College House is the oldest university college in New Zealand, tracing back to the earliest days of European settlement in Canterbury.
In May 1850 the Canterbury Association resolved to establish a grammar school for boys—Christ’s College—and a collegiate for young men. In 1873, the collegiate became a residential college for Canterbury College of the new University of New Zealand. Then in 1882 it moved to a site at the corner of Rolleston Avenue and Cashel Street. This new site became known as ‘College House’.
In 1957 College House became fully independent of Christ’s College and when what had become by then the University of Canterbury moved from the centre of Christchurch to the more spacious Ilam site, College House followed. Warren and Mahoney designed the white concrete block buildings and the students took up residence in in 1966.
In 1990 the college admitted its first women students, and appointed its first principal who was not a clergyman. In 2007 the College appointed its first woman principal, Laraine Sharr.
Over the years the College has made some additions to the original Warren and Mahoney design with two new houses, Hardie and Beadel, and the Allan Pyatt Study Centre and Common Room; The most recent addition is the new dining hall building to replace the original damaged by the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes and an additional 15 room house – Maidment House.
In 2019 College House is home to 160 students together with five tutors, all enrolled across the various UC faculties.