Jenny May - Architectural Historian, Heritage Management Services

McKenzie and Willis / A.J. White's Department Store

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The firm of McKenzie and Willis that occupies the site on the corner of Tuam and High Streets occupied three buildings over time.  McKenzie and Willis have operated out of this building following their purchase of the firm from A J Whites.

Jenny May

Once home to one of New Zealand’s earliest established furniture manufacturing and retailing firms, this pair of buildings contributes to the heritage precinct of older commercial architecture in the High Street area. The corner building was built with large windows and vertical lines. Its neighbour is a red brick Venetian Gothic building dating from the 1870s.

Christchurch City Council

This Edwardian building was erected as an addition to the earlier A.J. White Store and was designed by the England Brothers. The England Brothers were one of the foremost architectural practices in Christchurch during the early twentieth century, and designed, among other buildings, Holly Lea (or McLean's Mansion) and the Bishop's House. In connection with the adjacent building, this store formed a noteworthy part of the cityscape and provided a continuous link to the history of furniture retailing in Christchurch.

  • Image: Christchurch City Council
  • Photo from Christchurch City Council
  • Image: Christchurch City Council
  • Image: Christchurch City Council

Building information

McKenzie and Willis Department Store
181 High Street
Architects: England, Robert William & Edward Herbert
Date: 1910 - 1911
Historic Place Category 2

A.J. White's Department Store (former)
236 Tuam Street
Architect: AW Simpson
Previously registered Category 1 historic place