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New Zealand Historic Places Trust - Pouhere Taonga

Durham Street Methodist Church

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Corner 309 Durham Street North and Chester Street West, CHRISTCHURCH

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Church (Methodist). Photographed by Melanie Lovell-Smith 1/09/2001. Copyright NZ Historic Places Trust

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Photographed by Melanie Lovell-Smith 1/09/2001. Copyright NZ Historic Places Trust

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`Methodist Church, Durham Street, Christchurch`, crica 1890-1915. Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image. Ref no.1/1-000391. Photographed by J M Marks. Copyright Alexander Turnbull Library

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Register Number
Registration Type
Historic Place  - Category I
Canterbury Region
Date Registered
City/District Council
  • Christchurch City Council
Legal Description
Lot 1 DP 51328 (CT CB29K/886), Canterbury Land District
Other Names
  • Church (Methodist)
Brief History
The first Methodist church in Christchurch opened in 1854 to cater for the small but active congregation of Methodists who had settled in Christchurch since 1850. The Methodist church in Durham St, the subject of this registration, opened on Christmas Day 1864. Built of stone it was the first church to be erected in permanent materials in Canterbury and is Gothic Revival in style. It was designed by the Melbourne architectural firm, Crouch and Wilson, who won the 1863 competition for the design of the new church. Samuel Farr (1827-1918), the local architect who came second in the competition, was appointed to supervise the project.

The interior of the church follows the standard Victorian Nonconformist plan of a large preaching hall with an encircling gallery. In the Methodist tradition, the sermon was perceived as the most important part of the service so the galleries ensured that all could see and hear the preacher.

The church is a significant example of early ecclesiastical architecture in Christchurch. Its construction reflects the significance of the Methodist tradition in what was conceived as a primarily Anglican settlement.
Current Use
  • Religion - Church
Former Use
  • Religion - Church
Construction Dates
  • Designed: 1863
  • Original Construction: 1864
  • Addition - Gallery added: 1869
  • Addition - Schoolroom added at right angles to church: 1873
  • Addition - Parsonage built next door in Chester Street:
Construction Professionals
Entry Written By
Melanie Lovell-Smith
Entry Date


Information on this page is correct to the best of the Trust's knowledge. If you have any additional information you would like to share with the Trust, please contact the Registrar. You may wish to contact the Trust to view our paper records.