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Timaru District Coat of Arms - now defunct since 1989

Gypsy Poulston, a local artist, and her wonderful contemporary stained glass windows are found at St John's Highfield, Woodlands Road Methodist Church, Craighead Chapel and the Wilson St. Baptist Church. All four churches are in Timaru. She also did the 1987 mural at the front entrance to the Timaru Hospital. Gypsy often worked closely with her husband Eddie, a sculptor, designing the murals. Below is a beautiful example of her commercial work and it is found hanging high outside on the District Council building, King George Place, Timaru since 1964. Gypsy also has work the Aigantighe, Timaru's Art Gallery.

 "No Reward Without Effort."  

The significance:

In Jack Hamilton's 1975 book "The Streets of Timaru" on the inside front flap there is mention of the Timaru Coat of Arms adopted by the Borough Council on December 19, 1927. The Latin motto was adopted in 1948 on the attainment of city status. It may be freely translated as "No Reward Without Effort." The Coat of Arms was designed in the true heraldic tradition by Percy Watts Rule, a Timaru architect, who was the first president of the South Canterbury Historical Society, 1942-53. The sea, the sailing ships and the seahorse supporters typify Timaru's dependence for prosperity on its maritime position. The plough and golden fleeces represent the wealth of the agricultural and pastoral interests. The white chevron symbolises the proximity to Mount Cook. The helm (Armoured Helmet) and mural walled crown are symbolic of civic authority The semi sun in splendor indicates the District's sunny climate. The Kiwi used as New Zealand's national emblem and indicates that Timaru is situated in New Zealand. notes


The coat of arms is that of the Timaru City Council which became defunct in 1989 when the Timaru district was created from the amalgamation of five councils. The use of the coa by the District Council was then approved by the NZ Herald of Arms. The coat of arms was used to emphasise the civic responsibilities of Council or to denote Mayoral authority. Examples include Mayoral stationery, Mayoral messages in official documents, Citizenship Ceremony documentation, Outstanding Volunteer and those other certificates given to people, etc. and the crest is probably used on invitations to Council functions. The grant of armorial bearings to the City of Timaru was made by the College of Heralds, London, by letters patent dated 18 October 1977. The original grant document with its impressive artwork and gold seals is displayed outside the Council Chambers in the upstairs foyer at the District Council Building, King George Place, Timaru. Although granted to the former Timaru City Council, the heraldic emblems used are equally applicable to the entire District. The Coat of Arms by the District Council has been approved by the New Zealand Herald of Arms. Mayors A reorganisation scheme amalgamated the former Timaru City, Strathallan County, Geraldine Borough and Temuka Borough Councils' from 1 November 1989 now named the Timaru District Council. It consists of an area of 260,206 hectares and had a population of 43,000 in 2009. Agriculture still plays a significant part in the local economy.

1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand image a sun with eyes and no Kiwi or motto.
Heraldry of the World website image plough and helmets different designs.
Timaru District Council website crest has seahorse with no tongue 
1993 Stained glass window Theatre Royal, Stafford St. North.
Timaru District Council Building (old library) has coat of arms on all four sides of the 1933 turret clock tower. The building was built between 1908 and 1912. The clock tower was added 1933, when the clock was brought over from the old town post office. The tower has not suffered any damage but as the clock mechanism is mechanical, it needs to be physically reset if the pendulum stops after tremors. 
The Coat of Arms emblem is found on pocket patches of different organistions in South Canterbury e.g.  S.C.R.F.C. blazer, BSA.
2014 appeared in the Timaru District Council Plan. Can be used to accentuate the civic responsibilities of the Council or to denote Mayoral authority.


The 1950 Canterbury Centennial stamp collection featured only one South Canterbury scene and that only happened after a vigorous protests from South Canterbury residents. The one shilling brownish stamp depicts an aerial view of Timaru with Caroline Bay and the harbour in the foreground. The city's Coat of Arms and motto appear at the bottom of the stamp.

29 Jan. 1885, Timaru Herald

South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project