Horseshoe Bush Estate Site

68 Driver Road, Clarendon

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2126 Date Entered 23rd June 2011


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Lot 2 DP 17125 (CT 144710) Otago Land District, and the buildings and structures on the Horseshoe Bush Estate including the Horseshoe Bush Stable and the Old Stable and their fittings and fixtures, and the homestead site, and a 3 metre curtilage around the buildings and homestead site connected by the formed farm track, and the fittings and fixtures thereon. (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the registration report for further information).

City/District Council

Clutha District


Otago Region

Legal description

Lot 2 DP 17125 (CT 144710) Otago Land District.

Location description

The Stables are located at Clarendon on the Waihola-Allanton section of State Highway One. Driver Road is off Phosphorus Road, 47 kilometres south of Dunedin. Horseshoe Bush Stable: E2278661/N5457598 (+/- 6m: Taken from 3m in front of main stable door). Old Stable: E2278562/N5457902 (+/- 5m: Taken from the farm track at the gable end wall). House site: E2278500/N5457902 (+/- 5m: Taken from raised corner at the east end of the platform).


The Horseshoe Bush Estate Site (the archaeological remnant of an 1860s homestead, an Old Stable from a similar period and handsome substantial Stables dating from 1884) located at Clarendon in Otago, tell the story of the central role horses played in nineteenth century life and provide insight into life on an early pastoral property.

The Horseshoe Bush Estate, named for the shape of the nearby remnant of native bush, was first taken up by members of the prominent Dunedin Valpy family in the 1850s. Sold into the Cumine family and then into the ownership of Dunedin businessman farmer and gentleman Henry Driver, the property remained with the Driver family into the 1970s. Driver was responsible for the construction of the grand Stables made from local stone with brick facings, and carefully detailed timber joinery in the interior. Driver had a lifelong interest in horses and the stables show their importance to both work and leisure and provide insight into their centrality in nineteenth century life.

The Horseshoe Bush Estate Site is located some 50 kilometres south of Dunedin. The property consists of the Homestead site and stables (dating circa 1860s) and the 1884 Horseshoe Bush Stables. The Homestead Site, with its remnant garden plantings – mature trees and daffodils – and building platform nestled in a sheltered valley overlooking the Taieri Plain with the first Stable nearby form the nucleus of the farmstead. Below on the flat land at the base of the hill is the grand 1884 Horseshoe Bush Stable built by Driver.

The Horseshoe Bush Estate Site has archaeological, architectural and historical significance. The Horseshoe Bush Estate Site, with the site of the now demolished homestead with its remnant plantings and building platform, the Old Stables located close by, both dating from prior to 1874, and the 1884 Horseshoe Bush Stables have archaeological value. The Horseshoe Bush Stables (1884) and the Old Stables have architectural significance. The design of the Horseshoe Bush Stables represents the importance and status of horses in the nineteenth century. The Horseshoe Bush Estate Site has historical significance representing the development and later decline of pastoral properties in nineteenth and twentieth century Otago. The Estate’s early history with William Valpy and William Cumine represent the establishment phase of pastoralism. The history with the Driver family from the later nineteenth century into the later twentieth century saw the subdivision of the property and the replacement of horses with motor vehicles making both sets of Stables relics of an equine-centred past.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The Horseshoe Bush Estate Site has historical significance representing the development of pastoral properties in nineteenth and twentieth century Otago. The Estate’s early history with William Valpy and William Cumine represent the establishment phase of pastoralism. The history with the Driver family is centred on the homestead (the house now gone but the site marked by plantings and in ground remnants). These structures formed the nucleus of the Estate. The twentieth century saw the subdivision of the property and the replacement of horses with motor vehicles making both sets of Stables relics of a equine-centred past.

Archaeological Significance or Value

The Horseshoe Bush Estate Site, with the site of the now demolished homestead with its remnant plantings and building platform, the Old Stables located close by, both dating from prior to 1874, and the 1884 Horseshoe Bush Stables have archaeological value. The occupation of the site appears to date from at least the 1860s and could provide further insight into that period through archaeological methods.

Architectural Significance or Value

The Horseshoe Bush Stables (1884) and the Old Stables have architectural significance. The design of the Horseshoe Bush Stables reflects the importance and status of horses in the nineteenth century. The carefully detailed interior with elegantly constructed stalls emphasises the central role of horses. This handsome and substantial building also indicates that aspirations of Driver himself, providing a stable befitting a country gentleman. The more utilitarian and smaller Old Stables provide insight into the early development of pastoral properties and the modest facilities made from local materials that are typical of the early period.

