Waikato War Driving Tour
Take a journey through the Waikato and learn about a pivotal moment in New Zealand’s history through a new tourism and education product. Explore the battle sites of the 1860s Waikato War, considered to be the defining War of the New Zealand Wars.
It includes an audio driving tour, app for android and iphones, brochure and map, site signage at four New Zealand Historic Places Trust-managed sites, a website www.thewaikatowar.co.nz (hosted by Hamilton and Waikato Tourism) and an education resource for secondary schools.
Feeling the pressure of the colonial settlers gaze upon them, the Waikato Maori united to protect their land and formed a resistance movement known as Te Kingitanga in 1858. The Waikato War began with the invasion of the Waikato by the British Army in 1863. 1.2 million acres of land was confiscated as a result of this War.
A Tohu Maumahara or Symbol of Remembrance also stands at Rangiriri and to commemorate those who fought in the Battle of Rangiriri on 20 November 1863.
Listen to how this War unfolded, learn how this landscape changed and reimagine the events that took place at these sites.
Download the Driving Tour App and brochure and start your journey through the Waikato.
In Search of Secrets
Little-known heritage sites offer a tantalising glimpse into the past for those who take the trouble to find them
The Kaipara North Head Lighthouse
Described as one of the most evocative places on earth, the Kaipara North Head Lighthouse has tremendous historical and archaeological significance. Built in 1884, it is one of the few remaining timber lighthouses in New Zealand. Jock Wills, lighthouse custodian, master story-teller and something of a local identity, is the sole keeper of the keys and also takes guided tours of the Category II site.
“The lighthouse is an icon; there’s a lot of history tied up in the area,”
The Springvale Bridge
Whether seen from the river beneath it or on the road that leads to it, the Springvale Bridge represents a wealth of romance, hard work and history. There’s archaeological evidence of moa being hunted on the site and 19th-century European travellers forded the Rangitikei River here.
Today Springvale Suspension Bridge on the Napier to Taihape road is registered as a Category II historic place. Built in 1922-25, it carried traffic for 45 years before being replaced by the new bridge that runs alongside. Among locals who still remember the bridge in its heyday, 95-year-old Lou Campbell moved to the area as a shepherd when the bridge was 10 years old. He recalls crossing it from Ngamatea to play rugby in Taihape – a two-hour journey back then.
Johnny Jones established Matanaka, Otago’s earliest farm, in 1843; today Paul Toomey and his wife Alayca farm the property. The families are not related but the pioneering efforts of Johnny Jones are a constant reminder to Paul as he goes about his work.
The farm buildings erected by Johnny still stand on the 290ha property. They include stables (still with the original ‘Patented Galvanised Tinned Iron’ roof ), a schoolhouse, stable, granary and three-seater privy. These buildings are regarded as outstandingly significant. And although they’re on the Toomey farm, they are open to the public (the NZHPT provides a car park, a 10-minute walk away). A visit offers considerable insight into the early development of Otago and the stories behind the man responsible.
To live at Te Waimate is to be immersed in a rich history. To visit is to find a family passionate about their heritage and happy to share both the sights and stories surrounding them.
The 1012ha station on State Highway 82 in Waimate, South Canterbury, has been in the Studholme family since brothers John, Michael and Paul Studholme arrived in New Zealand in 1854. Coming from a small English village with the same name, they were the first European settlers in the Waimate district. Current owners Jan and Michael Studholme are the fourth generation to live on the land.
By Geraldine Johns
read more in Heritage New Zealand, Winter 2009
On the Way
There are certain musts on every heritage traveller’s personal itinerary, from mansions built by wealthy colonists to the magnificent historic precincts of major cities.
Every site – big or small, off the beaten track or on a well-trodden route – has its own singular story to tell. Here is a selection of New Zealand Historic Places Trust-owned and staffed properties that are worth making the time to visit when you’re on the main holiday trails.
Dotted throughout New Zealand, and within easy reach, are destinations to delight heritage travellers of all ages. These sites are an integral slice of our very identity, each offering the opportunity to reflect on the way we were. And with summer fast approaching, what better option than to set off – children in tow – and visit heritage properties that bring ample reward to every seeker?
By Lindy Carroll
read more in Heritage New Zealand, Summer 2008
All Care Taken
Caring for Trust properties is a labour of love, but it gives those who do it a very special connection with our heritage and the people who built it.
Rawene is a tiny settlement perched on the edge of Hokianga Harbour with a population, last census, of 462, a remote place that is often so quiet that, on a still day, you can hear a shag dive. And, if you’re lucky, the bouncing bedsprings sound of the white heron, or kotuku.
Lindsay Charman, curator of the town’s historic Clendon House, saw one on his first visit to Rawene, 10 years ago, up in the Norfolk pines behind the pub. He considered it prophetic. “I thought, well, a kotuku! You don’t get a sign like that very often.” He's lived in Rawene ever since.
In the even smaller settlement of Waimate North, half way between Hokianga and the Bay of Islands, 15 kilometres from Kaikohe, Rod Burke manages the second-oldest house in New Zealand, Te Waimate Mission House. “When I came here, the previous curator said, ‘I’ve been here for seven years. Five probably would have been enough.’ I’ve been here for 15 years. Maybe 16. I’ve lost count.”
