Kaiapoi heritage

North Canterbury’s historic river town is 18 kilometres north of Christchurch.

It was the river, timber for building and firewood and the fertile soil which attracted the early settlers to Kaiapoi. There was some time before good roads and bridges were built and the railway didn’t arrive until 1872. Before that, as many as 70 coastal vessels traded to and from the port of Kaiapoi.

The Kaiapoi Woollen Manufacturing Company was formed in 1878 and its goods were known worldwide. The North Canterbury Sheepfarmers’ Co-operative Freezing Works were in operation from 1917 until 1991. During those years the Works, in tandem with the Woollen Mill, gave Kaiapoi its distinctive identity. In recent times it has become a dormitory town for Christchurch.

The heritage buildings given a Landmarks plaque in Kaiapoi include:

  • Bank of New Zealand
  • Kaiapoi Band Rotunda
  • Kaiapoi Courthouse (demolished due to the Canterbury earthquakes in 2010/2011)
  • Kaiapoi Railway Station
  • Rialto Theatre (demolished due to the Canterbury earthquakes in 2010/2011)