Porangahau Station Woolshed

5153 Hunter Road, Porangahau

  • Porangahau Station Woolshed. Original image submitted at time of registration.
    Copyright: NZHPT Field Record Form Collection. Taken By: Julia Gatley. Date: 19/10/1989.
  • Porangahau Station Woolshed. Original image submitted at time of registration.
    Copyright: NZHPT Field Record Form Collection. Taken By: Julia Gatley. Date: 19/10/1989.
  • Porangahau Station Woolshed. Original image submitted at time of registration.
    Copyright: NZHPT Field Record Form Collection. Taken By: Julia Gatley. Date: 19/10/1989.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 175 Date Entered 28th June 1990


City/District Council

Central Hawke's Bay District


Hawke's Bay Region

Legal description

Pt Lot 1 DP6205 Lot 1 DP6250 Lot 1 DP8610 Blk 3 Blackhead SD


The 15,000 acre Porangahau run was taken up by George Hunter (1821-80), son of George Hunter (1788-1843) the first mayor of Wellington, about 1854. He later took up the neighbouring property which brought the holding to 32,000 acres.

George Hunter Jnr lived in Wellington and worked in his father's firm, Bethune and Hunter, Stock and Station Agents. When Kenneth Bethune died, George became the sole partner. He was a member of the Provincial Council from 1857 until the abolition of Provincial Governments, a Member of Parliament (1870-79) and a member of the Wellington City Council until his retirement in 1879. As he was based in Wellington, Porangahau Station was managed by his brothers David and William, and a detailed weekly correspondence took place between Wellington and Porangahau.

Sheep returns increased rapidly from the original flock of 500 to 3400 by 1860 and to over 27000 by 1875. By this time shearing facilities were inadequate. A new shearing shed (now known as the woolshed) and an additional woolshed were required. In the interests of safety from fire these were built a small distance apart by Duncan McDougall in 1876.

In 1877 George Hunter (III) (1859-1930) took over the management of Porangahau Station from his uncles. Following the death of his father in 1880, George and his brother Paul owned the station in partnership. The partnership ended in 1908 with each taking about 16000 acres of the station. George retained the homestead portion. He was prominent in local affairs, being elected Member of Parliament for Waipawa (1896-1899 and 1911-1930) and a member of the Patangata County Council for more than 30 years. He was knighted in 1920.

From the end of World War I George gifted and sold acreages of the station, much of its for the resettlement by ballot of returned servicemen. The present Porangahau Station is about 922 hectares (2540 acres) and until October 1986 was owned by John Humphreys and his wife Elizabeth, Sir George's only daughter. At that time the property passed out of the Hunter family into the hands of the present owners.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Porangahau Station Woolshed has historical associations with four generations of the Hunter family of which George Hunter Jnr (1821-80) and Sir George (1859-1930) were prominent citizens at a national level.


With 30 stands in the days of blade shearing Porangahau Station Woolshed is one of the largest woolsheds ever built in the North Island. This building is largely in its original condition and gives an insight into the quality and scale of woolshed required by the owners of large sheep stations last century.


Impressive at close viewing but not visible from the public road.


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Physical Description


Possibly Duncan McDOUGALL (n.d.)


Duncan McDougall was a builder who had travelled in New Zealand, particularly Otago, and had seen some of the best yards, sheds and farm buildings in the country. He was responsible for much construction work for Bethune and Hunter, Stock and Station Agents, and also for George Hunter (1821-80) at Porangahau Station. Here he built the shearing shed (1876), woolshed (1876) and stable and converted the old shearing shed into a cottage.


Two of the buildings built at Porangahau in 1876 relate to the shearing of the flock and the storage of the wool. The smaller of these buildings was for the storage of the wool. The larger building is actually the shearing shed but is now generally known as the woolshed. It is this larger building which is the subject of this report.

This large Victorian woolshed is T-shaped in plan and had 30 stands in the days of blade shearing. The long section of the "T" is oriented east-west with the shorter section on the west end. Both sections have a pitched roof and a regular fenestration of double-hung sash windows. Opening windows are required for ventilation and there are also two ventilating lanterns on the ridge of the west wing. The glazing also provides natural illumination of the interior, aided by later skylights. As is customary in woolsheds there is no interior lining to walls or roof.


No major modifications. Minor (undated) modifications include a small gabled addition to each side of the east end, the lining of the south extension for use as a kitchen, re-roofing in corrugated iron and some repiling.

Notable Features

The largely original character of the woolshed. Early use of ventilating lanterns.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1876 -

Construction Details

Timber framing, weatherboard cladding, timber piles. Timber framed roof supported by timber posts. Slatted floors for pens. Corrugated galvanised iron roof.

Information Sources

Alexander Turnbull Library

Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington

MS Papers 49 Folders 76-82, 86

Evening Post

Evening Post

'Life on Station in Early Letters', 22 February, 1960

Hawkes Bay Herald Tribune

Hawkes Bay Herald Tribune

'Family of NZ Pioneer Gathers at Porangahau', 2 February 1974

'Historic HB Station Sold for $1m', Hawkes Bay Herald Tribune, 7 June 1986

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ)

Land Information New Zealand

CT HB 137/221, HB 138/51

MacGregor, 1970

Miriam MacGregor, Early Stations of Hawkes Bay. A.H. & A.W. Reed. Wellington. 1970

Scholefield, 1940

G. H. Scholefield, A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, 1940

Thornton, 1986

Geoffrey Thornton, The New Zealand Heritage of Farm Buildings, Auckland, 1986

Castle, 1980

John Castle & Sydney Grant, Hawkes Bay Heritage, Collins, Auckland, 1980

Other Information

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.