20 Mckenna Street, Masterton

  • House, 20 McKenna Street, Masterton. CC Licence 2.0 Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Bruce Kirk. Taken By: Bruce Kirk. Date: 13/05/2014.
  • House, 20 McKenna Street, Masterton. Image included in Field Record Form Collection.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Sarah Wall. Date: 14/04/1989.
  • House, 20 McKenna Street, Masterton. Image included in Field Record Form Collection.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Sarah Hall. Date: 14/04/1989.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 1317 Date Entered 23rd June 1983


City/District Council

Masterton District


Wellington Region

Legal description

Pt Lot 2 DP 49765


Awamaru is an unusually fine example of an Edwardian Bay Villa. It is one of the few remaining houses of this size and age remaining in central Masterton. It is also unique in that the house's setting includes the only remnant of the original native bush in the Masterton urban area. The house was built by long time Masterton resident Frederick King and his son William Dallenger King in about 1904, on land previously owned by Arthur Rigby Bunny, the one time Borough Solicitor for Masterton and second son of Henry Bunny. The King family named the house Barnstone Lodge (and also by local people as the 'Big House') and was the family home until 1916. In that year the house was bought by William Howard Booth, a Carterton run holder, local body politician, business leader and sporting enthusiast. Howard bought the house for his mother, Euphemia, and sister. The Booths owned the house between the years 1916-1945, during which time William King returned to live in the house as caretaker. In 1945 the house was sold to Dora Garland, the wife of Frederick Ralph Garland, stock and station agent and farmer. Frederick Garland later became the managing director of the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Co. Ltd., and then the first managing director of Dalgety New Zealand Ltd., following its merger with the latter. In 1970 the house was sold to William Sproat, a Masterton farmer. His wife, Elizabeth (Alma) Sproat, was a local borough councillor from 1977-1984. The house was sold in 1981. Since then the house has had number of owners. In terms of its architecture, setting, and history, Awamaru has great local significance.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Awamaru is a house of great significance to the town of Masterton and the Wairarapa region as a whole. It is important primarily because of its association with several notable local residents, among them: Arthur Bunny, Masterton's first borough solicitor, who bought the land the house now occupies in 1890 and established the setting of the property as it appears today; Frederick King, a successful building contractor, who built the house in 1904 and lived in it with his family until 1916; William Howard Booth, Carterton mill owner, local body politician, business leader and sporting enthusiast, who bought the house for his mother Euphemia and sister; William King, son of Frederick who renewed the family's direct interest in the house when he became caretaker of the property for Booth from 1935-1945; Frederick Garland, stock and station agent and farmer, who later became the managing director of New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency and then the first managing director of Dalgety New Zealand Ltd. after its merger with the former, and who lived in the house with his wife Dora (whose name appears on the Certificate of Title) from 1945-1970; and Alma Sproat, a local borough councillor (1977-1984).

Architecturally Awamaru is a remarkable building. It is an unusually fine example of Edwardian Bay Villa, featuring four bay windows. Internally the house has many fine spaces with original features and fittings. Awamaru is probably the finest remaining example of King and Son's domestic work, and is therefore locally relatively unique in terms of construction technology and architecture. Awamaru sits well on a large property, within a setting of native bush and garden.

Awamaru and Garland's Bush, now a reserve, are so linked historically that they have become a merged entity in the public mind. It is the logical conclusion of 100 years of shared history and as a result of recent protests at its proposed removal the house has now become a local cultural icon.

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

To a modest extent this house, through its many different occupants, represents the role of the agricultural service centre in rural New Zealand.

(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in NZ history:

The house has been owned or occupied by a number of key local identities who have played a considerable role in the life of Masterton and wider Wairarapa district. The most nationally significant is probably Frederick Garland, who in 1961 oversaw the amalgamation of New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Co. and Dalgety Ltd., which created the biggest rural service company in New Zealand at that time.

(c) The potential of the place to provide knowledge of NZ history:

As use of this property stretches back to the 19th century it is possible that it might offer up information about the past use of the land.

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

While it is certainly true that the public's appreciation of the house has risen sharply in recent times as a result of the publicity surrounding the proposal to remove it, the house has long been acknowledged as a dwelling of some status in the community.

(f) The potential of the place for public education:

The house's age and integrity and its associated outbuildings and setting within central Masterton offer a unique opportunity for the public to appreciate domestic living from an earlier era. In the recent past school parties have visited the house.

(g) The technical accomplishment or value, or design of the place:

This is an unusually fine house. The arrangement of four bay windows, the elegant ogee dome and the sheer variety of decoration and detailing mark this as a house of rare distinction. The house is also beautifully designed, making great use of its marvellous setting and incorporating a verandah and porches as a response to the region's hot summer.

(j) The importance of identifying rare types of historic places:

Although not rare nationally this house is without a doubt rare in Masterton. There are relatively few houses of any this age and distinction, even within the district, and almost none in the town, that remain on their original site.

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

Awamaru is inextricably associated, in the minds of locals, with the remnant bush that surrounds the house. This bush was left intact by successive owners and in the ensuing 100 years the house and its associated setting (trees, grass and stream) have become synonymous. The bush and garden have virtually prevented any other cultural feature to impinge on the setting thereby ensuring that the experience of the complex remains nearly unaffected by progress, despite its proximity to central Masterton. The setting is therefore unique in the town and is seen as such by local people.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

King, Frederick

Frederick William King was born in Essex, England, in c.1852. He immigrated to New Zealand in c. 1876. King settled in Masterton where he helped to construct many of the town buildings through his association with Messrs. Brown and Rodgers, building contractors, and, later, with Arthur Cleghorn, building contractor. During the 1890s King went into partnership with Michael Williams. When Williams died in the construction of the Wairarapa Farmers Commercial Association building in 1897, King completed the commission for the internal woodwork. For most of the next 31 years King established a construction business with his son, William Dallenger King. During this time he was also employed by Messrs C E Daniell. Frederick King was responsible for a number of major buildings in Masterton including the Courthouse (1908), the Fire Brigade Station (1910), and J L Murray's block of buildings. As well as building Barnstone Lodge (Awamaru/Awamanu), the family home until 1916, King also built a house for Walter Perry and at least 3 houses in Worksop Road. He retired in 1920 and died in Masterton on 26 May 1933.

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

Awamaru is a single-storey Edwardian Bay Villa. It has four bay windows, a verandah, and porches at both the entry and service area. Both its principal bay windows are angled bays, one rectangular in plan with a pitched, pedimented roof, the other onion turreted in Queen Anne style over a quadriparitite bay. Internally the main rooms are enhanced by the articulation of their windows, giving good views to the garden and beyond. The principal bedrooms, family room and lounge have a 4.2 metre stud, and a number of original features and finishes can be found in these rooms. There is also a meat cellar.

The house is sited on a very large section. There are three accessory buildings (including a coach house/stables) and large gates. Elsewhere on the grounds there are mature and historic native trees (a principal feature of the grounds is a kahikatea, estimated to be over 600 years old), mature exotics trees and regenerating native bush.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1903 -

Two rooms combined, and hall opened out into dining area

Completion Date

24th August 2001

Report Written By

Helen McCracken

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.