Mona Vale, Christchurch

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Mona Vale
B&w photo of a waterway in a park setting
The Avon River at Mona Vale
Type Public park
Location Christchurch
Coordinates 43°31′23.89″S 172°36′30.67″E / 43.5233028°S 172.6085194°E / -43.5233028; 172.6085194Coordinates: 43°31′23.89″S 172°36′30.67″E / 43.5233028°S 172.6085194°E / -43.5233028; 172.6085194
Area 4 ha
Created 1899 (1899)
Operated by Christchurch City Council
Status Open all year
Official name Mona Vale
Designated 7-Apr-1983
Reference no. 283
Official name Mona Vale Gatehouse
Designated 7-Apr-1983
Reference no. 1799

Mona Vale, with its homestead formerly known as Karewa, is a public park of 4 ha in the Christchurch suburb of Fendalton. The homestead and gate house are both listed as heritage buildings with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT). The fernery and the rose garden, and pavilion with the setting of the park along the Avon River, add to the attractiveness of the property. It is one of the major tourist attractions of Christchurch.


The Mona Vale homestead with earthquake damage from the February 2011 event

The western boundary of Mona Vale is the Main North Railway, and the Avon River forms the eastern border. In the north, the park is very narrow and starts at Fendalton Road. In the south, it extends to Matai Street East and has Christchurch Girls High School as a neighbour.[1]

The gardens cover four ha.[2]


The gazebo at Mona Vale, conserved and restored by Stewart Stained Glass

The land initially belonged to the Deans brothers, whose homestead is Riccarton House in Riccarton.[3] William Derisley Wood leased the land and built what became known as Wood's Mill.[4] The weir in the Avon River was built in the 19th century and forms the Mona Vale mill pond, which still exists today.[5]

Frederick Waymouth and his wife Alice[6] purchased four acres of land[7] and had a homestead built in 1899–1900, designed by architect Joseph Clarkson Maddison.[2] Waymouth, who called the homestead Karewa, was the Managing Director of Canterbury Frozen Meats. Maddison was a well-known Christchurch architect, who amongst other buildings designed the freezing works in the Christchurch suburb of Belfast. It is thought that this connection between Waymouth and Maddison led to this commission.[2]

The Mona Vale gate house in 2007

Waymouth sold the property to Annie Quayle Townend[6] in 1905, who renamed it to Mona Vale after her mother's house in Tasmania. She was the daughter of a wealthy Canterbury run-holder, George Moore of Glenmark Station. She was his only surviving daughter and he had bequeathed her one million pounds, apparently making her New Zealand's richest woman at the time.[6][8] Townend added nine acres of land to the property[7] and had a gate house built just off Fendalton Road. After the New Zealand International Exhibition, held in Hagley Park, finished in 1907, she purchased the exhibitions fernery including its plants and had it reassembled at Mona Vale.[2] The present collection of ferns were supplied by Landcare Research in Lincoln, the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and the private collection of the late Arthur Ericson.[9] Townend also added the bathhouse to the property.[6] She died in 1914.[2]

In 1939 it was bought by Tracy Gough, and in 1941 by the firm, Gough, Gough and Hamer. The Gough Family Homestead of Mona Vale was sold in 1962 to the Church of the Latter Day Saints following the death of Gough, Gough and Hamer founder Tracy Gough. Tracy Gough added to the beauty of the gardens by having a lily pond built and having rhododendrons and azaleas and many more exotic trees planted in the gardens.[10]

The property was sold in 1962 to the Church of the Latter Day Saints. When the church intended to subdivide the property and to demolish the homestead, a public outcry resulted in community fund-raising.[2] The Christchurch City Council and the Riccarton Borough Council bought Mona Vale in June 1969 for the purpose of turning it into a public park.[11] The purchase of Mona Vale is credited to Christchurch mayor Ron Guthrey.[12]

Until the 2010 Canterbury earthquake, the homestead was operated as a restaurant, café and function centre, often used for weddings.[2][13] The building is currently closed due to earthquake damage.[14]

Heritage listings[edit]

The homestead was registered as a Category 1 heritage building by the NZHPT on 7 April 1983 with registration number 283.[2] The gate house off Fendalton Road has its own heritage listing, and it was registered by NZHPT as Category II on 23 June 1983 with registration number 1799.[15]


  1. ^ "About". Christchurch Girls' High School. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Mona Vale". Register of Historic Places. Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Dorothy (23 May 1998). "Mona Vale". NZine. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  4. ^ "William Derisley Wood". The Press. Retrieved 3 July 2011. 
  5. ^ "Dam built for the Riccarton Mill, forming the Mona Vale mill pond". Christchurch City Libraries. Retrieved 3 July 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c d "The Gate House - MONA VALE". Older & Bolder. Retrieved 3 July 2011. 
  7. ^ a b "Unsung Heroines - Annie Quayle Townend". Christchurch City Libraries. Retrieved 3 July 2011. 
  8. ^ Gardner, W. J. "Moore, George Henry - Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 4 September 2012. 
  9. ^ "Mona Vale fernery". Christchurch City Council. Retrieved 3 July 2011. 
  10. ^ NZine "17 November 2016" Check |url= value (help). 
  11. ^ "1969". Christchurch City Libraries. Retrieved 3 July 2011. 
  12. ^ "Albert Ronald Guthrey 1916 - 2008". Christchurch City Libraries. Retrieved 3 July 2011. 
  13. ^ "Mona Vale". Christchurch City Libraries. Retrieved 3 July 2011. 
  15. ^ "Mona Vale gate house". Register of Historic Places. Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 

External links[edit]