139 Waimea Road And Tukuka Street, Nelson

  • House, Nelson.
    Copyright: John Warren. Taken By: John Warren. Date: 16/07/2010.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 1590 Date Entered 25th November 1982


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 9 DP 4311 (CT NL5C/363), Nelson Land District, and the building known as House thereon, as shown in the extent map tabled at the Rarangi Korero Committee meeting on 29 September 2016.

City/District Council

Nelson City


Nelson Region

Legal description

Lot 9 DP 4311 (CT NL5C/363), Nelson Land District


The circa 1938 house at 139 Waimea Road has architectural value because it is a representative example of a weatherboard English Cottage style state house from the period, in an area of Nelson characterised by its mid-twentieth century state housing. It has local historic and social importance as one of Nelson’s earliest group of state houses built under the first Labour government’s prolific scheme. It signifies the ideals directing the first Labour government’s social and economic policies as well as the subsequent early 1950s drive by the first National government to begin selling these state assets.

From the 1880s some railway workers were provided government rental properties and in the early twentieth century the first large-scale state housing projects were launched, like those represented in Nelson’s Elliott Street. These were motivated by the belief that good health, quality housing and growing the economy were interrelated. The Great Depression’s economic and social effects intensified the need for state housing. Upon taking office, the first Labour government introduced legislation targeted at improving the living conditions of every citizen. In 1937 Labour began its wide-ranging project of building state homes, ideally using New Zealand or locally sourced materials and the unemployed as labourers.

In September 1937 construction of Nelson’s first state houses under this scheme were approved and the government quickly obtained properties in Waimea Road and surrounding streets. 139 Waimea Road’s section, along with its surrounding 15 house lots, was transferred to the Crown in December 1937 for housing purposes. By mid-1939 over 3000 state houses had been built nationwide and 200 of those were in Nelson.

However, by the late 1940s there was increasing dissatisfaction with the cost of state housing. Labour was defeated in the 1949 election after 14 years in office and from late 1950 the first National government began offering purchase incentives to state house tenants. Many tenants saw no merit in buying their house. However, in 1953, 139 Waimea Road’s new tenants, the Kaywoods, took up the offer. This was a relatively rare decision in Nelson at the time and by 1957 only 23 per cent of the local houses offered had been sold. The Kaywoods owned the property until 1991.

The English Cottage architectural style was the most frequently used for this era of state housing and, as shown at 139 Waimea Road, generally featured a simple format, tiled hipped roofs and casement windows. In 1953 the garage, accessed from Tukuka Street, was constructed. The house, on its elevated corner site, has a terraced front garden and concrete retaining walls fronting Waimea Road and Tukuka Street. The building’s architecture clearly denotes it as an archetypal New Zealand state house of this period, despite some exterior modifications to the front windows and entrance.

There are several state houses on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero (the List) around the country from various periods, including the first Labour government’s First State House in Wellington. The house at 139 Waimea Road, Nelson’s only List entry of this type, is prominent in its streetscape, appears to be well-maintained and is a good example of this era of state housing.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Housing Construction Department

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Housing Construction Department

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1938 -

Additional building added to site
1953 -
Garage constructed

Modifications to the front window and entrance

Completion Date

4th August 2016

Report Written By

Karen Astwood

Information Sources

Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Schrader, Ben, ‘Housing and government - State loans and state houses’, Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand,


The Prow,

Bathgate, Janet, ‘Elliott Street heritage precinct’, The Prow,

Schrader, 2005

Ben Schrader, We call it home: a history of New Zealand state housing. Auckland: Reed, 2005

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.

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Central region Office of Heritage New Zealand