Rosamond House

35 Rosamond Terrace And Hoturoa Street, Kawhia

  • Rosamond House.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Mike Vincent. Date: 18/09/2007.
  • Part of the east side of the house showing the octagonal bay of the former doctor’s surgery (room 1)..
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Kathryn Mercer. Date: 3/12/2008.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 737 Date Entered 8th May 2009


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Sec 1 Blk VIII Town of Kawhia (CT SA29C/885), South Auckland Land District and the building known as Rosamond House thereon, and its fittings and fixtures. (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the registration report for further information).

City/District Council

Otorohanga District


Waikato Region

Legal description

Sec 1 Blk VIII Town of Kawhia (CT SA29C/885), South Auckland Land District


Rosamond House, Kawhia, is a large villa built in 1901 on a prominent site overlooking Kawhia's township and wharf. It was built at a time when Kawhia was developing as a European settlement, and holiday and recreational destination; having been closed to such development by King Tawhiao in the 1860s due to its significance as the final landing place of the Tainui canoe and spiritual home to Tainui iwi. Even after the government's 1883 Kawhia survey into small residential plots, European occupation was disputed by Tainui and an Armed Constabulary post was established to protect the government's interests, build roads and establish services. By 1900 Kawhia township was developing fast, with 30 new houses being built in 1900-01, attracting more European visitors requiring temporary accommodation, and more speculators.

The house was built as a boarding house by Edward Buckeridge, a surveyor who was investing in property with the assistance of his brother George, a land agent-auctioneer who had a business in Kawhia. The house was built to take advantage of the harbour view, with two bay windows beneath faceted turret roofs set at diagonally-opposite corners of the house, with a long veranda across the front and side connecting the two bays. One room had French doors giving access to the front veranda. It had 13 rooms when built, possibly with two bathrooms. Two hallways give interior access to the rooms. It is clad in rusticated weatherboards, believed to be kauri, with a corrugated iron roof and a bull-nosed profile to the veranda, which had a popular striped paint effect. The house was imposing when viewed from the sea, wharf and main street.

The house was used as a boarding house only for the first three years, and proved to be a poor investment for Buckeridge who spent much time trying to sell or lease it. Nonetheless, he made improvements. These included removing an interior wall, and adding a small extension for the washhouse, toilet and wood shed in late 1912. For a period in 1911-12 the Buckeridge family lived in it themselves, but at other times until the mid-30s Rosamond House was leased to several short-stay tenants who often used only part of the house. Under new owners from 1938, the house was divided into two by means of a wall in the central hallway; converting one room into a kitchen, and adding an external toilet, possibly in the late 1940s. The owners, storekeepers Rex and Peg Nesbit, lived at one end and rented out the other. In 1952 Rosamond House was acquired by the Crown for use as a doctor's residence and surgery, the medical rooms being at the east end. Dr [J.B.W.] (Jim) Roberton and family lived in the rest of the house. In c.1970 it was used by Tokanui Hospital, and then sat empty until being purchased in 1975 when lived in as a private residence. Its use turned full circle when in 1993 it was used again for holiday accommodation as a bed and breakfast. The house underwent some cosmetic changes plus the additions of a swimming pool and indoor sauna. It remains in private ownership and is being prepared for use as home-stay accommodation.

Rosamond House is significant as the last remnant of the large accommodation buildings erected in the late 1890s-early 1900s, and the largest of the few villas remaining in the central Kawhia area. It reflects Kawhia's wealth and development at the turn of the 20th century when several new businesses were established along with a wharf to provide better facilities for coastal shipping, the main access to Kawhia. Its subsequent history reflects the lack of further development and a downturn in the local economy. Rosamond House has very strong associations with the history of medical facilities in Kawhia, providing temporary accommodation to nurses and doctors, the longest term of occupancy being that of Dr J.B.W Roberton from 1952-1969. His association with the house is so strong it is still known as 'the Doctor's House' to locals. Its association with the Kawhia Hospital and Waikato Health Board extends to its use by Tokanui Hospital as temporary accommodation. In its construction, maintenance and use, it has strong associations with several local businesses and tradesmen who supplied materials and labour, and assisted with their financial viability in the small town. Rosamond House is significant in being owned by Edward Buckeridge, a well known surveyor working for the government, private landowners and local businesses during a period of cutting up land, building roads and developing new industries. Edward Buckeridge and his wife Fredrika were strong contributors to community life in the Kawhia, Aotea and Raglan areas and had roles in the local church and running postal services.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The house has associations with many stages in the development of Kawhia. It is within the curtilage of a Maori pa and Armed Constabulary redoubt and was one of the sections sold at the government's auction in 1884 after Tawhiao opened up the King Country. It reflects Kawhia's wealth and development at the turn of the 20th century when several new businesses were established, along with a wharf to provide better facilities for coastal shipping, which encouraged investments such as the provision of boarding house accommodation. Its subsequent history reflects the slowing down of further development and a downturn in the local economy.