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

The history of the Horseshoe Bush Estate Site represents the early development of pastoralism in Otago, a farmstead made up of a homestead and service buildings such as stables. Its subsequent subdivision into smaller estates is also a representative aspect of Otago’s history. Both sets of Stables on the site represent the importance of horses and horse traffic in nineteenth century New Zealand, and also through their change of use represent the decline in the use of horses and the replacement with motor vehicles.

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

The Horseshoe Bush Estate is associated with three prominent Otago settlers: the Valpy family, William Cumine and Henry Driver. The Horseshoe Bush Stables are associated with prominent businessman Henry Driver, whose family has had the longest association with the property. American born Driver established himself as a horse trader and merchant, stock and station agent. He served on both the Dunedin City Council and the Otago Provincial Council and was a Member of Parliament. Given his lifelong association with horses the Stables are a fitting reminder of his interests.

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

The Waihola Lions were involved in supporting the project to replace the main doors to the Stable showing the community esteem and commitment to the building. The Horseshoe Bush Stables (1884) are featured in Daphne Lemon’s publication More Taieri Buildings which profiles significant buildings in the Taieri area.

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

Driver’s 1884 Horseshoe Bush Stables show fine stonework and carefully crafted timber joinery in the interior. The grand style of the building shows aspiration to a gentrified country life on Driver’s part. The elegantly detailed stalls show the value and importance of the horses that were housed within. The contrast with the small utilitarian Old Stable provides an interesting contrast between function and status in the design of both buildings.


Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

Maori History

The southern end of the Taieri Plains past the large shallow Lake Waihola was a resource rich area and therefore occupied and well known to iwi. The Taieri area was long occupied by Kati Mamoe and Kai Tahu, with the layers of names providing evidence of occupation prior to the 1830s. There were a number of settlements along the Taieri River and Lake Waihola, including Whakaruapuka (near Waihola), Whakarauika and Takaaihitau (both on the Taieri River). There were eeling sites such as Kaokaoiroroa (near Waihola) and Owiti (near Clarendon). The country to the west of what is now known as Waihola and Horseshoe Bush was known as ‘Te Kohao Takawera’ (the parting instructions of Takawera). The many place names testify to the mobile and seasonal occupation of Kai Tahu settlement. Waihola is a name associated with Waitaha, with 'hola' being the Waitaha form of 'hora' meaning flat, spread out or widespread.

For Ngai Tahu the wetlands were one of the ‘most significant food baskets in the Otago region.’ Iwi from coastal settlements (Otago Peninsula, Purakanui, Puketeraki) visited these Waihola to harvest these resources. The importance of the Waihola area to Kai Tahu is recognised in the statutory acknowledgements for the Ngai Tahu settlement. The wetland supported pa close by. There were also ‘many nohoanga (temporary campsites)’ and also permanent or semi-permanent settlements located in a number of locations around the lakes, some on islands in the wetlands system.’ For Ngai Tahu, histories such as these tribal identity and solidarity, and continuity between generations, and document the events which shaped the environment of Te Wai Pounamu and Ngai Tahu as an iwi. Statutory acknowledgements indicate that on the Taieri ‘all places holding the memories, traditions, victories and defeats of Ngai Tahu tupuna.’

The purchase of the Otago Block in 1844 heralded huge changes for Kai Tahu. Patterns of life and settlement places were overwritten by British colonisers. On the Taieri a 2310 acre native reserve (named Onumia) at Maitapapa (Henley) was established on land ‘excepted’ from purchase. One hundred acres at Clarendon on the south side of the Taieri River was designated ‘half caste’ land, but the land was not of good quality and was insufficient to support those to whom it was granted, and only five owners had been granted title, and the land was sold in the 1950s for scenic purposes.

Horseshoe Bush

The resources of the Taieri were considered an attraction for European settlement, the waterways providing good access and communication, and the rich land providing attraction to settlers. The first pastoralist W.H. Valpy (1793-1852), who took up land in the area in the early 1850s, gave the name Horseshoe Bush to this area, after the shape of the only remnant of native bush remaining on the hillside. William’s son William took over the family estate and in September 1853 applied for 60,000 acres which extended westwards from Horseshoe Bush, what became known as Run No. 52. Valpy had large landholdings in Otago and was a significant figure in the early history of the province. The run changed hands twice in 1856, and was taken up by John Hyde Harris in 1856.

