17 Takahe Terrace, St Leonards, Dunedin
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 2
Private/No Public Access
2nd July 1982
Extent of List Entry
Extent includes the land described as Lot 1 DP 24611 (CT OT16C/534), Otago Land District, and the House thereon.
Lot 1 DP 24611 (CT OT16C/534), Otago Land District
The house at 17 Takahe Terrace, built circa 1915 in the Dunedin harbourside suburb of St Leonards is a good example of a substantial Edwardian residence. The building has historic significance as part of an enclave of houses connected with the Stevenson and Cook families, partners in the engineering firm of Stevenson and Cook - Ship Builders, Engineers and Boilermakers. The building has architectural significance as a fine example of a residential building of the time, built for one of Dunedin’s wealthy families.
Archival information from the Dunedin City Council suggests that 17 Takahe Terrace was built about 1915, at the same time as the house at 15 Takahe Terrace (List No. 2165). The 1914-1915 rates records show an improved value of £1500 pounds in the name of Agnes Fraser. The land was previously part of 16 acres belonging to Agnes’ father, the engineer Isaac Stevenson. Scottish-born Isaac Stevenson (1851-1946) came to New Zealand, via Australia in 1875. Stevenson was a partner in the successful engineering firm Stevenson and Cook, and was an investor in (and dredge builder for) a number of prosperous gold dredging ventures in New Zealand and Victoria, Australia. Stevenson was active in community affairs and served as mayor of Port Chalmers from 1906-1908. Stevenson’s commercial success reputedly enabled him to gift homes to his children upon their marriages, with 17 Takahe Terrace being his wedding gift to Agnes. Agnes Stevenson married produce merchant John Myers Fraser in 1912. Given Isaac Stevenson’s generosity towards two of his other children, Isabella and John, who according to historian Ian Church, were gifted 15 Takahe Terrace (List No. 2165), and a home known as Ardconnell (probably 16 Takahe Terrace) respectively as wedding presents, it seems likely that 17 Takahe Terrace was built as a belated wedding present to the Frasers.
No information has been discovered about the architect or builder of 17 Takahe Terrace. The house is a double fronted, two storied building with a central projecting entrance portico. The ground floor has projecting bay windows with multi-pane toplights, on either side of the entrance portico. The exterior of the house is roughcast. The house, including the projecting bay windows are roofed with clay tiles, whilst the hipped roof to the entrance portico appears to be covered in wooden shingles. A Georgian influence is apparent in the building’s symmetrical design. An Otago Daily Times article from 1996 includes a photograph of the entrance hall interior featuring extensive wood panelling, moulded cornices, and a staircase on the left hand side. Consistent with the Arts and Crafts movement and Edwardian domestic architecture, the hall and stairwell form a high status welcoming space.
A single storey garage has been added on the south side of the house. On the north side there is a sunroom with large arched windows. It is not known whether the sunroom is an addition, or an original part of the building that has since been enclosed. Both the garage and sunroom are recessed from the front elevation of the building, ensuring that the front elevation retains its prominence. The additions match the main house. At the rear of the house and connected to the garage, there is another single storey addition used as a dining room.
Together with Isaac Stevenson’s home ‘Pa Waitaha’ (replaced in 1930 by the building now known as University Lodge, (List entries 2223 and 2224); 15 and 16 Takahe Terrace; and John Cook’s home ‘Aorangi’ (List No. 2139) - 17 Takahe Terrace forms part of a prestigious enclave of homes associated with the Stevenson and Cook families. Together, the group forms a cohesive and attractive grouping of houses built by a pair of Dunedin businessmen who prospered off the back of the Victorian and Otago gold dredging booms. In 2017, 17 Takahe Terrace remains a family home.
12th June 2017
Report Written By
Otago Daily Times
Otago Daily Times
Caroline Martin, ‘Wedding present remains a delightful legacy,’ Otago Daily Times 7 March 1996
Ian Church, ‘Haven at St Leonards: The Story of University Lodge, its background and occupants’, Friends of the Hocken, 2011
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 Otago/Soutland Area Office of Heritage New Zealand.