Morrinsville Heritage Trail

Morrinsville Heritage Trail Sie 1 - Anglican Church Site 2 - The Regent Movie Theatre Site 3 - Catholic Church Site 4 - Site of Morrinsville's first hospital Site 5 - Clifford House Site 6 - Dr Morrow's House Site 7 - Howie Park Site 8 - Dairy Compnay Laboratory Site 9 - Lockerbie Bulk Store Site 10 - New Zealand Butter Company Butter Factory Site 11 - Site of the first house in Morrinsville Site 12 - The Nurses' Home Site 13 - Nottingham Castle Hotel Site 14 - Old Post Offices Site 15 - McDonald's Cottage Site 16 - Plunket Rooms Site 17 - Masonic Lodge Building Site 18 - Power Board Buildings Site 19 - The Rowe/Clifford General Store Site 20 - Morrice's Bakery Site 21 - Site of the Morrinsville Herald Office


 Walking time: approximately one and a quarter hours.

1. Anglican Church

The first documented Anglican service in the district was conducted on Sunday 6th May 1877, although it is probable that service were held on the Turnbull’s private home at Kiwitahi during 1875-76. For the next eighteen years church services were conducted in the Morrinsville School Building in Studholme Street. On this Thames St site, the foundation stone of the first Anglican Church was laid on the 14th February 1895, and the church was completed 3 ½ months later for a cost of £190. It was dedicated on 31st may 1895. The original Parish Hall was opened on its present site in 9th February 1912, at a cost of £150. In 1929, the old church was moved and adjoined to the front end of the Parish Hall to provide more space. The foundation stone for this new church was laid on 13th December 1958 and it was opened on 27 September 1959.

2. Regent Movie Theatre

First opened on Monday 23rd June 1928 by Mr. T. Martin as a dance hall it was soon concerted to a silent movie theatre. It was again upgraded to become the first theatre to have sound in the Auckland Province, that screening being on 5th October 1929. The last film shown in the Theatre was ‘Crocodile Dundee’ in 1982.

3. Catholic Church

Initially, the Roman Catholic Church circuit was worked as a branch of Te Aroha, the centre for activities which spread over a large district. The first services were held in a room at the Nottingham Castle Hall. A church site was secured in 1911 at the western end of Thames Street and a church was built there in 1913 but was re sited to the present property in 1924. That original wooden church was replaced by the present concrete structure, opened and blessed on 14th November 1965. This building’s roof was constructed of the largest single-pour concrete roof of the time, built by D.C Street and Co of Hamilton and the Architects were Angus, Flood and Griffiths.

4. Site of Morrinsville’s first Hospital

Morrinsville’s first hospital was opened in June 1912 by Dr George Seville’s wife, Kitty, a trained nurse from England. She assisted her husband in his medical work and established the hospital which she named “Laloma Maternity Hospital” Kitty was Manager, Matron and Midwife until the place was sold during World War 1. From its inception, it catered mainly for maternity cases, though dealing with any emergencies. In 1954, its successor hospital was taken over by the Waikato Hospital Board.

5. Clifford House

Built for Mr. John Clifford, one of the brothers in partnership in the General Store, feature in No.19. The house was sold to Mr. George Howie around 1910. In 1950, the Town and Country Club purchased Clifford House form the Estate of George Howie and it has remained in their possession.

6. Dr Morrow’s House

The residence was built by Mr. R. Hill for Dr Morrow who had come to Morrinsville in 1929. Dr Norman later lived in the house then Dr Watts, who utilised part of lot as a surgery.


  7. Howie Park

This land was gifted to Morrinsville shortly after the constitution of the Borough, by Mr and Mrs George Howie as a memorial to those who had died in the 1914-18 war. Mr George Howie had previously taken title to Lockerbie Homestead farm on the 5th March 1908 for a brief period. Later he purchased 120 acres at the eastern end of Morrinsville, the property including the previous home of Mr. John Clifford. Mr Howie became chairman of the Morrinsville Town board during 1913-1918, and Deputy-Mayor for the Morrinsville Borough Council’s first term in 1921 and its Mayor 1923-35. The cenotaph was erected in 1922 and unveiled by Viscount Bledisloe then Governor-General. The park now contains many trees planted on special occasions, or as memorials.

