The Sign of the Takahe

From the Diary of a High-Class Landlady

Angela Hawkins

The Cashmere/Port Hills Community & Business Association held its Christmas function last Saturday.

Christmas function at the Sign of the Takahe
Last year's Christmas function at the Takahe and yes, that's me, standing close by the waitresses


It was a lovely evening - made even better for being held at the Sign of the Takahe just 5 minutes up the road from Dyers House. We are probably the closest Boutique hotel accommodation to the Takahe and to Victoria Park just beyond it.

The Sign of the Takahe is one of Christchurch’s important heritage buildings.

Construction of the Takahe began in 1918 but for various reasons it was not completed until 1948. Even so, from the early 1920s it was functioning as tearooms because it was situated at the end of the Tramline from north of the city centre.

Tearooms inside the Takahe in the 1920s
Tearooms inside the Takahe during the 1920s


This beautiful stone building contains the largest collection of Heraldry in New Zealand. Its neo Gothic style is reminiscent of many old manors that can be found throughout the UK, in fact the fireplace in the lounge is an exact replica of one in historic Haddon Hall in Derbyshire.

Fireplace in the Takahe like that in Haddon Hall, Derbyshire


The Sign of the Takahe together with three other Signs, the Kiwi, Bellbird and Packhorse, was built as a rest station along the Summit road. The Summit Road was created across the Port Hills to connect the port in the Lyttleton basin with the Canterbury plains and the newly formed city of Christchurch. Before that time, early European settlers would have to make the wearisome trek up the Bridle path to cross the Port Hills to reach the city.

Stonemasons at work on the Takahe 1930
The workmen, called "Ell's Angels" at work on the Sign of the Takahe in the 1930s.


Photo of Dyers Pass Road in 1946 showing the location of the Takahe
Aerial photo 1946 shows Dyers House on Dyers Pass Road and the almost finished Sign of the Takahe


The fascinating story of the Sign of the Takahe and links to the charismatic man behind it all, Harry Ell, can be found here on our Christchurch City Council website.

The Sign of the Takahe on Dyers Pass Road near Victoria Park

Posted by Angela on December 17, 2018