In two separate periods Rosamond House reflects Kawhia's popularity as a seaside town and holiday destination, being built as a boarding house in 1901 and in the 1990s-2000s being used for bed and breakfast and home stay accommodation for visitors.

Rosamond House is significant in being owned by Edward Buckeridge, a well known surveyor working for the government, private landowners and local businesses during a period of cutting up of land, building roads and developing new industries in the Kawhia-Aotea area. Edward Buckeridge and his wife Fredrika were strong contributors to community life in the Kawhia, Aotea and Raglan areas with roles in the local church and postal services. Along with Edward's sisters, they contributed to Kawhia's development by their investment in several parcels of land and erecting a shop and residences. Edward's brother George Buckeridge was also a prominent citizen in Kawhia and parts of Taranaki, as a Justice of the Peace, assessor, estate agent, author and speaker.

In its construction, maintenance and use Rosamond House has strong associations with several local businesses and tradesmen who supplied materials and labour, thus assisting with their financial viability in the small town.

Rosamond House has very strong associations with the history of medical facilities in Kawhia, providing temporary accommodation to nurses and doctors, the longest term of occupancy being that of Dr J.B.W. Roberton from c.1953-1969 who used one end of the house as his surgery and dispensary. His association with the house is so strong it is still known as 'the Doctor's House' to locals. Jim Roberton was a renowned doctor and local historian in the Te Awamutu-Kawhia district. Its association with the Kawhia Hospital and Waikato Health Board extends to its use by Tokanui Hospital as temporary accommodation; Tokanui Hospital had a major influence on the Waikato-Otorohanga district in terms of employment as well as psychiatric care.

Aesthetic Significance or Value:

Rosamond House makes a strong visual statement on its site overlooking Kawhia and is a noted landmark. As one of very few large buildings left in Kawhia it is evocative of the past wealth of the area.

Architectural Significance or Value:

Rosamond House is significant as the last remnant of the large accommodation buildings built in Kawhia in the late 1890s to early 1900s, and is the largest of the few villas left in the central Kawhia area. Its design was influenced by its site on a steep hill overlooking the town, with its orientation, its size, the linear verandas and its turreted bays being emphasised by its position as it can only be viewed from below. Its asymmetrical frontage is an unusual style.

Social Significance or Value:

The fact that it is still locally known as the Doctor's House indicates the strength of the association of the community with the house, at least when it belonged to the Department of Health and was occupied by Dr Roberton. The house is a key subject in local tradition and local history interpretation, having acquired its own set of stories regarding ownership, not all of which can be substantiated.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history:

The house has strong local and regional significance as it is not only one of the last remaining large houses, but is also the last remaining accommodation building from the late 19th-early 20th centuries of the many that have formed part of Kawhia's history, since its establishment as a European settlement. Its intended role as a premier boarding house for visitors and new arrivals reflects the once complete dependence of seaside settlements on coastal shipping and wharf facilities.

(e) The community association with, or public esteem for, the place:

Many Kawhia residents and visitors still remember Rosamond House as the doctor's surgery from personal visits there for medical care. The community has built up a myriad of stories relating to its ownership and use, that are recounted in local information outlets, articles and publications.

(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape:

Rosamond House is a strong and charming contributor to the visual and historic landscape of Kawhia, being part of the curtilages of a Maori pa and a 1880s Armed Constabulary redoubt, and is visually connected with other historic buildings on the foreshore and along Kawhia's main street.

Summary of Significance or Values:

This place was assessed against, and found it to qualify under the following criteria: a, e, k.


It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category II historic place.


Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

Rosamond House is a substantial wooden villa situated in Kawhia on a prominent site overlooking the town. It has been a notable part of the landscape since it was built in 1901, and its changing uses as boarding house, family residence, doctor's residence and surgery, and holiday accommodation house reflect many aspects of Kawhia's history.

Rosamond House is situated on a ridge approximately 150 metres from the pa Karere-Atua, a defended pa occupied at one time by Ngati Toa-Rangatira and later, in the nineteenth century, by Ngati Apakura. On the next hill to the south is another large pa, Motu Ngaio; on the flat land around the bay on which Kawhia township was built, two kainga, also occupied by Tainui iwi, existed up until the mid-1880s. In the next bay to the south is Maketu, the spiritual home for descendants of the Tainui canoe and the Tainui canoe's resting place. The area was densely settled by Tainui by the time of European contact, as the area around Kawhia Harbour was rich in food, good soils and technological resources and had easy access through to the Aotea Harbour, the Waipa River and other inland rivers. The safe harbour and relatively stable bar at the entrance attracted many visits from European vessels, which in turn attracted traders (from 1828), Church Missionary Society missionaries (from 1835) and European settlers, a few of whom purchased land. George Charlton purchased 15.4 hectares on the flat some time between 1838 and 1840. During the 1840s and 50s a strong export trade of local produce developed.