8. Diary Company Laboratory

Prior to 1921 local farmers took their cream to a creamery in Studholme St and from there it was transported by rail to Frankton Junction butter factory. The local suppliers formed a Co-Op and the original factory was built on this site in 1921. It was the fourth factory in the district, following the opening of the Norfolk Co-Op at Motumaoho in 1912, the Tatua Co-Op at Tatuanui in 1914 and Kiwitahi in 1919. It operated as the Morrinsville Co-Operative Diary Company Ltd with the Lockerbie trade mark, until it was taken over by the NZ Diary Group in August 1991.

9. Lockerbie Bulk Store

Viewed from the southern end of Canada Street, the Lockerbie Bulk Store is located on the far side of the railway tracks. It was built for Thomas Morrin for storage of the Lockerbie Estate’s seed orders and produce. After the break up of the estate the store was sold to Carr Poutney of Auckland and to a local man Mr F Stretton, they traded as Carr, Stretton and Co. It is now used for storage and as a builder shed.

10. New Zealand Diary Company Butter Factory

View from Canada Street South. This building was sited across the rail tracks and was built in 1922 in opposition to the Morrinsville Diary Co situated on the town side of the tracks. For several years, it imported cream from outside the district, producing butter until it was shut down ion the late 1950s. The milk of its suppliers was then taken by tankers to the Waitoa Diary Factory.

11. Site of the first house in Morrinsville

The first house was built where the Studholme Street/Allen Street intersection is now formed. It was built by Mr J. Harp for Mr F. J. Marshall who in 1887 bought Rowe’s butchery in Studholme Street. Mr Marshall was a commissioner on Morrinsville’s first Town Board (1908) and was appointed as the first mayor when the Morrinsville Borough Council was formed in 1921.

12. The Nurses’ Home

The home was part of a much larger T B Sanatorium complex, commenced by Dr Bernstein in 1919. In 1929, it was sold to Dr King who operated it until 1947, then selling the practice to Dr Armitage who ran a general practice from a house sited on the corner of Allen Street. The Nurses’ Home was used to accommodate two or three nurses.

  13. Nottingham Castle Hotel

The Waitoa Road Board was formed in 1875. As it did not have access to a suitable room in which to hold its meetings Mr Joseph John Wood was approached about the matter of providing a hotel. This he consented to and built the Nottingham Castle in 1877 on the present site out of timber from the old Cambridge Bridge utilizing gin cases to make partitions. Mr Wood was a native of Nottingham in England hence the hotel was named.

The hotel was transferred from the Jolly Cripple which was located opposite the then school, to the new premises and Mr Wood became the first licensee.

The Nottingham Castle (Below) was burnt down on 20th June 1913 and the replacement building was built for Mr Wenzal Schollum during the winter of 1914 by Mr J.C.R. Watts. The Architect was Thomas Price who travelled from Auckland to supervise the construction. A feature of the building when it opened was its electric power – stored in 54 batteries which provided enough power to run 157 lights for 3 ½ days.

Nottingham castle Hotel is registered by the Historic Places Trust as a Category 1 Building.

14. Old Post Offices

Postal services in Morrinsville commenced 1st March 1876 when the first Post Office was opened in the Jolly Cripple Hotel sited at the southern end of Studholme Street. Mr G.H.E Mowbray was appointed Postmaster on the 1st of April 1876. The post office was originally named Waitoa but changed to Morrinsville on the 1st of August 1878. A succession of store keepers were postmasters until the last appointment, that of Mr John Clifford, 1st April 1883. On 1st September 1884 the post office was transferred to the Railway Station and the Stationmaster became Postmaster

In time, there was a move to have a new Post Office located in the centre of the township and on 19th July 1909, a new wooden building (above) was opened on Thames Street between Studholme and Lorne Streets. That building was built by Mr R.C. Humphrey’s building firm at a cost of £1270 / 16 / -.

The next Post Office building was located on this Thames and Lorne Street corner and was opened 10th October 1962. Built by DC Construction Ltd for £153,000, the total rose to £350,000 with the installation of equipment, including the automatic telephone exchange which cut in during August 1963.

A feature of the building was an internal garden open to the weather in the middle of the building. It could be viewed through a window, from the main baking area. In April 1997, as the State Enterprise Organization, the New Zealand Post Ltd moved westward from this location to 141 Thames Street. After a period there, the Post Office agency was franchised, opening as Books & More at Shop 2, 47 Studholme Street – on 1st July 2000.

15. McDonald’s Cottage

During 1859/60 Mr John McDonald came from England and settled in Wairoa South, the area now called Clevedon. Some twelve years later (1872) he purchased for 2s 6d as acre, the Pakarau Block of about 900 acres at Kiwitahi and this home was erected for his son Thomas and his wife by Mr Thomas McLean in 1874 near to where the school is today.

