The Nurses' Memorial Chapel Christchurch, New Zealand

A testament to New Zealand’s pioneering nurses and to the thousands of nurses who were called away to the battlefields during times of conflict.


The Christchurch Nurses’ Memorial Chapel was built during 1927 and 1928 and is located on the Christchurch Hospital site fronting Riccarton Avenue. Although twice threatened with demolition, the building’s future has been secured. The Chapel’s unique qualities create one of the finest spiritual spaces in Christchurch.

The chapel is of vital cultural importance. As far as can be ascertained, the only purpose-built, hospital chapel which commemorates nurses who died in the Great War, in the world.

The Memorial Chapel is a testament to New Zealand’s pioneering nurses and to the thousands of nurses who were called away to the battlefields during times of conflict.

This beautiful chapel, of great architectural and historic significance, has an extensively timbered interior with carvings by Frederick Gurnsey and Jake Vivian together with important stained glass windows by English artist Veronica Whall (1887-1967) and other works. It is New Zealand’s only memorial chapel to women who died in any war or the 1918 influenza epidemic... Learn more


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Chapel Restoration

The restored chapel was opened in October 2018 by the Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy

The cost of the building restoration was over 2 million dollars, and generously funded by the Christchurch City Council. The contents which are owned by the Friends of the Chapel Trust were stored under careful supervision and are in the process of being reinstated in the Chapel building.

The ongoing restoration of the contents of the Chapel - many of which have significant historical and cultural value to all of New Zealand will continue over the following years as time and funding allow. In addition, the cost of opening the Chapel to the public and ensuring that these facilities remain accessible to all remains the role of the Friends of the Chapel, which requires ongoing funding and support.

If you feel that you can support the valuable work through though volunteering to assist in staffing the Chapel during opening hours we would be very grateful and thankful of your contribution and love to hear from you.   



The Chapel is surrounded by a garden of old roses, perennials and medicinal herbs. Each rose has been donated in memory of a friend or relative who has been associated in some way with the Chapel. The garden, being part of the reserve, is maintained by Botanic Gardens staff.

The Old Rose Gardens were largely the vision of Judy Turner with Tricia Robertson and Melissa Skene providing help and support. Judy chaired the committee that was responsible for the creation of the rose gardens. Hybrid Musk roses were planted from 1990 onwards, each rose being donated by those who wish to commemorate colleagues or friends who had links with the Hospital and Nursing.

Judy Turner has produced a publication “The story of a special Old Roses Garden” which documents the development of the gardens and records for each rose those who donated it and to whom it is dedicated. It is available from the Chapel during opening hours.

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