During the land and sovereignty disputes with the government in the 1860s, King Tawhiao closed the area to Europeans and made Kawhia one of the main bases for the Kingitanga Movement. The aukati line was drawn just to the north of Kawhia. In late 1880 or early 1881, the government acquired Charlton's property, and by this means gained access to the area. The property was surveyed into small residential sections and in January 1884, after much dispute with King Tawhiao and Tainui, the sections were put up for sale by auction. One of these was Section 1, Block VIII on which Rosamond House was subsequently built. An Armed Constabulary post was established on or adjacent to the site of Karere-Atua to protect the government's interests; they also built roads and established services.

The first owner of the one rood (0.0986 hectares) property was Thomas Ching, 'gentleman' of Auckland, who received title on 24th February 1884. He was one of many land speculators; directories show he continued to live in Auckland and no structures are known to have been built during his ownership. On 5 December 1900 ownership transferred to Edward William Buckeridge, surveyor of Blenheim.

Edward William Buckeridge worked on government surveys in Taranaki in the early 1890s and in the Kaikoura area in the late 1890s-1902. While living at Te Papatapu and Kawhia he surveyed for the government, local landowners and businesses such as the Marakopa Milling Company. In 1902 Edward Buckeridge bought a farm at Te Papatapu near Te Mata on the north side of Aotea Harbour and Buckeridge, his wife Fredrika and two sisters bought other land in Kawhia as rental investments. In March 1902 Edward built a chemist's shop in Tainui Street, Kawhia. In 1912 he bought the mission land at Raoraokauere, north Aotea Harbour, having leased it previously. He was involved in both Raglan and Kawhia affairs. From 1911 Edward Buckeridge was postmaster with his farmhouse designated a post office. In 1915 Buckeridge was secretary of the Kawhia Chamber of Commerce and in 1933 its joint secretary. He helped lay out the course for the annual Kawhia Regatta. His wife Fredrika Fanny Buckeridge (1867-1956) managed and worked the farm at Te Papatapu. She was an active member of the Church of England at Te Mata and often held Sunday School classes.

Buckeridge's expressed intention was to acquire land and build a boarding house as an investment. By 1900 Kawhia township was developing fast, attracting more European visitors who required temporary accommodation, and more speculators. Several new businesses were established at this time, along with a wharf, in 1901, needed to provide better facilities for coastal shipping on which Kawhia relied. Thirty new houses were built in 1900-01.

Edward's brother George Henry Buckeridge, based at Eltham in 1900, but with business in Kawhia, acted as his agent in the land purchase and the engagement of an architect, supply of materials and builders, plumbers and other tradesmen. Who the architect was has not been established, and a telegram from George to Edward states: 'have plans and specifications nearly finished, Kawhia, good practical man'. Edward desired 'a commodious, convenient place which will lend itself to additions later on if necessary'. By 12 December 1900 Edward had received initial plans. By mid June 1901 the building was underway as he received invoices for materials. The name of the builder is not known. An accounts list for part of 1901 includes Kauri Co. £318/9/7, Grey and Longville, Ward [a local plumber], Langley [local hardware], Steadman [local bricklayer], wages for 'carpenters and excavation' £247/8/3 and painters £64/-/11.

By June 1901 George Buckeridge had Walter and Ruby Morgan lined up as tenants. Edward was not happy with the Morgans as tenants, being worried about the way they kept their current boarding house. By 31 July the house was 'about completed' and Edward queried George's charge for 'Commission and Architect's Fee at 10%'. On 18 and 21 August he received telegrams from George that the house was nearly finished and the Morgans 'ready to enter without delays'. A lease to Ruby Morgan was entered on the title on 17 April 1902, the term being for three years from 22 September 1901. She paid £2 per week rent.

The final cost of the building was £1076/5/-; the section cost £87/5/6. The original structure had 13 rooms including a kitchen and one or two bathrooms, at least six bedrooms, a dining room and a drawing room. The bull-nosed veranda had a striped paint effect, very fashionable at this time. When Edward visited Kawhia for the regatta at New Year 1902, he stayed at the Morgans' boarding house. First improvements were a dresser and steps in March 1902 at a cost of £1/17/6, and in 1902 'WCs at boarding house' cost £9/17/8.

Edward and Fredrika Buckeridge shifted to Te Papatapu with their young children in June 1902. George Henry Buckeridge, parents George and Elizabeth, and sisters Emily and Francis, also moved to Kawhia by 1902.

On 30 November 1903 a marriage ceremony was held at 'Rosamond Boarding House'. It was the first marriage ceremony recorded in the register of the Kawhia Congregational Church; the church itself had not been built by then.

The Certificate of Title does not record the end of the Morgans' lease or subsequent leases. However, advertisements in the local newspaper indicate that the Morgans had left by January 1905. From 13 January 1905 the Kawhia land agent F.A. Pearson listed

Rosamond Boarding House, 12 rooms and outbuildings. For sale or to let. Terms easy on freehold section.