The timber used in the building of the house was heart kauri from Clevedon, brought to Te Aroha by boat up the Waihou river and then overland by bullock wagon to Kiwitahi. The horns of one of the bullocks involved in that work have been preserved at the end of the cottage. The pit-sawn timber cladding shows markings typical of that cutting method. He built a second house for his other son James. On John McDonald’s death, his two sons, James and Thomas, took over 482 and 426 acres of the property, respectively. On the death of Thomas and Elizabeth’s last surviving direct descendant, their farm was bequeathed to Messrs N.C and G.E. Lamb, distant relations. These gentlemen generously handed the cottage over to the Morrinsville Historical Society as a gift.

In August 1972 the building was moved from Kiwitahi to its present site. Some furniture and artefacts belonging to the McDonalds were retained and the cottage was set up in the style of an early settler’s home of the period 1880 to 1900. After two years of hard works, McDonald cottage was formally opened during the weekend of 10th/11th August 1974.



16. Plunket Rooms

A sub-branch of the Society was first formed in Morrinsville in1919 when a Plunket Nurse from Hamilton, later from Cambridge and Matamata, visited Morrinsville once a week. Various rooms were used, including a shop and another under the Nottingham Castle Hotel.

In November 1932 permanent rooms were built on this section of land donated by Mrs Margaret Thomas in memory of her husband, Mr J.B. Thomas who served for many years on the Thames Valley Electric Power Board and the Morrinsville Borough Council. The park in now known as Thomas Park. By 1946 the district had grown sufficiently to warrant a full-time Plunket Nurse and Morrinsville became a Branch of the Plunket Society.

17. Masonic Lodge Building

This building is considered to be the only existing original building that remains purpose built, of its era in Morrinsville. Throughout the period of its existence, it has remained owned by the original organisation. Built for Lodge Piako No.160 in 1908, the year the Town Board came into being, when there were just 55 houses inhabited houses in the locality. Henry Clifford and William Pickett were responsible for its founding. It was Constituted and dedicated by M.W. Bro. Oliver Nicholson on the 9th December 1908. Lodge meetings were conducted on the first Wednesday of the months nearest to a full moon so that the catching harnessing and riding of horses would be aided by moonlight. Lodge membership grew noticeably and in 1922 the building’s size was doubled.

18. Power Board Buildings

Built in 1921 to house the Morrinsville operations of the Thames Valley Electric Power Board. On Friday 20th March 1922 a ceremony was held at the corner of Thames and Studholme Street to turn on the lights in Thames Street and the shops on its northern side, as daylight gave way to darkness. At a signal from the Power Board Engineer, the Anderson Street depot switched on the power and the first artificial light provided by the local power board came to Thames Street.

19. The Rowe/Clifford General Store

This building is the longest surviving commercial building in Morrinsville. It was built for Mr James Rowe as a general store some time after August 1879. On 5th April 1883, he sold it to Mr Henry Clifford, who in partnership with his brother John ran the store until selling it to Charles and Arthur Gummer in 1908. The Gummer family sold it to Farmers Trading Company, who in turn sold it to Deka. Selectrix (at 2004) occupy the premises.

20. Morrice’s Bakery

The Morrice Bakery was established by William Morrice in 1911, having sold an established bakery in Invercargill due to ill health. William had to come to NZ from Cruden Bay, Scotland in 1896. It is recorded that a gully ran in close proximity to this bakery site and that flooding came through the bakery including the bed of the oven.

In Morrinsville, Mr Morrice became very much involved with the local community and was a Morrinsville Borough Councillor from 1927 until 1944 including Deputy-Mayor from 1931 until 1944. He was also a member of the Waikato Hospital Board and became a Justice of the Peace in 1929. Mr Morrice retired in the early 1950s leaving his son-in-law, Eric Hobbs, who worked for him as a baker, to manage the business through to his death in 1968. Mr Morrice died in Auckland 9th of May 1956.

The bakery premises, consisting of two retail shops and the Opportunity Shop, were then rented by Hobbs Estate through until they were sold in December 2003.

21. Site of Morrinsville Herald Office

Morrinsville’s first newspaper was the Morrinsville Herald. Its first issue was distributed on Saturday 9th May 1908.


The Proprietor was Charles Frederick Spooner and the newspaper was published at an office in Canada Street but subsequently moved to this site. The paper was printed in association with the Te Aroha News and ceased publication in 1911. The Morrinsville star started publication in May 1911, also in Thames Street.