The Stone Store

The Stone Store is New Zealand’s oldest European stone building. It was built in 1832-36 by the C.M.S. as a secure and fire proof building to house the mission’s goods, replacing the by then dilapidated 1819 wooden storehouse.

Stone StoreThe stone was bought from Sydney, designed by Wesleyan missionary John Hobbs and built by an ex-convict stonemason from New South Wales. A stonemason John Edmonds was brought over to assist in its erection. He brought with him sufficient sandstone for the window, door and corner facings. The Store was meant to house New Zealand mission supplies and large quantities of wheat from the mission farm at Te Waimate. But the wheat failed and the building was mainly leased as a kauri gum-trading store.

When the war parties came to Kerikeri, the children were sent there for safety and to be out of the way. With the decline of the Kerikeri and Waimate missions, the Stone Store was used by Bishop Selwyn in 1842 as a retreat and secure building for his ecclesiastical library until 1844. He would walk from Waimate, about 14 kilometers, when he wanted a little quiet reading.

It passed into Kemp family ownership and from 1929 onwards worked mainly as a general store. Bought by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust in 1976, the building recently underwent extensive conservation work. The Store originally had a shingle roof but is now roofed with corrugated iron. It also had a clock on it for a short period.

Among other interesting facts about Kerikeri, is that it was here that a plough was first drawn by a team of bullocks, May 3rd 1820 by the Rev. Butler.