Oct 31, 2008

Waimate: Quinn's Arcade Restoration


What is believed to be New Zealand's first indoor shopping mall is now entering another stage in a plan by a Waimate group to return it to its former glory.

• Built between 1905 and 1907.

• Original owner William Quinn, Makikihi landowner and businessman, born 1828 in Northern Ireland, died July 1, 1914, at Makikihi.

• Building has 296,970 bricks from Quinn's own brickworks.

• Converted to Arcadia Theatre between 1918 to 1920.

• Fire destroyed the theatre on June 29, 1955.

• First floor converted to flats in 1964-65.

• Rest of building used for various purposes, including storage.

• Purchased 2008 by Pro-Ject Waimate.

• October, 2008, conservation and concept plan prepared.

Further Reading: Otago Daily Times - Friday, 31 October 2008.

Photo by Geof Wilson


Anonymous said...

What fantastic news! This great building deserves to have its life extended.

kuaka said...

Glad to see this building being preserved, but it doesn't seem to qualify as New Zealand's first indoor shopping mall.

If arcades qualify as malls (the ODT reports Quinns as an arcade), The Strand in Auckland stole a march on Quinn's by 5-7 years, opening in 1900 (NZ Historics Places Trust website). The Queens Arcade likely was earlier too. I dare say some of the other larger cities' arcades were built before Waimate's too.

Canterbury Heritage said...

Yes, I've heard that there's islands, now inhabited by former Cantabrians, to the North and the West of the mainland. 'spose the ODT should have given some consideration to the former in this matter.

kuaka said...

Ah, how about Chch, Dunedin arcades in early 1900s?!

some of us live in lands to the NE, where the godwits hang out in the off-season ;)

Canterbury Heritage said...

Curiously Christchurch seems not to have favoured shopping arcades.

The Gloucester Arcade at 129 Gloucester Street survives from 1966, but the McKenzie & Willis Arcade (Hereford to Colombo Streets) and the Shades Arcade (Hereford to Cashel Streets) both failed.

Other than the foregoing I can find no record of Christchurch shopping arcades, but if Chancery Lane were to be deemed as such, then it's easily NZ's oldest.