Also from 13 January 1905 Mrs Walter Morgan advertised her boarding house on Rosamond Terrace where she had opened 'a large and commodious new establishment'. This presumably refers to St Elmo, another large villa nearby. Other boarding houses also existed at the time, e.g. the Moana Hotel and The Strand. It seems that Rosamond House was only a boarding house for its first three years, a casualty of stiff competition for a limited number of temporary visitors and the slowed development in Kawhia at this time.

The wording of the sale or let advertisement changed slightly in April 1905 to include the price, £1350, but it continued through until 18 May 1906. On 16 August 1907 in a letter to the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) Te Awamutu, Buckeridge stated that he had been unable to find a tenant for the boarding house. Financial difficulties led him to apply for surveying jobs, seemingly unsuccessfully. In June 1911 he approached the Government Advances to Settlers asking for a loan to buy the adjacent section, and a month later for a loan of £400 for dwelling and premises; the loan was granted and he asked the BNZ to release the mortgage on Rosamond House. In September 1911 the family moved from the Te Papatapu farm to Kawhia, presumably living in Rosamond House. From there Buckeridge was able to undertake more survey jobs and the younger children attended school; son Clarence was sent to boarding school in Auckland. They appointed a manager to run the farm.

On 23 January 1912 Buckeridge received title to the adjacent section, Section 2 Block VIII Town of Kawhia. Although no substantial buildings were erected on the property the two sections were managed as one.

From 1912 a pattern of temporary leases to families or individuals began. On 29 April Buckeridge wrote: 'let the two east end rooms of the house to Mr Jack at 20/- per week. Stayed and cleared the rooms of our belongings and fixed the old drawing room as my office'. In this period Buckeridge was also receiving rent from 'Edgar', but for which premises it is unclear, as he was also managing the leases for his sisters' cottages. In September 1912 Buckeridge burnt off gorse at the back of the house, and reported 'had a capsize [to the bank at] back of the house' and wrote to the Kawhia Town Board re widening the road and clearing the gorse. From the West Australia Hardwoods Company he ordered 'posts, gates, battens £5/-/-'. During November and December 1912 several improvements were effected: the wash-house and/or shed (it is unclear if it was one or two buildings) were shifted, a tank-stand built, a new septic tank dug and concreted, a boiler and a new toilet installed, the back yard dug up, the bank cut down, hedge and chrysanthemum plants ordered and Cyclone netting put on the fence around the house. From these detailed accounts and later comments it appears that an existing wash-house and/or shed were shifted creating an extension to the house on its west side (see plan). Materials purchased included 70 feet (21 metres) of rimu, 67 feet of 4x2 inch (20.4 metres of 10 x 5 cm) timber scantling, house blocks, cement, shingle (from Oparau), 500 bricks, 12 fire bricks, lime, pipes and a Humber toilet pan. The work was undertaken by locals: Doe Brothers, Willie Toko, Armstrong, Newton, Steadman and Ward Brothers.

On 27 July 1917 Fredrika Buckeridge wrote to 'Mr Shaw' (presumably of the Waikato Hospital Board), regarding the plan to erect a cottage hospital at Kawhia. She suggests Rosamond House instead, either for 'the low rental of 15/- per week' or for purchase, and that the house has been recently renovated. Is provided with Hot and Cold water in kitchen & bathroom, Sceptic [sic] tank & Water Closet.

Although her suggestion to use Rosamond House as a hospital was not taken up, medical staff did stay there on occasion. District nurse Mrs Hudson and family lived in Rosamond House when they first arrived in Kawhia, until Kawhia Hospital was opened. Patients came up to the house for medical attention. While there the Hudson's had a house cow for milking and a chook house. In June 1919 Edward Buckeridge wrote to Nurse Maclachlan, Rewanui, Greymouth, requesting payment for rent due and for her to 'make good the damage occasioned to the picture and furniture, which you had jumbled into the one small room'.

During 1920 Buckeridge discussed the sale of Rosamond House with a Mr Thatcher and later, Dr L.G. Bell who was attached to the hospital. On 12 April 1920 Steadman was paid for repairs to drains. In 1920 (and possibly earlier) the house was leased as a dwelling to the local store owner Chase, but with the lease about to expire on 30 September, Edward Buckeridge approached the Repatriation Committee:

I am desirous of finding either a purchaser, a tenant to run the place as a boarding house, or an experienced person as manager who has not the capital to equip & furnish the house to run the house on trial for six months from 1st Oct to 31 March 1921. Accommodation is now badly required in Kawhia, and the summer months are the most suitable to give the place a trial.

The letter also stated that the house had '11 rooms formerly 13 to enlarge others'. From structural evidence this is interpreted as the removal of a wall between two front rooms, the eastern of which had a fireplace, French doors to the veranda and wider ceiling boards indicating a more prestigious former use than the one adjacent. Other improvements noted by Buckeridge are the addition of a veranda at the back and a linen cupboard over the hot water cistern. The Repatriation Committee response is not recorded in the family documents, but on 12 October 1920 Dr Bell took possession of the house on lease. Early in January 1923 negotiations began with the Hamilton Police Department regarding a memorandum of lease, disagreement having occurred between the offered rental fees versus the number of rooms: your best offer was only 25/- I reserved several rooms on the eastern end of the house to store a little furniture I have there, and to prevent the risk of the rooms being damaged. The remaining 7 rooms should be ample for even a large family. I do not propose to dwell in them or to sub-let them. I seldom visit Kawhia, perhaps once a month or less, and then only for a day. On those occasions I should like to have my bed in one of the rooms...

