Diamond Harbour, New Zealand

Diamond Harbour is a small town on Banks Peninsula, in Canterbury, New Zealand. It is on the peninsula's northern coast, on the southern shores of Lyttelton Harbour, and is administratively part of the city of Christchurch.

Diamond Harbour
Main Diamond Harbour jetty
Country New Zealand
RegionCanterbury Region
DistrictChristchurch City
Local iwiNgāi Tahu

The area was named by Mark Stoddart for the way the sunlight glints of the water.[1] He bought 500 acres (200 ha) of land in the area in 1856 to farm.[2] [3]The name is applied not only to Diamond Harbour proper but to the nearby settlements of Church Bay, Charteris Bay, and Purau. With a population of 879 people in 1991 this had increased to 1467 by 2013.[1]

Godley House

Godley House was built in 1880 by Harvey Hawkins (a ship chandler, ironmonger and financial speculator) on land purchased from Mark Stoddart. This large family home was renowned for parties with party goers arriving on Harry Hawkin's steam launch, the Waiwera. Hawkins went bankrupt and the house and contents were auctioned off in 1896.

It did not sell and the Stoddart family, as secured creditors, acquired the property and moved in until the death of Anna Stoddart in 1911. Her daughter Margaret Stoddart lived there also and painted several pictures of Godley House.[4] [5]

Godley House, having suffered extensive earthquake damage

The property of then sold to the Lyttelton Borough Council. At this time is was named Godley House after John Robert Godley.[4]

Godley House and the land surrounding it was made a recreational reserve in 2006.[6]

It was used as a hotel, restaurant and conference centre prior to the September 2010 Canterbury Earthquake. [7]

Godley House was badly damaged in the September 2010 earthquake but it was thought that it could be repaired. However, damage caused by the February 2011 earthquake left engineers recommending the Category II Historic Place be demolished.[7][8]

Stoddart Cottage

Stoddart Cottage, built for Stoddart's wedding in 1862, is the oldest building still standing in Diamond Harbour. It was registered by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust as a Category I historic building in 1990.[2] The artist Margaret Stoddart grew up in the cottage.[2] It is open on weekends and public holidays. It hosts art exhibitions on occasions.[9]


The centre of the village has a restaurant, a library, community hall, a rugby club, a bowls club, a croquet club and a medical centre, all overlooking the village cricket pitch and rugby field. Orton Bradley Park is located very close to the township of Diamond Harbour.


A ferry connects Diamond Harbour to Lyttelton, on the harbour's northern shore.[10] In combination with buses from Lyttelton to Christchurch, this allows residents of Diamond Harbour to commute to the city. Diamond Harbour is 25 kilometres via the Governors Bay road to Lyttelton.

Diamond Harbour from Port Hills


  1. Taonga, New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage Te Manatu. "Lyttelton Harbour". teara.govt.nz. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  2. "Diamond Harbour, New Zealand". Register of Historic Places. Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  3. "DIAMOND HARBOUR – Mark Pringle Stoddard (1819–1885)". Discover The Delights Of Peeling Back History. 5 July 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  4. "Godley House to be demolished". Stuff. 25 May 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  5. "Godley House, Diamond Harbour". christchurchartgallery.org.nz. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  6. Mythen, Samantha (25 March 2021). "Time for another licensed venue? Future of Godley House site to be discussed". Otago Daily Times Online News. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  7. "Heritage buildings". ccc.govt.nz. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  8. "Historic Canterbury homestead can't be saved". NBR. 25 May 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  9. "DIAMOND HARBOUR: COASTAL AND VILLAGE LOOP WALKS" (PDF). www.roddonaldtrust.co.nz. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  10. "Diamond Harbour Ferry | Black Cat Cruises". Blackcat.co.nz. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2016.