Waimahaka Homestead

28 Holms Road, Waimahaka

  • Waimahaka Homestead.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 381 Date Entered 27th July 1988


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Pt Sec 52 Blk IV Toetoes SD (CT SL178/2), Southland Land District, and the building known as the Waimahaka Homestead thereon, and its fittings and fixtures.

City/District Council

Southland District


Southland Region

Legal description

Pt Sec 52 Blk IV Toetoes SD (CT SL178/2), Southland Land District.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The Crown grants on the land in this area were taken up by James Holms (a settlers from Scotland) from the early 1870s onwards. James built a large Gothic house on the site and his son, Alexander Scott Holms, replaced it with this house in 1929. James Holms started what is now the oldest continuously maintained Hereford stud in New Zealand, buying three heifers and a bull from R and E McLean of Auckland in 1876, and making further imports from Australia. He also established the earliest Romney stud in New Zealand but this has not been continuously maintained.


Georgian was not as popular a style in New Zealand as Gothic, classic and after 1900, the Arts and Crafts English cottage were. This building is more like some of the great Australian houses built in the early nineteenth century. The style however is a harmonious development from the early cottages such as Ewelme which was a Colonial Georgian form. Waimahaka's setting and grounds are particularly in keeping.


The position of the house makes it visible from several miles around.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Blue, John (1870-1952)

John Blue was an Invercargill contractor active in the early-mid twentieth century in the city and surrounding districts. His father, also John Blue, was from West Kilbride in Ayrshire, Scotland, where he trained as a carpenter. He settled in Waianiwa in Southland, carrying on his trade as a builder.

Brodrick and Royds

uthbert John Brodrick (1867-1946) was born in Invercargill, the fifth son of Thomas Brodrick. He was named for his uncle, the well-known Victorian architect Cuthbert Brodrick (1822-1905). Brodrick was educated at Southland Boys High School. In 1884 Brodrick was articled to F.W. Burwell and trained in the classical tradition, travelling to Melbourne with Burwell to complete his training. Brodrick returned to New Zealand in 1891 after architectural draughting in Queensland for the Government. In 1906 he married Jemima ('Nonnie') Thomson, stepdaughter of surveyor John Turnbull Thomson.

After practising in Hawera for six years he returned to Invercargill. Brodrick entered into a partnership with his pupil Thomas Royds during World War One. Royds died in 1936. Brodrick retired from practice about 1943. During his career, he served as President of the Institute of Architects in 1911, as Vice-President in 1917, and as a member of the council in 1935.

The first building he designed in Invercargill was the Alexandra building. Others (with partner Thomas Royds) included the Italian Renaissance Bank of New South Wales (1912), the Kaiapoi building, the Grand Hotel (1914), the Edwardian Baroque Southland Daily News (1913), the stripped Classical Invercargill Savings Bank (1926), the classical temple Masonic Lodge of St John (1926), the Georgian Waimahaka Homestead, and grandstands for the Southland Racing Club.

Brodrick was also a member of the Borough Council for three terms and became Deputy Mayor.

Thomas Parry Royds (c.1884-1936) was the son of Thomas Royds, an Invercargill accountant and estate agent. On leaving school, Royds trained as an architect in C J Brodrick’s office. He became a partner in the practice during World War One.

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description


This is a particularly fine Georgian house similar to Andersons Park, Invercargill. The symmetry, restrained classical detail and gentle curve to the hipped roof and panelled chimneys are typical of this style.


The facades are unmodified. Inside the kitchen had been modernised and brick surfaces revealed. The grounds are being modified to provide the vistas appropriate to such a house and new plantings of Rhododendrons made.

[Also attributed to Brodrick and Royd of Invercargill in information provided by NZHPT branch committee and members of the Holms family]

Notable Features

Its complete Georgian character and setting, its association with early Hereford and Romney studs.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1929 -

Construction Details

The house is built in double brick covered with white cast. The roof is covered with slated thought to be from Wales and the ridges covered with galvanised metal. The building is two storied with a hipped roof which curves elegantly outwards close to the eaves. The house is symmetrical about the front porch which is a colonnaded drum with simple Ionic columns rising to a balcony. The porch is built in concrete. The brackets and dentil course under the eaves and the window shutters are wooden. Bay windows project laterally from the ground floor rooms at each side. The sash windows have small square panes and have larger lower sashes than top sashes. The top story windows are smaller than those of the lower story. Each is surmounted by a keystone. At the back a covered porch leads to a row of one storied outhouse rooms. From the front a three sash dormer window is set into the roof with a shell arch over it, letting light into the attics.

The house has seven bedrooms, and five living rooms. The walls are lined with heart Rimu, and the original brick fireplaces are still in place. The decorative plaster ceilings and original light fittings are still present in some of the rooms. A Jacobean staircase with barley sugar balustrade rises from a large hall with specially carved furniture made by P Swanson. The house is set on a knoll in park like surroundings with mature trees and shrubs. The front lawn runs down to a ha-ha built by the present owner, presenting a view of continuous grass running out to the paddocks where stud Hereford cows graze.

Other Information

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

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.