Kinder House

Kinder House in Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand. 

Built in 1857, Kinder House is one of Auckland's most notable stone buildings. It was commissioned by Bishop G.A. Selwyn and designed by Frederick Thatcher, the architect for many Anglican buildings in Auckland.

The Ground Floor rooms are devoted to the display of watercolours, photographs and sketches by John Kinder (1819-1903).

Kinder House is open to the public from Wednesday to Sunday from Noon to 3pm. It is closed over the Christmas and New Year holiday break and the official Easter holidays. The property is available for hire for weddings, garden parties, birthday celebrations, seminars, meetings, displays, art exhibitions, fund raising events, musical performances, and workshops when it is closed for such functions. It is FREE entry but a donation is requested on entry. Various booklets, prints, calendars, DVDs and pamphlets on New Zealand Arts and Heritage are on sale.

The building was commissioned by Bishop G. A. Selwyn as a schoolmaster's house for the first headmaster of the Church of England Grammar School, now long since demolished, but which occupied the site directly opposite Kinder House to the south, where shops are now situated.

The schoolmaster's house is of rubble construction, basically using scoria from Mt Eden, with dressed stone at corners and openings thought to have been quarried at Mt Wellington. Michael Dunn wrote an article in 1982 for the publication Art New Zealand which is available on the net at and incorporates a number of historic photographs. He notes that Kinder House was the grandest of three stone buildings constructed in Parnell by the master mason, Benjamin Strange, in 1857/8. It cost £1404.10.10, a considerable sum in those days. This was not surprising, as it was unusual to build in stone or brick at the time, particularly stone, there being a shortage of masons of sufficient skill. This is evidenced by structural difficulties which were experienced following the construction of a number of stone churches in the region at the time, namely the earlier St Thomas's on the corner of Kohimarama Road and the original St Stephen's chapel in Judges Bay.

The schoolmaster's house, on the corner of Ayr Street and Parnell Road, was sold by the church and remained in private ownership through to the 1970s. On the death of the then owner it became available on the open market.  Councillor Sheila Horton and Deputy-Mayhor Dr Lindo Ferguson convinced the Council to purchase the property because of is heritage value. The  Civic Trust Auckland was also active in helping convince the Auckland City Council to purchase the property. The Kinder House Society was formed to manage the property and operate it as a gallery. IIs first Chairperson and driving force was Sheila Horton, who is commemorated by a sundial and plaque in the garden.

Kinder House has been used by various voluntary organisations for their meetings for many years. These include the Auckland Literature Association, the Ex Libris Society, Slightly Foxed, the Auckland Maritime Society, the NZ Founders Society, Landmark Society

The house and gardens can be hired for private or professional use, for example small weddings and anniversaries, business functions, wedding photographs, fashion garment photographs and the like.

Contact the Kinder House Society for charges and other details.