The Police Department occupied the house on lease from at least January to April 1925, during which time repairs were done by Ward Bros., local plumbers. On 13 July 1925 Buckeridge let Rosamond House to Mr Cullen, contractor, for a nine-month period at 20/- per week. In 1930 Mr D. Scott rented the house in July at least, and Rev. Wharehuia and his family in November-December.

Edward Buckeridge died on 17 July 1933 and a year later ownership of both sections on Rosamond Terrace transferred to his widow Fredrika. She in turn sold to Rex Romalo Joseph Nesbit, storekeeper of Kawhia, on 8 December 1938. Nesbit came to Kawhia in the late 19th century. After leaving school he worked for the local butcher, purchased the business and later built larger premises that included a general store, billiard room and barber's shop. On his retirement he sold the well-known business to his nephew John Reeve. John and Nan Reeve lived in one part of Rosamond House and Rex Nesbit and his wife Peg in the other. It was probably during the Nesbit ownership that the house was divided into two flats by means of a wall in the east-west hallway, with cupboards either side of the wall. Other alterations were the conversion of one of the rear rooms (room 2 on 1974 plan, see Appendix 2 of the registration report) to a kitchen, with an exterior door to the back veranda, two safes built into the side wall of the veranda and the addition of a small washhouse and toilet (rooms 6 and 7) for the eastern flat. The latter additions effectively divided the back veranda in two. The enclosed porch in the northwest corner of the house may also date from this time.

In early 1949 there was no longer a resident doctor in Kawhia, although the hospital was being visited once a week by a medical practitioner from Te Awamutu. Dr James (Jim) B.W. Roberton was appointed as resident doctor for the Department of Health in mid-February 1949 and arrived in Kawhia soon after with his young family. His arrival was 'hailed with satisfaction throughout the district'. The Department of Health selected Rosamond House as the doctor's residence when it became available after Rex Nesbit's death in 1952. Nesbit's two properties on Rosamond Terrace were sold to the Crown for health purposes, legalities being completed on 8 October 1952. The purchase price of £3210 was for both Sections 1 and 2.

In 1952 Rosamond House was described as comprising two flats, one containing two bedrooms, sitting room, living room, large kitchen, bathroom, large washhouse and shed combined; and the other as having two bedrooms, sitting room, living room and small kitchen, bathroom and washhouse. Both were all-electric. The spouting had recently been renewed.

The Department of Health was to take possession on 7 July 1952. Dr Roberton was asked to supply his needs. This he did in some detail, especially for the dispensary, which was to be converted from its use as a kitchen (room two). He did not favour making part of the washhouse into a garage as '... this end of the washhouse will continue to be needed for firewood, coal, garden tools etc'; he suggested the garage should be put 'at the near end of the vegetable garden where there is now a rubble foundation'. In addition, a wider step was needed at the main private entrance to the western flat. Roberton removed the block in the hallway but the cupboards were to be removed and a door provided. The fireplace in the living room, which was of 'the old cast iron register type', was found to be in poor condition with several bricks cracked or missing and a replacement was suggested to build up the opening with bricks and install a colonial grate. Evidence for leaks in the roof and veranda roofs was noted. Two WCs were to be installed within the existing building. Other work proposed included repainting the whole building, re-papering, installing septic tank drainage and partial re-blocking of the southwest corner with concrete piles. The work was not undertaken until 1953 and 1954, with more improvements then necessary; including renewal of portions of the roof, ridges and valleys, and replacement of tanks and tank stands.

Jim Roberton (1896-1996) was a well-known and highly respected personality in the Te Awamutu-Otorohanga-Kawhia area. He was involved in the activities of several athletics, sporting and cultural groups in Te Awamutu and was involved with the Te Awamutu Historical Society from 1936 and the editor of its Journal from 1966 to 1975. During his time in Kawhia as medical practitioner, Roberton studied Tainui history, especially as told through traditions and whakapapa, and published two booklets and many articles on the results of this and other research. Within weeks of his arrival in Kawhia he was elected a member of the Kawhia Chamber of Commerce. Locals in Kawhia called him 'Aspro Joe'. Roberton served the district as resident doctor from 1949 for 20 years until his retirement. After he left, there was no replacement for many years, Kawhia being served only by locums who used the town hall for clinics.

