Arowhenua Station Cow Byre

269 Station Road, Temuka

  • Arowhenua Station Cow Byre.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 1954 Date Entered 25th June 2004


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Lot 1 DP 23188 (CT CB3D/1239), Canterbury Land District, and the structure known as Arowhenua Station Cow Byre thereon, and its fittings and fixtures.

City/District Council

Timaru District


Canterbury Region

Legal description

Lot 1 DP 23188 (CT CB3D/1239), Canterbury Land District

Location description

Arowhenua is located near Temuka.


Arowhenua Station was the second run taken up in South Canterbury. Originally consisting of 31,000 acres, it was taken up by Major Alfred Hornbrook in 1853, and managed by his brother William for 10 years. The station cow byre was apparently constructed shortly after the neighbouring woolshed, which was erected in 1854. In 1863 the station was sold to Alfred Cox, then in 1878 to J. T. Ford and Co, from whom it was taken over in 1883 by the Bank of New Zealand. The bank's estate company assumed control in 1890, subdividing the station in 1897. The homestead block containing the cow byre and woolshed was drawn in ballot by Robert McCallum, who in turn sold the block to John Lyon in 1919. The Lyon family still own the property, though it is leased to a neighbouring farmer.

The cow byre is of substantial size but is a simple structure providing basic shelter and facilities for hand milking the cows. The floor was "cobbled" with river stones set into the earth to provide a reasonably clean and firm surface. It may have initially been simply a fenced and roofed set of bails and then the rear wall was later clad with split slabs of timber to provide greater enclosure, or the slabs may have been added at the time of construction. Later, as the slabs decayed, corrugated iron sheets were used to clad the rear walls. For many years the building has just been used for storage.

Because of its age and the rarity of this type of farm building, the Arowhenua Station cow byre is an historic building in its own right. However, it also gains from its physical and historical associations with the nearby station woolshed (Category II), one of the oldest in New Zealand.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The Arowhenua Cow Byre has historical value because it is one of the oldest remaining cow byres in New Zealand and because of its associations with this very early South Canterbury property.

It is of technological significance in the construction techniques which were used.

(a) an early extant example of a cow byre representing the establishment of pastoralism in South Canterbury by one of the first settlers. The size of the byre indicates the number of cows being milked to supply the needs of the work force on this large property.

(g) The system of construction is of value in illustrating methods and materials used by the first settlers.

(i) Cow byres dating from the 1850s are rare survivors.

(k) The cow byre forms part of an historical complex with the adjacent woolshed (Cat.II)


Construction Professionalsopen/close


No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

The cow byre is an L shaped building with one wing extending from the side of the woolshed. It has a simple lean-to roof and is enclosed only along the rear and at each end. Constructed of pit sawn timber milled on the property, it was built initially with just a post and rail wall and then with vertical slabs of timber added to provide greater weather protection. Evidence of the floor laid with river stones can still be seen in some sections. The old bails were still evident some 20 years ago but the building is now in very poor condition with much of the timber decayed or collapsing.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1854 -

Construction Details

Timber with a corrugated iron roof.

Completion Date

2nd September 2004

Report Written By

Pam Wilson

Information Sources

Wilson, 1991 (2)

J. Wilson, South Canterbury historical guide : including the towns of Timaru, Temuka, Geraldine, Pleasant Point, Fairlie and Waimate, their surrounding country districts, and the Mackenzie Country, Timaru, 1991.

p. 22.

Thornton, 1986

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

Thornton, 1982

Geoffrey G. Thornton, New Zealand's Industrial Heritage, A.H. & A.W. Reed, Wellington, 1982

pp. 49-50.

Other Information

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