In the mid 1860s the Horseshoe Bush run was subdivided, with William Taylor Cumine taking up the Clarendon end as Run 52B. Cumine’s holding at Clarendon became known as the Horseshoe Bush Estate. Cumine died after being kicked by a horse in August 1869. His son William continued working the land after attempts to sell the property were unsuccessful. The Bruce Herald described the 2,000 acre property in 1874. The homestead was ‘embowered in native forest, having a grassy lawn in front, with an orchard covered with blossom behind.’ There was good building stone on the property, a limestone soft enough to saw fresh from the quarry, but which hardened on exposure to the air. The article mentions a stable built partly of that stone on the property. The stone turned a reddish colour on exposure to air. The article also mentions the significant limestone deposits on the land. There is a small stable surviving close to what appears to be a house site (marked by a platform of land with daffodils and mature garden trees) sitting below a patch of bush on the hillside to the north west of the later stable.

By the mid 1870s Cumine’s estate was in financial difficulties and sections of the estate were being sold off. William Cumine’s widow Jane was issued the title to the homestead block on which the House and Stables are located in 1883 and shortly afterward sold the land to Henry Driver. The rest of the Estate had followed a slightly different path into Driver’s ownership. John F. Kitching bought parts of the estate in 1878. Kitching intended to convert the property into a model farm for shorthorn cattle and Clydesdale horses before selling to Driver.

Horseman: Henry Driver

Delaware-born Henry Driver was a significant figure in Otago’s commercial life in the 1860s. Following stint at the Victorian goldfields he came to Dunedin in 1861 and set himself up as a horse trader, and later as a stock and station agent in the firm Driver, Maclean & Co. He was involved in both local and national politics, including Dunedin City Council, the Otago Provincial Council and as a Member of Parliament. He was heavily involved in land speculation, holding freeholded runs at Conical Hills and Waimea Plains, along with the freehold of Horseshoe Bush Estate at Clarendon. Driver took advantage of the lime deposits in the area and in 1883 opened a quarry, building two kilns, and carting lime to the Milburn railway station. A stock and station agent, Henry McLean Driver lived at the homestead and farmed the homestead block. He had a great interest in horses and was one of the founders of the Dunedin Jockey Club.

Horseshoe Bush Stables

Until motor powered vehicles became more widely available around the start of the First World War, rural development was dependent on horses. Draughthorses were used for heavy tasks while light breeds were used for riding or pulling lighter loads. Horses were also important in leisure activities such as horse racing, a love of Driver’s. Looking after horses required appropriate accommodation and staff such as groomsmen. The design of a stable building reflected its function in looking after the horses – with room for feed and tack.

During Driver’s ownership, Horseshoe Bush had two stables. One was the small, stone stable built at some stage prior to Driver purchasing the property and before 1874. Driver used this stable to house horses for family use. The second stable was built by Driver himself to house the larger draught horses and also to provide accommodation for the men who worked on the lime works. According to Daphne Lemon, the Horseshoe Bush Stable was built in 1884 from local building stone. The building took two years to construct and consisted of ‘12 stalls, 2 loose boxes, living quarters for two men, harness and storage rooms.’ A concrete floor was laid over stone. The joinery work was completed by a Mr Littlejohn of Milton, and the stonework by Mr Lothian of Burnside. The effort and expense put into the design and construction of the Horseshoe Bush Stables shows the importance of horses in nineteenth century New Zealand, and also the importance of horses to Driver, whose involvement in things equine was lifelong.

Subsequent History

Driver died at his Dunedin home in January 1893. Following Driver’s death, Horseshoe Bush remained in the ownership of the Driver family. It was subdivided further 1898, reducing the block to 252 acres. From 1946-1967 Driver’s son Henry Morton Driver owned the property.

The farm remained in the Driver family until 1973 when it was sold to Limespring Farm Ltd. Photographs from the mid 1970s show that the south east elevation was previously closed in and was clad with corrugated iron. There were small square multi-pane windows evenly spaced along this wall. The former use as a shearing shed is evident through the trap doors located at the base of the walls. The former shearing area has been removed and both lean-to areas are now open.

Blackhead Quarries Ltd purchased the land in the mid 1990s. During Blackhead Quarries tenure, the Waihola Lions Club oversaw a project to replace the rotting main doors to the Stable with a set of Cedar doors. Blackhead Quarries sold to the current owners in 2004, who are converting the farm to dairying. In 2010 the Horseshoe Bush Stables are currently used for storage, the Old Stables are unused and the elevated house site with its spring showing of daffodils marks the history of the once prominent Horseshoe Bush Estate.

Physical Description


The Horseshoe Bush Estate Site is located outside Clarendon, a small farming settlement 47 kilometres south of Dunedin between Waihola and Milburn. The 1884 Stables sit on the west side of Driver Road at the base of the rolling grassy hills on the now dairy farm. A large modern corrugated iron implement shed is located around five metres to the east of the stables, and is not included in the registration.

