2011 Awards


The 2016 Civic Trust Awards


The 2011 Civic Trust Awards

The 2011 Civic Trust Awards ceremony was held on 16 November and 7 awards were presented.

Criteria for Awards

Supreme Award

Otahuna LodgeTai Tapu

Supreme Award Otahuna Lodge

Awarded for commitment to the excellent restoration of the significant heritage house and garden. The Christchurch Civic Trust has pleasure in awarding the owners of Otahuna Lodge, Hall Cannon and Miles Refo, for their commitment to maintaining one of Canterbury’s major heritage houses near Christchurch.

Otahuna,which originally comprised 28 rooms was designed for Sir Heaton Rhodes (1861 -1956) in 1895 by architect Frederick Strouts (who also designed the Canterbury Club), to a style that is an amalgam of English Arts and Crafts and American Queen Anne Revival. Rhodes was a landowner and distinguished politician with a wide range of interests and abilities. He was also a a member of one one of Canterbury’s earliest pastoral families. Otahuna was built on 2024 hectares of land that Rhodes had purchased at Tai Tapu in 1893 and 1894. He chose a site for his new house on a rise at the head of a valley. In the years that followed Rhodes and his wife, who were garden enthusiasts, developed many hectares of gardens around their homestead. These were laid out before the house, on terraces that also incorporated a man-made lake. One of the unique features of the garden was a paddock devoted solely to the planting of daffodils. After Rhodes’ death in 1956, his estate, including the homestead block, was subdivided and sold off by ballot to returned servicemen.

In the years after, Otahuna had a succession of owners. The first was a Catholic order of brothers who had it as an active seminary. By 1972, it had been sold again and was for a time a free lifestyle commune. From 1976, several private owners followed until Hall Cannon and Miles Refo saw its potential as a an exclusive country retreat and purchased the property in August 2006. Over the years the house had become run down and the gardens overgrown and neglected, requiring extensive renovation and refurbishment but within a year, much of of this work had been completed and Otahuna Lodge was opened as prestige accommodation with 7 luxury suites. The owners’ commitment to this category 1 listed heritage property has been exceptional and not daunted, especially in the light of recent events.

In September of last year, as a result of the 7.1 magnitude earthquake, whilst the collapse of Otahuna’s 11 chimneys caused devastation to many rooms, the Kauri and Rimu timbers of the house remained robust against the forces unleashed. Despite the damage, the team of 18 staff rallied, repairs were made and Otahuna Lodge was soon open again. Whilst the February 2011 earthquake was less destructive, part of the house slumped and foundations had to be replaced. Now the house is fully restored again and is set to face the future with a function that includes being a gathering place for people that is very close to what was intended when it was originally built.


Cassels & Sons Brewery Woolston

Awarded for initiative and enterprise in creating a focus for community activity within a unique industrial heritage precinct Cassels & Sons Brewery, 3 Garlands Rd, Woolston.

In the late nineteenth and for much of the twentieth century, Woolston was a hub of industry in Christchurch. One of the earliest in the district was the processing of leather and by the 1880s Woolston had no fewer than 11 tanneries. One of the last to remain in operation was the tannery located on the corner of Cumnor Tce and Garlands Rd, but inevitably, this closed and the buildings remained vacant for some time before being acquired by the Cassels family. This family had links with the property through an ancestor, Gustaf Hjalma Lindstrom, a tanner who had been involved with the tannery as early as 1870. The tannery site has 12,000 square metres of buildings, many that date from the 1870s to the 1950. The Cassels project initially involved removing all later buildings, and renovating those with more heritage value and building a wharf and gardens with a craft brewery as the principle activity. Athfield architects were engaged to prepare a directional plan. During 2010, the whole grain brewery was up and running and the building’s temporary space for a bar and cafe was completed. However, the 22 February almost ended the project when the brewing plant was destroyed and buildings sustained heavy damage. The owners have not been daunted and are commited to providing a place for the local community. The brewery is back in operation and includes a brew- bar deli -cafe and wood fired-pizza restaurant. The brewery also hosts live music and entertainment.

367 Moorhouse Ave

Awarded for significant restoration of a significant heritage site and for the maximisation of complimentary use.

In 1900, Moorhouse Avenue had four hotels between Fitzgerald Ave and Lincoln Road. Today the Southern Cross, Crown and Railway(later Interislander) have all gone but the Grosvenor remains, owing to the foresight and initiative of the current owners, and the hotel building has been given new life. Even though it is no longer a hotel, it is still an important piece of character heritage in a part of the city that has lost so much. The Grosvenor, never high architecture, began life in 1877 as a simple hotel structure facing Madras St, but within a year of opening, insufficient accommodation led to a major addition. This 1878 addition facing Moorhouse Avenue incorporated a new, rendered brick facade, thought to have been designed by Samuel Farr. Being a licenced hotel for most of the 20th century, the Grosvenor became the watering hole of East Belt residents and local gas works workers, and like other hotels along the East Belt, accommodation was provided, particularly for rail travellers. Whilst the Grosvenor set a good standard in the early years of the 20th century, by the 1950s- painted green- it had declined. It was popularly named the ‘Green Hornet’ and considered something of dive among Christchurch pubs. Although it underwent refurbishment in the 1980s, it failed to recover its earlier status. By 2000, it had been sold to the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology. In 2010, it was acquired by the present owners, Merv and Rona Cooper who saw the potential of not only saving a piece of Christchurch heritage, but also giving the building a new life. Initially, the building was stripped back to its basic structure, seismic strengthened to code, re -roofed and internally refurbished as open plan office space. When the first major earthquake struck in September 2010, work was incomplete but the building came through unscathed. When the second quake followed in February 2011, although refurbishment was still unfinished, there was remarkably, no damage to the building, and soon after, it was leased to Strategy Design and Advertising.