Dr Roberton and family moved into Rosamond House in c.1953, living in the west and front (south) rooms with the medical practice rooms at the northeast end. They consisted of a consulting room (surgery), dispensary and bathroom with toilet. Patients entered through the side gate and the door off the veranda at the east end. The front door leading onto the veranda was rarely used as the main entrance, an indication of a flaw in the design which places the front of the house as the side facing the harbour view, but without easy access to the road. During the Robertons' occupation there was no balustrade around the front and east verandas. The section to the west was an orchard of 20-30 trees and was also where the chook house was located. Dr Roberton's son Bill recalls a new septic tank hole being dug beside the existing one, 'beyond the garage'.

Kawhia Cottage Hospital was administered by the Waikato Hospital Board. Tokanui Hospital used the Kawhia Hospital facilities for a time after the Robertons left in 1969, and used Rosamond House as a holiday residence for patients. Tokanui's use of the house had ceased by April 1974 as they then returned the keys. In 1974, an appeal to all government departments failed to elicit any expressions of interest and the property was declared surplus to the Department of Health's requirements, and recommended transfer to the Department of Lands and Survey for disposal. The description of the house in 1974 was that it had been unoccupied for a number of years, was 'neglected and in need of repair but nearly all timber is solid'; it was valued at $4,500. The house was fitted with a fire alarm system with sprinklers in every room. A further report recommended that if no purchaser could be found, the best option given its 'almost derelict' condition with leaking roof and damaged windows would be removal of the buildings and selling the land. A very detailed description describes the power points, alarms, number of sprinklers et cetera as well as a brief description of each room and a plan.

In 1975 the property was purchased by Margaret Hoana Jean McGifford, hairdresser of Auckland on a Deferred Payment License, title being granted to her (as Margaret Graham) on 4 May 1983. The Grahams replaced the roof and may have made other changes. After Margaret's death, ownership was transferred to Hugh Graham, also known as Tom Graham, company director of Kawhia on 25 June 1992. On 26 October 1993 ownership transferred to Michael and Annette Warrender. The Warrenders installed a swimming pool, spa and sauna and undertook several cosmetic changes indoors. The latter may have included re-instatement of the fire surrounds. The eastern bathroom (room 4), which included the sauna, was made narrower by approximately 0.25 metres by shifting an interior wall; above the sauna was a false ceiling with a cupboard above accessed from the adjacent room (room two). The 1940s washhouse was opened up into the bathroom. At some stage, probably in the Warrenders' time, the doorway from the hallway into this bathroom was closed and access made from room two.

The Warrenders ran the house as a bed and breakfast business. They marketed Rosamond House as a character villa with spacious verandas to enjoy the beautiful view of Kawhia Harbour, and a base from which to experience Kawhia's peace and tranquillity. Mike Warrender ran a fishing and diving business for visitors to Kawhia, in addition to working as chef on the Margaret J that services the Taharoa ironsands ships, an important factor in Kawhia's economy. Annette Warrender started up Annie's Café in Jervois Street, a successful business still popular today. In 1997 the Otorohanga District Council issued resource consent for the encroachment onto the road reserve of the garage, followed by building consent for the erection of a new garage, the 1950s one having been demolished. In 2002 Mike Warrender became sole owner. He continued to run the bed and breakfast, with a listing in the Lonely Planet helping to bring international visitors to Kawhia. In late 2004-2005 Rosamond House was for sale with an expected price of $600,000. It was purchased by Gary Victor Froggatt and Jillian Jean Morris on 21 November 2005. They are continuing with interior decoration while living in the house and have modernised the eastern bathroom with new fittings, wall linings and removal of the sauna and mezzanine cupboard; in 2006 they installed a log burner in the dining room. They are intending to run it as a home-stay business.

Rosamond House's heritage value is recognised not just through its direct marketing but also by being included in the King Country Heritage Trail 'The Best of the West' and newspaper features celebrating Kawhia's laid-back unsophisticated lifestyle. The house's history has become part of Kawhia folklore, although much of the information relating to its early years has not been substantiated by this research. In particular, many of the facts regarding ownership have become mis-stated or muddled.

Physical Description

Construction Professionals:

Not known

The house is situated on a levelled area on the edge of a ridge that runs east-west away from the shore. The front of the section is very steep, dropping away from approximately 2-3 metres distant from the house. The front of the house faces southwest (taken as south for purposes of this description), orientated to the view of the harbour rather than for the sun. The section is irregularly shaped as a wedge between three streets: Rosamond Terrace to the north, Hoturoa Street to the east, and Powewe Street to the south, sloping down from the house. The site has a commanding view of the harbour and town. The house is highly visible from the town, the shore and the opposite hill to the south and is a major landmark in the town because of its size and situation. It is also of a more elaborate style than other buildings.

The building is a villa with irregular hipped roof and two octagonal bay windows beneath faceted turret roofs at diagonally-opposite (northeast and southwest) corners. A 2-metre wide veranda extends around the south and east sides between the bay window extensions. At the rear (north) are two porches (verandas) divided by a small room (a toilet). On the west elevation is an enclosed porch and a long narrow extension at right angles to the west wall. The house comprises 2428 square feet [225.6 square metres] with an additional 719 square feet [66.8 square metres] in the verandas. The house is timber-framed with rusticated weatherboard cladding and a corrugated iron roof. Beneath the eaves are numerous large decorative brackets. Small decorative brackets are set beneath the windows. It is believed to be solid kauri.