House Site and Stables

A farm track winds up the hills to the north west of the 1884 stable, possibly on the line of a closed road which may have led to the Homestead. Some 500m from the 1884 Horseshoe Bush Stable sits a small rectangular stone stable (with stalls still in place). A further 20m or so up the track on the opposite side is a flat area of land with bricks and other building remnants as well as remnant garden plantings indicating the possibility of a residence site. This is a sheltered site with a commanding view.

The stable sits facing into the remains of a small yard hedged on one side by overgrown hawthorn, with some standing timbers remaining which indicate that there was a timber fence surrounding the now swampy yard. A built up modern farm track runs to the west of the building.

The small stable building is rectangular in plan. It is built of stone, with random rubble construction. The roof is timber framed clad in what appears to be recycled corrugated iron (given the visible nail holes). The only openings in the building are a central door flanked by two small square windows. A remnant of the timber stable door remains in the door opening. The windows have neither frames nor glass. The interior of the stable is divided into four roughly constructed stalls. There looks to be some stone cobbling on the floors.

The Horseshoe Bush Stables (1884)

The Stables are constructed of shaped stone, brought to course with a cream-coloured mortar. The building is basically rectangular in plan, with a shallow-pitch single gable roof clad in corrugated iron. The central stable is flanked by two lean-to open storage areas.

The main elevation faces north east. There is a large double sliding door in the north east elevation with an impressive semi-circular fanlight over. The window facings and the building’s decorative ‘quoins’ are red brick. There are two matching windows on either side of the main doors. These have timber frames and are divided into three-lights.

The North West and south east elevations elevation are open with timber knee bracing forming bays and providing an external storage area.

The rear elevation matches the main elevation with its double doors (now unused) and matching windows. The fanlight has been boarded up.


The interior of the stable is rectangular in plan made up of the central stable with the stalls still in situ. Small square rooms have been partitioned off in each corner – comprising of a groom’s room, tack room and two matching rooms with stable doors. The groom’s room and tack room are in the front corners of the stable, with the other two loose boxes in the back corners.

The groom’s room has a set of small bunks constructed of timber and a bench along the opposite wall. The walls and ceiling of the groom’s room is lined with wide tongue and groove timber. The single three-light window (which does not open) is recessed with the recess lined with tongue and groove timber matching the rest of the room. The door is also tongue and groove with strap hinges. The work room (probably the tack room originally) is lined in a similar manner to the groom’s room, with similar door and window opening.

The two rear loose boxes are partially lined with stable doors with strap hinges.

The Stables has a concrete floor. The central passage between the front and rear doors is flanked by six stalls and a loose box on each side. The stalls have a mezzanine above them to hold horse feed. The timber work of the stalls, posts and beams are dressed and carefully detailed. The mangers and feed bins in the stalls are still in place.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
- 1869
First stable constructed

Original Construction
Homestead constructed

Original Construction
1884 -
Horseshoe Bush Stable constructed.

Part of Stables converted for use as shearing shed. Has since been removed

Homestead demolished

2000 -
Main doors on north east elevation replaced with replica Cedar doors.

Construction Details

Stone, timber joinery, corrugated iron cladding, red brick, concrete.

Public NZAA Number


Completion Date

26th May 2011

Report Written By

Heather Bauchop

Information Sources

Beattie, 1979

JH Beattie, The Southern Runs, Gore Historical Society, Invercargill, 1979

Lemon, 1972

Daphne Lemon, More Taieri Buildings with drawings by Audrey Bascand, Dunedin, 1972

Mayhew, 1949

W.R. Mayhew, Tuapeka: The Land and Its People: A Social History of the Borough of Lawrence and its Surrounding Districts, Otago Centennial Historical Publications, Dunedin, 1949

Thomson, 1998

Jane Thomson, (ed)., Southern People: A Dictionary of Otago Southland Biography, Dunedin: Longacre Press/Dunedin City Council, 1998.

Thornton, 1986

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

Sumpter, 1949

D.J. Sumpter and J.J. Lewis, Faith and Toil: The Story of Tokomairiro, Whitcombe and Tombs Ltd, Dunedin, 1949 [Capper Press reprint, 1978]

Mincham, 2008

Carolyn Mincham, ‘A Social and Cultural History of the New Zealand Horse’ PhD History, Massey University, 2008

Other Information

A fully referenced registration report is available from the NZHPT Otago/Southland Area 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.