Patients in the Chisholm Ward were treated to the mountain vista and a fine garden outlook. They were encouraged to get actively involved in gardening, with a separate bed made available for them, so there were the therapeutic benefits of this activity as well as the passive healing influence of the setting.

Notable Features

The proposed Registration includes the Soldiers' Block, the Chisholm Ward, the Nurses' Home and their grounds.

The map (Appendix 2a) shows the boundary for the proposed Historic Place registration.

Starting from the south-eastern corner at a position five metres behind the Soldiers' Block, the boundary of the Historic Place follows the cadastral boundary of Part Section 79 along Amuri Avenue in a northerly direction until it meets the boundary of Section 77, the Thermal Springs Reserve. It follows the southern boundary of Section 77 and extends beyond that to turn at right angles to meet again the western boundary of Section 77. This boundary is followed north to link with the cadastral boundary of Part Section 79 along Jacks Pass Road and turns sharply south still following that boundary. The boundary turns south-east at an angle following a gap in the trees and then cuts across in a easterly direction to meet up with its starting point five metres behind the Soldiers' Block.

Construction Dates

1915 -
Soldier's Block

Original Construction
1916 - 1916

1917 -
Verandah added along central dining room frontage.

1965 -
Installation of sprinkler system.

Recladding of north sides of building exterior over original weather boards.

Partitions put into octagonal wards.

Log burner installed in existing fireplace in dining/recreation room.

1925 -
Chisholm Ward

Original Construction
1925 - 1926

1950 -
Some minor modifications made.

1957 -
The end sections of balconies enclosed by glass.

Sprinkler system installed, kitchen upgrade, steam for heating system replaced by hot water.

1928 -
Nurses' Home

Original Construction
1928 - 1929

Through the decades: Minor upgrades of facilities internally, removal of fireplaces, chimneys and shutters from windows.

1941 -
Extensions to nurses' living room at south-west corner, semi-enclosing the original terrace.

1949 -
Alterations to kitchen and new laundry.

Alterations to make some upper floor spaces into flats.

Construction Details

Soldiers' Block:

Timber, concrete foundations, corrugated iron roof. Interior of wards and dining/recreation room have plastered walls and open timber-framed ceilings.

Chisholm Ward:

Concrete exterior (stuccoed), internal walls and foundations; corrugated iron roof; metal window frames; plastered internal finishing; timber joinery and stairway.

Nurses' Home:

Ground floor is brick; upper floor is timber-framed with weather board cladding; corrugated iron roof; plastered internal finish, timber joinery and stairs.

Completion Date

11th February 2005

Report Written By

Pam Wilson

Information Sources

Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives (AJHR)

Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives


Archives New Zealand (Chch)

Archives New Zealand (Christchurch)

Queen Mary Hospital, Hanmer. File CH556

Archives New Zealand (Wgtn)

Archives New Zealand (Wellington)

H.1 B62 106/2. QM Hanmer, 1916-22. PWD WOOO, 71428. 1928 plan.

Burgess, 2004

Robyn Burgess, 'Queen Mary Hospital, Hanmer Springs, Heritage Assessment', Prepared for Hurunui District Council by Opus International, June 2004

Cable, 2004

Nicolas Cable, 'An appraisal of Archaeological values within the Queen Mary Hospital Site, Hanmer Springs', Prepared for Hurunui District Council by Opus International, June 2004

Clarke, nd

Russell Clarke, ''Not mad, but very ill' :the treatment of shellshocked soldiers 1914 to 1939 MA History thesis, Hocken Library, University of Otago

Ensor, 1983

Rosemary Ensor, 'Much ado - A century in Hanmer Springs, 1883-1853', Hanmer Springs Centennial Committee, 1983

Hanmer Springs Golden Jubilee, 1953

Golden Jubilee Celebrations Committee, 'Hanmer Springs Golden Jubilee 1883-1953', 1953

Lawson, 1917

W. Lawson, The Featherston Military Camp, Featherston, 1917

Lucas Associates, 2004

Lucas Associates, Landscape Assessment, Queen Mary Hospital, Hanmer Springs. Prepared for Hurunui District Council, July 2004

New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT)

New Zealand Historic Places Trust

Registration records for Wellington Fever Hospital (former) and Otaki Health Camp, November, 2003.

New Zealand Listener

New Zealander Listener

Dennis Welch, 'Who killed the Queen?', 29 December 2003

Rockel, 1986

Ian Rockel, Taking the Waters: Early Spas in New Zealand, Wellington, 1986

Other Information

Extract from New Zealand Gazette, 12/8/2010, No. 99, p. 2643 Decision made in Christchurch 10 Aug 2010.

Recreation Reserve: Area 0.6600ha. Lot 1 DP 426562 (all Computer Freehold Register 504568), subject to easements created in documents 8377291.2, 8509780.5, 8526862.1, 8530111.1 and 8501109.1.

Historic Reserve: Area 5.1680ha. Lots 2 and 3 DP 430432 (all Computer Freehold Register 518495), subject to easements created in documents 8377291.2, 8509780.5, 8526862.1, 8530111.1, 8501109.1 and 8501109.2.

Heritage Order being sought by Hurunui District Council (does not cover the Nurses' Home) in October 2004.

A fully referenced version of this report is available from the NZHPT Southern Region 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.