Rangiora heritage

Rangiora is the largest town in North Canterbury. It lies 25 kilometres north of Christchurch.

There were several variations of the town’s name as early European visitors to the area understood the Maori to be saying different things. Alfred Wills recorded his impression in 1848 as Rangiora, Charles Torlesse wrote the name Rakihora in 1849 while Edward Ward, a year later, recorded it as Rangiola. Later interpreters had a field day with its meaning including ‘glowing sky’, ‘place of rest’, ‘fine weather after bad’, ‘the sun shining on the bush’, ‘the gateway to heaven’ and ‘glowing sky at sunset’.

The beauty of the area and potential for grazing inspired a Canterbury surveyor, Charles Obin Torlesse, to build the first European dwelling in the town in 1851.

Growth was stimulated by the arrival of the railway in 1872.

Today, Rangiora is home to around 17,000 people and combines city services with the quiet lifestyle of a semi-rural town, retaining a strong sense of community.

The town has two interesting museums and some wonderful heritage buildings recognised for their historic significance by the Landmarks programme.

The heritage buildings include:

  • Bowling Club Pavilion
  • Courthouse
  • Farmers building (demolished in July/August 2014 due to damage from the 2010/2011 earthquakes)
  • Hunnibell's building
  • Johnston's building
  • Junction Hotel
  • Masonic Lodge (demolished due to damage from the September 2010 earthquake)
  • Museum
  • Parrott's building
  • Post Office
  • Rangiora Borough Council Chambers
  • Rangiora Town Hall
  • St John the Baptist Anglican Church
  • Turvey House
  • Victoria Park Band Rotunda

The Landmarks programme serves as a small heritage trail detailing the history behind some of Rangiora’s oldest buildings – notable by their Landmarks plaques.

If you would like to do a walking tour of our Rangiora Landmarks, download the Landmarks Rangiora Walking Tour brochure (pdf, 259.5 KB).