Matapiro Station Homestead

Matapiro Station, 895-905 Matapiro Road, Crownthorpe

  • Matapiro Station Homestead. Original image submitted at time of registration.
    Copyright: NZHPT Field Record Form Collection. Taken By: J Gatley. Date: 18/10/1989.
  • Matapiro Station Homestead. Original image submitted at time of registration.
    Copyright: NZHPT Field Record Form Collection. Taken By: J Catley. Date: 18/10/1989.
  • Matapiro Station Homestead interior. Window and coal range. Original image submitted at time of registration.
    Copyright: NZHPT Field Record Form Collection. Taken By: J Gatley. Date: 18/10/1989.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 171 Date Entered 28th June 1990


City/District Council

Hastings District


Hawke's Bay Region

Legal description

Pt Lot 3 DP 103 (CT HB137/193), Hawke’s Bay Land District


The Matapiro Station land was owned by Ngati Upokoiri who sold the leasehold to a succession of European settlers from 1858 until 1875 when Frederick D. Rich and Walter Shrimpton took up the run. Within a short time Shrimpton had bought out Rich.

Shrimpton emigrated to New Zealand from England in 1853. He first purchased an estate in Otago, selling it five years later. He went to Hawkes Bay in 1872 where he was employed as a land valuer.

Shrimpton was the first to bring hares and greyhounds to Hawkes Bay and in 1876 he brought red deer from the South Island to Matapiro. The herd thrived but eventually had to be exterminated because they menaced plantations and crops.

Shrimpton was chairman of the Hawkes Bay County Council (1896-1926) and of the Hawkes Bay Hospital Board (1909-34). About 1910 he donated funds to the Napier Hospital for the establishment of the Shrimpton Children's Ward. This was in memory of his son who died at the age of six.

The first homestead at Matapiro Station was built near the river in 1878 on what is now the Omapere property. In 1886 it was sledged up the river and still exists as part of the manager's house and single men's quarters. In the 1880s the present site was chosen for the erection of a new homestead, near the site of the old Te Whakairo carved house. Early photographs show a large single storeyed house set on a terrace. In 1902 Shrimpton decided to enlarge the house. The work was undertaken to the design of C.T. Natusch in stages over the next eight years.

Shrimpton died in 1936. He was survived by his second wife, Edith, who continued to live at the homestead until her death in 1953. It has remained unoccupied since this time, due to high maintenance costs. A husband and wife team are employed to maintain the homestead and garden, living in the servants' quarters. The station and homestead remain in the hands of Shrimpton's family.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Matapiro Station, purchased by Walter Shrimpton in 1875, and the homestead erected by Shrimpton in the 1880s, have a long association with this prominent Hawkes Bay citizen and his family in whose hands the station and homestead remain.


C.T. Natusch was responsible for the design of many large homesteads in Hawkes Bay, Rangitiki, Manawatu and Wanganui. In general they exhibit Elizabethan characteristics such as steep gables, half-timbering, and bay windows, and were large, grand houses.

Matapiro Station Homestead is a fine example of Natusch's work. Its final form is the result of substantial additions to an earlier house but it is nevertheless a satisfying, stylistic whole. It is indicative of the scale of housing affordable by station owners in Victorian and Edwardian times. As usual with Natusch, a high standard of finishing work has been obtained.


Sited on a terrace south of Matapiro Road, the house has been somewhat obscured by trees but tree losses during recent droughts have rendered it clearly visible from the road. Complemented by a diverse group of buildings some 300 metres to the east, the house is

part of a fine complex as well as having considerable landmark quality.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Natusch, C.T. & Sons

Charles Tilleard Natusch (1859-1951) completed his architectural studies in England in 1882, after which he travelled in the United States and Canada. He returned to England in 1883 to become involved in the town planning and development of Southend-on-Sea. He immigrated to New Zealand in 1886 and after a short collaboration with Atkins & Clere, established a practice in Wellington as an architect and quantity surveyor. He then moved to Masterton, Pahiatua and finally to Napier, where he bought the architectural practice of Robert Lamb. From 1908 Natusch worked with his three sons, Aleck, Rene and Stanley. The firm received many domestic commissions from the farming community. Its well known houses include Bushy Park (Kai Iwi), Gwavas (Tikokino), Matapiro (Napier), Maungaraupi (Marton) and Wharerata (Massey University). Following several changes of name and three generations of Natusch architects, the family practice continues today as Natusch Partnership in Napier.

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description


1880s portion unknown.

1902-10 additions Charles Tilleard NATUSCH (1859-1952)


Matapiro Station Homestead is a large, two-storeyed house exhibiting an Elizabethan influence.

The front facade faces north and has deep verandahs at ground and first floor level. The formal balustrades shade and disguise the informal arrangement of doors and windows behind them. At either end of the first floor verandah is a small gable and these are flanked by larger gables at ground floor level. These large gables have three light bay windows projecting from the main line of the facade. The large rooms within have a stud height greater than elsewhere in the house.

The four gable ends are decorated with half-timbering in a variety of designs and it is predominantly this element which gives the house its Elizabethan character. The other three facades are less elaborate but retain the decorative gable ends.

The interior has extensive wood panelling in the dining room, hallways and stairwell. Carefully detailed balustrading and newel posts on the stairs are complemented by coloured leadlights which give an Art Nouveau touch to the decoration. The south wing contains the servants' quarters and service rooms and such items as the original cool range are still in place. This wing is now the only part of the house occupied.


Originally the house was single-storeyed. Additions, 1902-10, include:

- Two large gables flanking the north facade,

- The south wing,

- The entire first floor.

The right hand section of the ground floor verandah has been closed in to form a vestibule. This too was possibly done in the 1902-10 period.

Notable Features

Decorative half-timbering in gable ends.

Extensive wood panelling and use of leadlights.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1880 - 1890

1902 - 1910
Originally the house was single-storied. Additions include: Two large gables flanking the north façade, the south wing and the entire first floor.

Construction Details

Timber frame clad with rusticated weatherboards. Corrugated iron roof.

Information Sources

Fowler, 1971

M Fowler, Country Houses of New Zealand. A H and A W Reed, 1971.

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ)

Land Information New Zealand

CT 137/193

MacGregor, 1970

Miriam MacGregor, Early Stations of Hawkes Bay. A.H. & A.W. Reed. Wellington. 1970

New Zealand Listener

New Zealander Listener

'A Stately Homestead', 16 January 1982, pp13-15

Scholefield, 1940

G. H. Scholefield, A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, 1940

Thornton, 1986

Geoffrey Thornton, The New Zealand Heritage of Farm Buildings, Auckland, 1986

Castle, 1980

John Castle & Sydney Grant, Hawkes Bay Heritage, Collins, Auckland, 1980

Hodgson, 1979

Terence Hodgson, E.R., Charles Tilleard Natusch, A Folio of Houses, Eastgate, 1979

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.