Heaton is proudly made up of six houses which are named after historic connections with Sir Robert Heaton Rhodes who donated the land for the school and after whom the school is named.

Each classroom belongs to a house along with two other classrooms. There are three Year 7 houses and three Year 8 houses, each with their own colour and history. The teachers and students in each house work together closely and usually have interchange programmes, house meetings, sport rotations, and go on camp together. For the specialist teaching rotation, students are put into mixed groups with other students from their house.

This banner was produced by students from all our houses as part of our 2016 School Production “Tuhono”. It can be seen on display in the Performing Arts Centre foyer

Find out more about the 6 houses at Heaton:

House colour: Green

Elmwood House was the home of Sir Robert Heaton Rhodes. He built it before the Rhodes family moved from Purau to the Christchurch area in the early 1860s. It was a two storey Gothic style house about 140 feet in length set in 50 acres of land. The first ‘Elmwood’ was destroyed by fire in 1882 and a second ‘Elmwood’ was built in 1883 from plans by Mr F. Strouts, who later designed Otahuna. It was called Elmwood because of the English elm trees along the Papanui Road boundary. There are still elm trees on the site today.

The New Zealand Governor General used Elmwood House as a Government Residence. Elmwood Park was a gift to the City from Sir Heaton Rhodes.

In 1947 the Canterbury Education Board purchased Elmwood House from Sir Heaton Rhodes for an intermediate school and the Form 1 and Form 2 boys from Elmwood, Waimairi and St. Albans schools went to the homestead because of overcrowding.

Elmwood House was pulled down in 1954 and Heaton Intermediate School was opened on November 28 1955.

House colour: Red

LansdowneThe Lansdowne Valley is adjacent to the Otahuna property. The Lansdowne Valley is on the Port Hills, nine miles from Christchurch and just over two miles after the Halswell turn-off.

Lansdowne’s first European settler was William Guise Brittan who built Lansdowne House in 1850.

The Lansdowne Valley was originally very boggy and eels and birds were plentiful. Maori hunting implements have also been found there. Today it is a popular residential area.

The title of the house came from a place near Bath in England. The first Lansdowne House which was wooden, was burned down so Brittan built a second house of stone on the valley side of the Halswell Stream.

Lansdowne House has had a series of owners up until 1960 when it was reconstructed using the original Halswell stone and roof slates. It is now still a very elegant homestead.

The late Charles Upham V.C. and Bar, who is descended from William Brittan, owned a farm near Hundalee called Lansdowne.

Lansdowne Valley is still on local maps today.


House colour: Black

The Rhodes family originally owned the land Heaton Intermediate is presently built on. The Rhodes family is one of the oldest names in New Zealand history. They arrived in Port Cooper, now Lyttelton in 1836, settled in Purau, after coming from Lincolnshire in England. They owned a lot of land in Canterbury. The Rhodes family owned the Elmwood House and Otahuna House which is now the Lansdowne Valley.

There are at least four people called Robert Heaton Rhodes. Members of the Rhodes family were highly respected and held a variety of public offices – national, provincial and local.

Christchurch Cathedral owes a lot to the Rhodes family e.g. tower, spire, bells, windows and earthquake repairs. Sir Robert Heaton Rhodes donated his stamp collection to the museum. This was the best collection of New Zealand stamps in the world.

The Rhodes family were extremely generous. They gave their employees gifts of food and sweets at Christmas, the local school children in Tai Tapu buckets of cherries and many organisations greatly benefited.

Rhodes was the second to last House created. The name and shield were chosen by Heaton children in 1985.


House colour: Purple

Purau House is the most recent house to be established at the school. It was created in 2000.

Purau Bay is where Sir Robert Heaton Rhodes was born and his family lived there for several years.


House colour: Yellow

OtahunaOtahuna was the home built on 5000 acres at Tai Tapu by Sir Robert Heaton Rhodes. Otahuna was opened in 1895.

It is a two and a half storey wooden house designed in the Queen Anne style with a slate roof. Otahuna covered 46 acres and was known for its beautiful gardens, especially daffodils. There were two artificial lakes on the property. The surplus daffodils were used to establish the areas by Christchurch Public Hospital in Hagley Park.

The land now surrounding Otahuna was bought in 1894. The land was devoted to the purpose of fattening sheep. The favourite breeds of sheep were English Leicesters and Corriedale. They also introduced the Clydesdale Stud.

The local school children at Tai Tapu benefited from activities on the Otahuna estate i.e. fruit, land for the school, attendance at the local school prize giving and money.


House colour: Blue

Tikao House was named after Teone Taare Tikao, a Maori tribal leader. His father was a lay preacher in the Church.

Teone Tikao was born in Tikao Bay, Wainui, Akaroa, just before the arrival of the First Four Ships in Lyttelton. He was a courteous, dignified chieftain who held a number of public offices.

The Rhodes / Tikao Estate was on the west side of Akaroa Harbour. The Rhodes family acquired land from the Tikao tribe on Banks Peninsula. Some members of the Rhodes family acquired Maori names e.g. Tikao and Timaru.