Location: The Kaiapoi Courthouse was on the corner of Williams and Charles Streets, Kaiapoi
Designed by William Crichton and built by W Grey, this courthouse with lock-up of brick with white stone facings, was built in 1890 and replaced an earlier wooden courthouse erected about 1866. A flimsy slab hut lock-up had first been provided in 1855.
The court was busy as at first it served an area as far north as the Amuri. Some of the cases were for ship desertion, stealing firewood, having scabby sheep, not eradicating thistles on a property, and many for debt. Also there were many cases for owners charged with having horses wandering at large, or for dogs worrying sheep. Coroners’ Inquests were frequent, as there were many drownings and accidents in the early days of settlement.
Maori Land Court hearings were another important function.
All hearings ceased in 1951. The Police Department used the building for a few years until the Kaiapoi Borough Council acquired it in 1971. The building was significant as an early example of a rural area's courthouse.
It became the Museum in 1982. An addition joining the lock-up to the courthouse was built in 1999.
This building had a Historic Place Category II registration. It was given Landmarks status at a ceremony held on 12 July 2008.
The Kaiapoi Courthouse building suffered significant damage in the September 2010 earthquake and was demolished on 10 September 2010.
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