It was a momentous day on Friday with the official opening of our newly rebuilt Dining Hall by the Hon Gerry Brownlee, MP for Ilam and Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery.

The special ceremony was attended by alumni and special friends of College House, former staff and current students.

Damaged in the 2011 earthquake when the land beneath it moved, our rebuilt Dining Hall has retained its award-winning 1960s Warren and Mahoney design with its famous W-butterfly roof and double-height space. The building is now strengthened to 100% of the new building standard and has a much improved thermal performance.

Chairman of the board Anna Wilkes says, “We’re all thrilled that the Dining Hall is now rebuilt and fully operational. It’s been a long haul after negotiating with the insurers and then deciding to rebuild rather than repair. We acknowledge the tremendous job of the College architects – Wilkie + Bruce, the building contractors Duncan Taylor Ltd, the engineers Holmes Consulting and all the other contractors who have played their part in the completion of the Dining Hall.

“The board also recognises the tremendous efforts of recently retired BM Laraine Sharr and bursar Dave Matheson in managing the Dining Hall rebuild.

“And last but by no means least, we salute our kitchen staff who worked under extreme duress in a tent and a shipping container on the other side of the quad for more than four years.”

Anna acknowledges the many benefactors who have also played a significant part in contributing to the rebuild of the Dining Hall. “We’re tremendously grateful for the generosity of these alumni and friends of College House. They have played a key role and their support is hugely valued.”

Anna says the new Dining Hall absolutely exceeds expectations. “It’s now larger, we have doors opening to a terrace overlooking the quad and the kitchen is now state-of-the-art. Not only used for student meals, the Dining Hall is also an amazing venue. That space, and our other excellent facilities, is also available for hire for conferences, meetings and other events.

“The Dining Hall is the heart of the house, and we’re delighted at its official opening. Our rebuild is, however, not quite over. Our beloved chapel, Sir Miles Warren’s ‘most favourite room’, also suffered earthquake damage. The board is currently evaluating the strengthening options, and is also talking with potential benefactors who will help us restore this wonderful, serene space,” concludes Anna.

If you’d like to read more about our Building Fund, just click here.



Anna Wilkes - Board Chairman, Hon Gerry Brownlee and the Right Rev David Coles with the official Dining Hall Opening Plaque


The Right Rev David Coles blessing the Dining Hall


 Alastair Drayton - Principal, Anna Wilkes - Board Chairman, Hon Gerry Brownlee and John Rolleston - Development Board Chairman before Hon Gerry Brownlee cut the ribbon to declare the Dining Hall officially open


Claire Mackintosh - Former Director of Development pointing out the original ceiling to alumni Graeme Woods and William Rolleston


Current student Katie Vincent playing the flute


Ollie Williamson - President and Julia Rolleston - Room 16 cutting the College House Cake 

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