The veranda has a timber floor and Union Jack-style balustrade between the roof supports. The veranda roof is lower than the main roof and has a bull-nosed profile. The posts are rectangular in section with bevelled edges and a decorative feature near the tops; the original fretwork is missing. The rear porches are 1.77 metres wide (deep); the western rear porch is the longer and gives access to the back door and windows to a bathroom and two small bedrooms (rooms 5, 9 and 10). The eastern rear porch gives access through French doors to a lobby (formerly a bedroom, then kitchen, then dispensary, room 2 on plan), with a window through to a bathroom (room 4). The bathroom wall juts out into the porch and this plus a narrow toilet serve to divide the back porch into two parts. The east end of the eastern rear porch is an unlined wall clad on the exterior with rusticated weatherboards that are narrower than on the rest of the house. The floor of the eastern rear porch is concrete, whereas the western is wooden.

The main door onto the front veranda is wooden with two lights, with top lights above and a single light in panels either side of the door. The catch and lock are original. The rear door and east door are similar but with no side panels and only one top light above the door. There are two hallways, one aligned north-south between the front and back doors, and one aligned east-west leading from the east side door to the other hallway.

Most of the windows are double-hung sash windows, some with two-light sashes, some with two-lights in one sash and a single light in the other, but with the position of the two-light sash not consistent. It is probable that as panes have broken they have been replaced by a single pane. Most of the windows are 0.98 metres wide with the exceptions being narrower sets on the sides of the bay in the northeast room. Windows in the 1912 extension (room 18 on 1974 plan), the eastern bathroom (room 4) and west porch (room 16) are side-hinged casement windows either singly or in pairs. In the kitchen, a recent bow window extends outwards level with the bench top.

The skirting boards are similar throughout with variations in height from 190 to 210 mm. The moulded architraves are consistent throughout the house except for the more recent doorways e.g. in the west porch (room 16). In the halls and dining room (room 11) is a tongue and groove panelled dado to a height of 1.15 metres to the top of the dado rail. The eastern bathroom (room 4) has been modernised with waterproof sheet cladding on walls and ceiling. The walls in the main bathroom (room10) are narrow wooden sarking. All other walls are covered with wallpaper and could not be inspected but some are gib board.

The stud height is 12 feet (3.66 metres). Ceilings are of two types: wide boards with moulded battens, and plain wooden sarking. The latter occurs in the back bedrooms (rooms 5 and 9) and bathroom (room 10); it presumably occurs under the recent cladding in bathroom 4, as a remnant of this ceiling can be seen in the adjacent lobby (room 2). It is evident that the wall between rooms 2 and 4 has been shifted approximately 25 cm to make the lobby wider. The location of the original door into the bathroom can be traced in repairs to the dado, skirtings etc in the hallway.

Cornices are of two types, the ones in the dining room being much deeper and more elaborate. In the large front room (described in 1974 as rooms 8 and 14), the boards of the ceiling in what was room 8 are two different widths indicating that room 8 was probably two rooms. French doors lead onto the front veranda from the east end of room 8; this end also contains a fireplace. Two beams across the ceiling of this large room indicate the location of the original walls. The location of the door from the central third is concealed by the cupboards in the hallway and was not identified in the room itself.

Except for the kitchen, the wooden floors are covered in carpet or lino throughout. Where they are exposed they are seen to be 10 centimetres wide; in the east lobby (room 2) the floor boards are aligned east-west but in the dining room and kitchen they are aligned north-south. The floors appear to be rimu and matai.

The fireplace surrounds are the same in rooms 1, 2, 3 and 8, being wooden with moulded brackets. All have cast iron registers, but in two different styles, it was not established if they were original. The fireplace in room 15 is painted brick with shallow niches and a shallow timber mantel. The ornate carved wood fireplace surround in dining room (room 11) is not original; the hearth has been stripped back to the brick chimney and base. A new log burner is installed in the southeast corner of dining room.

The kitchen has been remodelled with new cupboards and cladding. A serving hatch exists in the kitchen-dining room wall. French doors open into the enclosed porch at the west end of the house but these are not original. A small pantry built into the end of the porch has a door with picket tops, possibly the original toilet door (room 17). The exterior porch door has one light and three horizontal panels, possibly plywood, in a wooden frame. The door knob and plate are bakelite in 1940s style.

The house is in near-original 1901 and 1912 external condition and appearance with only a few small casement windows, the kitchen bow window and decorative details on the veranda being anomalous. On the inside, the house is also close to the original structure and layout.

Construction Dates

Demolished - Other
1997 -
Garage demolished and Versatile garage erected.

