Cuningham House (originally called Winter Gardens) was built in 1923 and opened on 9 August 1924, funded by a bequest made to the Botanic Gardens by Mr C.A.C. Cuningham, a Christchurch law clerk, on his death in 1915.
It is a large, stately structure of architectural importance and is listed with the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga. A spacious staircase leads to a large peripheral gallery where an extensive collection of tropical plants are displayed.
Both upper and lower Cuningham House contain fine collections of sub tropical plants including Dieffenbachia, Peperomia, Hoya, Anthurium and Dracaena.