About Us


We are a unique members’ organisation which has thrived for over 300 years. Having no political or religious affiliations, we comprise members of all ages, races, religions, cultures and backgrounds. We gather in our individual Lodges throughout the country where we have ceremonial traditions which encourage us both to be more tolerant and respectful and actively fulfil our civic and charitable responsibilities; we also make time to eat, drink and meet together, and form lifelong friendships.



To attract those from all backgrounds and walks of life, enabling them to develop into more thoughtful and confident people. To inspire and challenge them to practise the core values we celebrate – Integrity, Friendship, Respect, Charity – in their private and public lives. To cement our reputation as a force for good in our communities and society at large and as a thriving organisation that people aspire to join.



Over the next 7 years, we will enhance our reputation as a thriving organisation that people aspire to join and broaden our membership across all age groups.

What is Freemasonry?

Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest social and charitable organisations. Its origins are believed to lie in the traditional ceremonies of the medieval stonemasons who built many of the world’s amazing cathedrals and castles. For freemasons today there are four important values that help define their path through life: Integrity, Friendship, Respect and Charity. Membership is open to any man over the age of 18 irrespective of their race, religion or social status. Freemasons meet at lodge meetings which are typically held in two parts. The first involves the lodge administration and working practises in a temple, a process made up of three degrees, each marked by a special ceremony. The second is a festive board, where members dine socially together with formal speeches and toasts. Making friends, contributing to society, celebrating tradition, learning and personal growth are all reasons to join Freemasonry. If you are interested please contact our District office who will be more than happy to help.

Our Values

Building good people

Rather than working on buildings like the masons of old, today’s Freemasons focus on building themselves as people of integrity, and membership provides the structure to help achieve that goal.

Building together

One of the oldest social organisations in the world, Freemasonry is not defined by an ideology. It is open to people from all religions and political persuasions, and provides the common foundation for friendships between members, many of which will last for life.

Building unity

With a membership of more than 200,000 people drawn from communities across the UK, Freemasonry brings people together irrespective of their race, religion or any other perceived differences that can divide us as a society

Building compassion

Kindness and charitable giving are deeply ingrained within the principles of Freemasonry. The organisation provides a support structure that helps members make positive contributions to communities and worthwhile causes through fundraising events or volunteer work.

Discover Freemasonry

Right Worshipful District Grand Master John Soper
District History


The District Grand Lodge was formed on 18 August 1973 by the amalgamation of the former Provincial District of Canterbury (1859), the Districts of Otago and Southland (1864) and Westland and Nelson (1870).

District Grand Lodge

I was born in Christchurch on 11 December 1955 being No. 5 of six siblings, all sisters. I attended both Briggston Primary and Mairehau High schools. At age 16 I started an apprenticeship with Flewellyin & Lipscomb as a boilermaker welder and after 3.5 years became a tradesman.

At age 21, I met Marie whom I married in 1979. We have 2 children Tina who now lives in the Netherlands with her Husband Wiaan, where we have 2 grandchildren, Robin 13 and Mikayla 11. And Aaron, who lives in Ashburton near us, married to Rebecca. We also have 2 grandchildren Issac 7 and Eleanor 3 and usually look after Issac for one week of the school holidays.

My hobbies and interests have included stamp collecting, harriers, football, table tennis which I won the doubles interclub champs South Island in 1988. Fishing, camping, gardening {vege} and travel.

Marie and I over the years have had 2 retail businesses, a Hardware store and a corner dairy which we very much enjoyed. This led to me moving into retail management with the Mitre10 group in Christchurch and Ashburton which I continued for about 20 years.

Currently I am semi-retired driving a primary school bus which I find to be a very therapeutic and a good way to interact with the young ones who are a lot of fun.

I have always enjoyed my masonic life which has brought a lot of social interaction, which outside of the ritual side of freemasonry is a very important part of who we are. I look forward to serving the district of the South Island as District Grand Master.


Southern Star Lodge No. 735, - warranted 1858

Dunedin Lodge No. 931, - warranted 1862

Canterbury Lodge No 1048 – warranted 1864

Lodge of St John No 1137 – warranted 1865

Pacific Lodge of Hokitika No 1229 – warranted 1886

Greymouth Lodge No 1233 – warranted 1868

Lazar Lodge No 1689 – warranted 1877

Phoenix Lodge No 1690 – warranted

Winchester Lodge No 1737 – warranted 1877

Ashburton Lodge No 1811 – warranted 1877

The Conyers Lodge No 1916 - warranted 1879

Amberley Lodge No 2007 – warranted 1882

St Albans Lodge No 2597 – warranted 1895

Canterbury Royal Arch Chapter 1048

District Grand Master: John O Soper (2023)

Deputy Dist. GM: Franz v Zoggel (2023)

Asst.Dist. GM: Ray Moroney (2023)

Dist. G. Secretary: Dave Stenning (2023)

Past District Grand Masters

1858 John Charles Watts- Russell

1868 William Donald

1884 Henry Thomson

1891 Peter Cunningham

1897 Richard Dunn Thomas

1905 Charles Dilworth Fox

1913 Matthew Stoddart Brown

1918 Norman Lindsay Macbeth

1931 Matthew Stoddart Brown

1935 John Ernest Purchase

1945 John Francis Hutchinson

1957 George Jobberns, CBE, DSC

1966 Donald Alexander Munro (resigned 1973)

1864 John Hyde Harris

1881 Thomas Sherlock Graham

1919 Joseph Skettowe Webb

1924 William Rowland Hayward

1935 John Jacobs

1941 John Simpson

1949 William Osborn Clark

1955 Leslie Edward Arthur Lord

1968 Edward William Pickford (later Dist GM SI)

1870 John Lazar

1880 John Bevan

1912 Jesse Steer

1945 Frank Benjamin Lawn

1949 Arthur Henry Boyce

1956 Maj. John Watson

1962 Robert John Shand-Smith

1973 Edward William Pickford

1974 Frederick Baxter Price

1988 J. Gordon Baines

1993 Geoffrey Kirk Friend

2003 Geoffrey Wayne Rowe

2017 Richard Malcolm Taylor