2006 -
Hearth removed from fireplace in dining room (room 11) and log burner installed in corner

2003 - 2008
Sauna and mezzanine cupboard removed from bathroom (room 4)

Original Construction
1901 -
c.May-early September: construction of house

1902 -
Steps and two water closets

1912 -
November-December: washhouse and/or shed shifted and rebuilt to form extension (room 18 on 1974 plan); new toilet installed (room 17 on plan?); new septic tank; tank stand built

1912 - 1920
Removal of wall between two front rooms (room 8 on 1974 plan); veranda built at the back; a linen cupboard built over the hot water cistern

1920 -
[April]: repairs to drains

1925 -
[February]: plumbing repairs

1947 - 1951
House divided into two flats by wall in east-west hallway with cupboards either side of wall; washhouse and toilet added to rear wall, dividing rear veranda

1947 - 1951
Conversion of a bedroom into a kitchen (room 2) and probable conversion of a bedroom into a bathroom (room 4); safes added to east end of back veranda; closing in of porch (room 16) on northwest corner

Spouting renewed

1953 -
Re-blocking of southwest corner; conversion of eastern kitchen into dispensary; removal of blocking wall and cupboards in hallway and replacement with door, side cupboards installed in same space

1953 -
Repainting; partial re-papering; drainage for septic tank; WCs installed in each bathroom; tanks and tank stands replaced; erection of garage; portions of roof, ridges and valleys renewed

Brick fireplace surround built in front room (room 15) (may be same event as follows)

1954 -
Chimney repaired, spouting repaired

1952 - 1970
Boarding-up of fireplaces; some boards on back veranda replaced, not with kauri.

1975 - 2002
Union Jack balustrades added to veranda. Fretwork elements removed. Removal of wall between rooms 8 and 14

1993 - 2002
Wall between rooms 2 and 4 shifted to make room 2 wider; wall between rooms 4 and 6 removed; sauna installed in room 4, ceiling space of room 4 lowered to form cupboard with access through small door in upper wall of room 2

1993 - 2002
Doorway into room 4 shifted from hallway to room 2; carved wooden fireplace surround in dining room installed; bow window installed in large kitchen; swimming pool installed

1900 -
December: design begun, land purchased

Construction Details

Kauri, other timber including joinery, corrugated iron

Completion Date

30th January 2009

Report Written By

Lynette Williams

Information Sources

Daily Southern Cross

Daily Southern Cross

11 Dec 1867

9 December 1867 p. 4

Electoral Roll

New Zealand Electoral Roll

Evening Post

Evening Post

7 July 1911, p7

West Coast Times

West Coast Times

16 June 1906

Leighton's Auckland Provincial Directory

Leighton's Auckland Provincial Directory

April 1930 - March 1931

New Zealand Gazette

New Zealand Gazette

25 September 1952 p.1597; 1974 p. 2843

Otago Witness

Otago Witness

'Notes on Rural Topics', 21 September 1904, p. 7

Waikato Times

Funeral notice, 17 July 1933

Obituary, 6 February 1956

'Kawhia Time', 4 October 1995

Wanganui Herald

Wanganui Herald

24 January 1884, p.2

Taranaki Herald

'New Chapel at Mangorei', Taranaki Herald, 16 Oct 1869, p. 2.

2 December 1890; 1 June 1895

Hawera & Normanby Star

Hawera & Normanby Star

19 October 1891; 19 December 1900; 12 October 1903

Bradbury, 1915 (2)

E Bradbury, Raglan and Kawhia District, New Zealand, E.E. Bradbury, Auckland, 1915,

Raglan County Chronicle

Raglan County Chronicle

30 September 1904

21 October 1904

Anderson, 2004

W E Anderson, 'Further Memories' A History of Kawhia and its Districts, Kawhia Museum, Kawhia, 2004

p. 87

Buckeridge, 1985

C R Buckeridge, Reflections of the Aotea, Hamilton, 1985

Cummins, 2004

Peg Cummins, A History of Kawhia and its Districts, Kawhia Museum, Kawhia 2004

Leadley, 1994

Alan Leadley, 1834-1994; 160 Years of Methodism at Kawhia, Waikato-Bay of Plenty Bicultural Working Group, Hamilton, 1994.

New Zealand Post Office Directory

New Zealand Post Office Directory

1900, 1901

Reynolds, 1916

Leslie Reynolds, Kawhia District and Port, Kawhia County Council, Town Board and Chamber of Commerce, Kawhia, [1916]

Vernon, 1973

R T Vernon, and C.R. Buckeridge, Te Mata - Aotea, A.O. Rice Ltd, Hamilton, 1973

Hamilton Press

Hamilton Press

'Villa offers peaceful stay', 19 March 1997

Kawhia Settler

Kawhia Settler

Sunday Star Times

Sunday Star Times

'Spa town is bubbling with opportunity', 10 July 2005

Te Awamutu Courier

Te Awamutu Courier

23 March 1949; 2 March 1949

Waitomo News

Waitomo News

December 19, 1989

Other Information

A fully referenced registration report is available from the NZHPT Lower Northern Area office.

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.