The Grange

276 Whakarewa Street, Motueka

  • The Grange.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Robert McClean. Date: 1/01/2003.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 1668 Date Entered 24th June 2005


Extent of List Entry

Registration includes the land comprised in Lot 1 DP 9672 (CT NL5B/222), Nelson Land District, and the building and its fixtures thereon.

City/District Council

Tasman District


Tasman Region

Legal description

Lot 1 DP 9672 (CT NL5B/222), Nelson Land District


Located in near the High Street in Motueka, the Greenwood Homestead was home to three generations of the pioneering Greenwood family from the early 1860s to early 1890s.

Doctor John Danforth and Sarah Greenwood (1809?-1889) were esteemed figures in the early history of the Motueka district. The family arrived in Nelson from England aboard the 'Phoebe' in 1843. On arrival the Greenwoods discovered that their balloted town section was a swamp. While Sarah and the younger children stayed in Nelson, John Danforth and the three eldest boys cleared and drained 50 acres, and build a log house at Motueka. In early letters Sarah reported her progress in house cleaning and cookery and enclosed her first drawings of Nelson. Later she wrote of moving into the new house (which lacked a staircase, chimney and kitchen stove), and of eating home-grown potatoes and eggs, and selling milk and butter.

According to Janet Paul, the Greenwoods 'had little capital but brought integrity, energy, an active social conscience and a civilising culture to their new country'. John Danforth Greenwood became a justice of the peace and magistrate. He gave medical assistance to the Maori at Motueka and served as Motueka's first doctor. He also worked in education and served in the House of Representatives. Sarah Greenwood, a notable artist, painted her finest landscape, 'Dr Greenwood's house in Motueka' in 1852.

From 1866 to 1871, Sarah Greenwood and her eldest daughters ran 'Woodlands House', a boarding school for girls in Bridge Street, Nelson. In 1872 she painted the Greenwood Homestead in a painting entitled 'The Grange'.

The Greenwood's second eldest son Frederick Greenwood established a farm about two miles from Woodlands in the late 1850s. In 1863 the Greenwood Homestead was constructed on the property. Frederick married Clara Maria in 1864 and the Homestead became their family home, with six children being born there between 1865 and 1877. John Danforth and Sarah moved to the Homestead in 1871/1872 and lived there for nearly twenty years.

The Greenwood Homestead is a two-storey home consisting of two main sections that have since been joined by a connecting annexe. Various features of the house are reminiscent of the Colonial Georgian style of architecture such as the symmetrical design, small paned windows, verandahs, timber columns and separate kitchen building. The front section of the Homestead has seven rooms - four downstairs and three upstairs. The windows in the upstairs rooms are a type of casement window with small panes that were popular at the time and the interior joinery is interlocking. The Homestead has concrete and brick foundations and was clad in weatherboards. The use of such materials would have made the Greenwood Homestead a very modern home at the time of its construction and have ensured its survival to this day.

The Greenwood family lived in the Homestead until 1891, when concerns about possible damage to the property through flooding prompted them to sell. Frederick and his family moved to New Plymouth, and John Stuart Wratt became the new owner of the property. The property remained within the Wratt family until 1976 when it was bought by the current owners, Mr and Mrs M.J. Whittaker. One of the conditions of the sale was that the Homestead was not to be structurally altered externally and that no trees were to be removed without the permission of the Waimea County Council or its appointed authority.

A 1976 valuation report on the Homestead noted that one of the downstairs rooms is carpeted and has been used as a lounge while the rest would be suitable as double bedrooms. This report also notes that all three of the upstairs rooms have been used as bedrooms. A verandah runs along the front of this section, and has trellising at each end. The rear section has a large kitchen on the ground floor with three storerooms opening off it. Upstairs is a single room suitable for use as a study, workroom or bedroom. At the time that the valuation report was written, the bathroom/toilet was located at the back of the rear section, with access from the totara beam veranda. This room is now used as an office. There have been few internal alterations to the Greenwood Homestead over the years, but a recent site visit revealed that the bathroom/toilet is now located within the main home and its former location off the back veranda is currently used as a laundry.

The Greenwood Homestead has historical and social significance as it dates to the early period of settlement in the Motueka District, and is associated with the Greenwood family who were pioneers in the truest sense. The Greenwood Homestead is also associated with the Wratt family from 1891. The Wratts took considerable care to preserve the building in close to its original condition. The Homestead is architecturally significant because of its two-section design and the use of concrete as a domestic building material.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The Greenwood Homestead has historical and social significance through its association with the Greenwood family - pioneers and prominent social figures in early Motueka life, and later with the Wratt family, who resided in the Homestead from 1891.

The Greenwood Homestead was built in the Colonial Georgian style and is architecturally significant as it was designed in two separate double-storied sections and has concrete and brick foundations. There is evidence that concrete was first imported into New Zealand as early as 1843 and although there are various examples of concrete structures dating to the 1850s and 1860s, including domestic buildings, it was still an experimental building material at this stage. It has been stated, however, that the early settlers seemed ready to experiment with new possibilities in their new environment.

(b) 'The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history'

The Greenwood Homestead is associated with the Greenwood family, well-known pioneers who arrived in Motueka in 1843 and became heavily involved in community and provincial affairs. It is also associated with the Wratt family, who arrived in Motueka in 1870 and lived in the Homstead from 1891. The Wratt family preserved the homestead in close to its original condition and provided for its preservation on the sale of the property in the 1970s.

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

This house has a unique architectural design and is an example of the early use of concrete as a domestic building material. The roofing of the Homestead is unusual in that it is part iron, and part iron on shingle - in some areas the corrugated iron was placed directly over the original roofing shingles.

(i)'The importance of identifying places known to date from early periods of New Zealand settlement'

Constructed circa 1863, the Greenwood Homestead dates to an early period of settlement in the Motueka district. It is in close to its original condition and its setting remains largely unaltered.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Greenwood Family

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

Located approximately two and a half kilometres from High Street in Motueka, the Greenwood Homestead is situated amongst a number of native trees and historic oak trees, which were planted shortly after the construction of the house. The Homestead is two-storeyed and was originally divided into two separate sections that are now joined by a connecting annexe. Each section is double storied. There are four rooms on the ground floor of the front section, and three rooms on the first floor. The ground floor of the rear section consists of a large kitchen with three storerooms whilst the first floor has a small room only. Bathroom and toilet facilities were formerly accessed from the covered veranda at the rear of the back section. This veranda is supported by round totara beams that date to the time of construction. A second veranda runs along the face of the front section.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1863 -

Part of dwelling re-roofed in corrugated iron.

1980 -
Internal walls and ceilings lined with gib-board.

2004 -
Front verandah repaired.

Construction Details

The Greenwood Homestead is constructed from timber on foundations of concrete and brick. The roof was originally made from shingles, but part of the building was re-roofed in the mid 1970s with corrugated iron. The roof is now iron with part iron on shingle. The framework of the front section of the Homestead is pegged mortice and tenon, while the earlier, two storied section is made from vertical boards and cover battens. The exterior walls of the house are weatherboard. The interior joinery is interlocking and many of the windows are casement windows.

Completion Date

15th February 2005

Report Written By

J. Wylie.

Information Sources

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

J. Paul, 'Greenwood, Sarah 1809? - 1889', updated 16 December 2003. URL:

Munro, 1999

I. Munro, (ed), Back Then...Threads from Motueka's Past. Motueka High School, 1999.

Lash, 1992

Lash, Max D., Nelson Notables 1840-1940: A Dictionary of Regional Biography, Nelson, 1992

Other Information

A fully referenced version of this report is available from the NZHPT Central Region 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.