Te Waimate Mission House is a handsome building, furnished with missionary period furniture, set in pastoral surroundings that were once New Zealand’s first large English style farm, with wheat fields, a water mill and blacksmith shop as well as the chapel, school rooms, houses and cottages.
When Jan Titus became the property manager of the Timeball Station in Lyttelton, Christchurch, she told herself she’d do it for five years. “Part of me worried that I would get trapped here,” she says. “But part of me saw that it was a great challenge.”
The station was built by the Canterbury Provincial Council in 1876, a castle-like building that had a tower for the timeball, and a three-storey building adjacent to it that contained residential rooms, working rooms, the clock room and the lookout room. It was constructed of scoria, and there were leaky-building problems from the start; over the years it has been modified to be more watertight, and extended.
Various people have lived in the residential part of the building over the decades, including former television presenter and Mayor of Banks Peninsula, Bob Parker. Titus has a master’s degree in cultural anthropology from the University of California, and has a particular interest in fundraising, which is where she has invested a lot of her energies. She’s been there six years now, during which time she has overseen the restoration of the gardens, of the building’s exterior and of the interior of the original part of the building. Restoration continues on the building’s
By Margo White
read more in Heritage New Zealand, Spring 2006
Here's Another Thing
Humans have a passion for collecting things. Fortunately, many have ended up in Historic Places Trust properties
It was good to meet with you the other day – I should have mentioned to you at the time, you were sitting on one of Governor William Hobson’s dining chairs – the stories it could tell! –
Kind regards, Belinda Burgess.
This is the sort of e-mail you get when you come anywhere near the extraordinary New Zealand Historic Places Trust project to catalogue every item in the properties it owns. These range from lead nipple shields to a table on which the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, from an early 18th-century portrait to Bishop Selwyn’s bed, and tens of thousands of items in between. Wherever you look in NZHPT properties, otherwise innocuous appearing items turn out to have rich and complex histories.
If I had known at the time that I was one settee of separation from Governor Hobson, would my fascination have been any greater? Probably not – it was already nudging 100 per cent.
The overall manager of this engrossing project is NZHPT Heritage Destinations Manager Elizabeth Cox, working with a team of cataloguers headed by Collection Registrar, Wellington, Rebecca Apperley, along with Collection Registrars Belinda Burgess and Pip Harrison, cataloguing assistants Léonore Decout, Catherine Morgan and Anika Klee, and a number of specialist contractors.
There have been earlier catalogues of NZHPT-owned items, but they were far from definitive, and much information on individual objects was missing. They were also pre-digital. Another complicating factor in keeping track of things has been the sometimes random way items entered the properties, occasionally being abandoned on doorsteps, like orphaned babies in a melodrama.
The first step was to transfer the information on the old NZHPT index cards to Vernon, a museum-standard database. Following that, the team members have been visiting each property, confirming the objects from the cards are there, adding items not on the cards and photographing everything, as well as recording their description, condition and location. “And in the process, we have found the most amazing objects,” says Cox.
“We were expecting a total of 30,000 items in the database,” says Rebecca Apperley, who has worked on a similar project at the British Museum. But before Christmas the team had already listed 35,000 items and, with six months to go, were expecting to have 80-90,000 pieces held within Vernon. “That is like a national museum-size collection, but spread around the country, which is fantastic because more people can see them. Te Papa’s history collection, by comparison, has 25,000 items.”
By Paul Little
read more in Heritage New Zealand, Autumn 2009
The Project Fund
The generosity of NZHPT members is helping to ensure the ongoing use and enjoyment of one of Auckland's best-loved heritage properties.
An old and rotten veranda pillar is an unlikely display feature in the ballroom of stately Alberton, namesake of the Auckland suburb of Mt Albert. However, it is a visual reminder of why restoration work estimated in excess of $500,000 is necessary at this heritage landmark. It also represents some of the maintenance challenges facing the NZHPT as it cares for its heritage properties.
Thanks to the generosity of the NZHPT’s members, $26,838 received in a pre-Christmas donation campaign has been put towards restoration and revitalisation work so that Alberton can continue to charm, entertain and delight visitors for many years to come.
Alberton’s doors have been open to the community since 1863 when the Kerr Taylor family moved in. While their archery parties, hunting meets and other traditional 19th-century outdoor pursuits may have become outmoded, it is still home to a range of social events.
Alberton was assessed as having the greatest and most urgent need for the proceeds of the donation campaign because of the extra work that was uncovered once restoration began. “Just as anyone engaged in repairs and maintenance or restoration discovers, the real costs often only become apparent once you start to open things up,” says Priscilla Pitts, the NZHPT’s Heritage Destinations General Manager.
“Homeowners up and down the country will be nodding as they read this, although I hope they won’t ever have had to face quite such a large repair bill.”
The third and final stage of the exterior conservation project is scheduled to begin mid-year, helped by the generosity of NZHPT members and the enthusiasm with which they support our heritage. As Alberton’s property manager Rendell McIntosh succinctly concludes: “Places such as Alberton are windows to our history that should never be shut.”