Greening the Rubble

Awarded for unique initiative and enterprise in the temporary enhancement of empty spaces left after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

Greening the Rubble is a community focussed project established after the September 2010 earthquake, dedicated to the revitalisation of vacant sites across Christchurch, with planting and seating. These parks and gardens are on the sites of demolished buildings and carried out with the approval of land owners. Once made green, the sites become public space for the use of the community. Mostly volunteer based and reliant on sponsorship and support Greening the Rubble operates under Living Streets Aotearoa and the group MakeShift. The first project, launched on 19 December 2010, involved the creation of a pocket garden on what was the former Asko Design site at the corner of Victoria and Salisbury Streets. After the February earthquake, activity was suspended temporarily, but as more demolition sites are cleared more opportunities arise. One of the most recent projects is Greening the Space,which involves working with school children, by having them scatter flower and vegetable seeds on empty spaces near their schools. In September the idea was piloted with the pupils of Lyttelton Main School. Other sites that they plan to green in the near future are in Colombo St, Sydenham and the former Piko Wholefoods site on the corner of Kilmore and Barbadoes Sts.

Gap Filler

Awarded for initiative and enterprise in creating popular places for the meeting and entertainment of local communities, in response to the destruction of the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

Gap Filler, administered by the Gap Filler Charitable Trust, is an initiative closely related to Greening the Rubble. It was initiated as a response to the 4 September earthquake and aims to engage local artists, both visual and performing arts of many disciplines, to temporarily activate, creatively vacant inner city sites. To achieve their goal, Gap Filler collaborates with a wide range of groups and professionals. The objective of enlivening the city through Gap Filler project Book Exchange community- oriented events is almost completely reliant on volunteer support and Christchurch City Council funding. To date, 7 projects have been successfully carried out since November 2010, at various locations across the city. Among these have been an outdoor performance and temporary garden at 832-834 Colombo St, an installation of photographs on a Worcester Boulevard site, a film and music event at 276 Colombo St, Beckenham, a fun fair at Addington, an improvised dance performance, an outdoor installation on a Ferry Road by CPIT Architecture students, a petanque pitch at Lyttelton and more recently, a Book Exchange interactive installation.

242 Papanui Rd

Awarded in recognition of the renovation and revitalisation of a heritage building for complementary commercial use.

The Christchurch Civic Trust is pleased to award Working Style for its initiative and enterprise in bringing about the revitalisation of former house units at the corner of Papanui Rd and Murray Place. Originally designed as a residence in 1939-40 by Heathcote Helmore, it is stylistically an amalgam of Neo Georgian and Art Deco. In the design renovation of the the property, Working Style engaged Auckland Architect, Bridget Thornton and architectural advisor, Patrick Clifford. Whilst 242 Papanui Rd has undergone a complete makeover, neither its interior nor exterior have been compromised. Working Style is an Auckland-based tailoring company with branches elsewhere New Zealandand now in Christchurch. It is one of the first firms,following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, from outside Christchurch to commit to the city.

Commendation Award

Grange Guest House 56 Armagh St

Commended for the ongoing care of an important heritage house and for maintaining a complementary commercial use.

The Christchurch Civic Trust is pleased to commend the current owners Des and Tracey Ramsey, for their commitment and care of an important inner city heritage house. The eight room, two storey house at 56 Armagh St (formerly 247), is listed Category II and has been sensitively restored to maintain both its interior and exterior heritage features. It was originally the home of the Reverend James West Stack [1835 -1919], missionary, writer and local European authority on Maori. Stack was born in a Maori pa in the Thames district, where his father was a missionary. In 1846 he attended school at St John’s College, Auckland, but in 1847 left with his family to return to England. Stack eventually became a teacher with the Church Missionary Society in London. In 1859 he accepted an invitation from Bishop Henry Harper to take up the work of the newly founded Maori mission of the diocese of Christchurch. The mission house, church and school were sited at Tuahiwi. When in May 1870 the mission house was lost in a fire, there were no funds to rebuild it. The Stack family eventually moved to Christchurch in 1874, to a house built on church land in Armagh St. After retiring from the Maori mission in 1894, Stack became an honorary canon of Christchurch Cathedral. In 1898 he and his wife left New Zealand. He died in 1919.

The next owner of 56 Armagh St was Dr William Irving, who was born in England, the son of Dr James Irving and came to New Zealand in 1879 with his parents and 8 siblings. After receiving his formative education in Christchurch, Irving did his medical training and completed his qualifications in London. He returned to Christchurch in 1896 and was registered as a New Zealand medical practitioner in 1898. Following his marriage in 1900, he set up practice and residence at 56 Armagh St as a consulting physican and was a prominent city doctor up until his death in 1932. The house was then bought by Dr Francis (Oswald) Bennett [1898 -1976]. Bennett was born in Christchurch and from an early age desired to become a writer. However, he chose medicine as his career and in 1917 began his medical studies at Otago Medical School, but not long after, enlisted to serve in WWI. Following his military service, Bennett resumed his medical studied completing his MB and Ch B in 1925. After time practicing in the North Island and on the West Coast Bennett returned to Christchurch and in 1933, took over Irving’s practice which he retained until his death in 1976.

In the years that followed, the property went through a succession of owners until it was renovated for guest house accommodation about 20 years ago. The current owners, Des and Tracey Ramsey have developed Grange House and added motels to the property since taking it over in 2000. Although the house sustained some interior damage as a result of recent earthquakes, this will be dealt with in the months ahead.