Waihemo Grange

1453 Dunback-Morrisons Road, Dunback, Palmerston

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2407 Date Entered 15th April 2011


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Pt Sec 39 Blk IV, Dunback SD (CT OT17B/1095) Otago Land District and the building known as Waihemo Grange and its fittings and fixtures thereon, with a 10m curtilage around the building. (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the registration report for further information).

City/District Council

Waitaki District


Otago Region

Legal description

Pt Sec 39 Blk IV, Dunback SD (CT OT17B/1095) Otago Land District


Waihemo Grange, located on the Pigroot (State Highway 85) inland of Palmerston, was built in the early 1860s and is an early Otago station homestead. The Grange was built as the homestead for Run 109 which was first taken up in 1857. The property saw two leaseholders before ownership was transferred to the partnership of Thomas Rowley, Captain Hamilton and Frederick Wayne in 1862.

Frederick Wayne lived on Run 109 while Thomas Rowley and Captain Hamilton remained on their other property Run 204. This partnership, with Wayne the driving force, built the Waihemo Grange homestead between January 1862 and November 1864. In 1874 the property was sold to Englishman Lieutenant Colonel Henry Horatio Kitchener, who sent his nephew (Captain Henry Kitchener) to manage The Grange Estate. After a family tragedy, a fire in their Dunedin residence which resulted in the death of five family members, including Captain Henry, Lieutenant Colonel Kitchener sent his son to manage The Waihemo Grange Estate. In 1895 the property was subdivided and sold to Malcolm McKellar, the former manager of Robert Campbell’s Otekaieke Estate, but illness meant that his son William took over the management. On Malcolm McKellar’s death in 1899 the executors sold the Estate to farmer James Chapman, a stewardship was to last forty years, where Chapman and his wife Grace were central figures in the small rural community.

Successive owners contributed their own improvements to the Grange. It was said the Grange was in its prime during Kitchener’s occupancy. Arthur Kitchener was also responsible for the beautiful landscaping around the homestead and driveway. Later owners completed the two east end attics and closed in a rear veranda making a wide back hall with two windows in it. The most extensive renovations occurred when the Ralph and Miriam Pile bought the house in 1964. The Grange remained empty for two years while renovations were carried out to the interior, although the exterior was left as original as possible. More than a century after the house was built; the upper level was finally given proper staircase access.

Architecturally and aesthetically Waihemo Grange is an admirable example of a colonial station homestead in a mature garden setting. The Grange is a substantial stone structure of over 2,000 square feet (208 square metres) with contrasting limestone quoins and lintels. Dormer windows and a wide veranda add to its appeal. Historically, Waihemo Grange is an early example of a pastoral homestead. The homestead represents the courage and optimism which characterised early runholders; as well as the financial difficulties which could ruin them. The early owners of The Grange were prominent individuals who represented the communities in local and national politics and the property provides a little known link to the internationally renowned Kitchener family.

In 2010 still standing in its mature garden setting in Waihemo Valley at the base of the Kakanui Mountains overlooking the Shag River Waihemo Grange is a significant private residence providing insight into a gentlemanly life and aspirations on a nineteenth century pastoral station.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The Grange was the centre of large run holding from the early 1860s. It represents the optimistic expectations of the run owners and their long term business aspirations. As the Grange’s attic floor was not completed by Wayne, it also represents the tenuous nature of colonial business enterprises and the financial hardships which could suddenly occur. The Grange later became the home of several significant individuals who represented their communities in local and national politics. Indeed the Kitchener family, who owned the Grange for over twenty years, are renowned internationally. The Grange is therefore representative of the history of pastoralism in Otago. The early partnership of Hamilton, Rowley and Wayne, like many other early pastoral settlers, opened up the land enabling it to be used for future development. It is one of the earliest runs in this area, and provides special insight into both local and national history.

Aesthetic Significance or Value:

Waihemo Grange has considerable visual appeal. Its setting is lush and picturesque, while the soft grey schist stone is dramatically contrasted with white stone quoins. The visual impression is of a solid colonial homestead. The design is simple but appealing, particularly the wide veranda.

Architectural Significance or Value:

Waihemo Grange is a good example of a gentleman’s station residence, reflecting the aspirations of a Victorian runholder. The homestead is architecturally significant for its uses vernacular materials with local schist and limestone used in its construction. This materials and design reflect its Victorian period. While the interior has been modified to meet changing needs, the exterior is remarkably original.

Archaeological Significance:

The Waihemo Grange estate has seen almost 150 years of continuous occupation and farming. In 1895 the property not only included the stone homestead, but an overseer’s house, men’s hut, wooden stable, barn, wash-house, stove, and machine-shed. It is unclear what remains of these outbuildings, but if they have since been demolished archaeological investigations could prove revealing.

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

Waihemo Grange represents the experiences of settler’s aspiring to a gentlemanly lifestyle in nineteenth century New Zealand and the important role of the early run holders in establishing pastoralism, the backbone of New Zealand’s economy. Using the resources available to them, they made their mark on the landscape and built remarkably impressive homes designed to reflect their status. The optimism of these early settlers is evident in their large solid constructions. These men were determined to found solid agricultural businesses as a basis for not only their own prosperity but the fledgling colony of New Zealand.

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

Waihemo Grange is associated with several noted early colonialists: Frederick Wayne, the Rowley Brothers and Captain Hamilton. Captain Hamilton’s name was enshrined in the annals of the early 1860s gold field, Hamiltons Diggings. Waynestown, close to Waihemo Grange, was named for Frederick Wayne. Later owners, members of the Kitchener family were also notable. Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Horatio Kitchener, father of the famous Lord Horatio Herbert Kitchener, owned Waihemo Grange for a significant period. Although an absentee landowner, his son Arthur brought the Grange into its heyday. Twentieth century owners, the Chapmans, are remembered as central to the small community with Grace Chapman’s role commemorated by the nearby reserve.

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

Inland Otago saw the creation of large runs in the 1850s. Run 109 was first taken up in 1857 and passed through the hands of two owners before Hamilton, Rowley and Wayne took ownership in 1862. It is remarkable that by 1863, the impressive Grange homestead stood firm on the landscape. The Grange, therefore, dates from the first years of European occupation of this area of Otago.

(k)The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape

Waihemo Grange forms a significant component of the extant inland Otago historic and cultural landscape. It is one of a small number of remaining buildings dating from the first years of pastoralism in the region, and exemplifies local building material and a vernacular design. Amongst such buildings, the Grange is outstanding for its early date of construction, its unmodified vernacular architectural integrity on the exterior, and the excellent preservation measures of continuous owners. This has ensured the Grange remains a valuable and tangible component of Otago’s history.

Summary of Significance or Values

This place was assessed against, and found it to qualify under the following criteria: a, b, i, and k.


It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category II historic place.


Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative


Traces of human occupation in Murihiku can be dated back to around 1250-1300. The first Polynesian arrivals in New Zealand soon found their way early to the eastern and southern South Island, where moa were found in large numbers. By the time of European settlement, however, moa were extinct and Maori were clustered on the coast. Key coastal settlements were at Shag Point, Waikouaiti, and Huriawa. They identified themselves as Ngai Tahu, and also with that tribe’s predecessors, Ngati Mamoe and Waitaha.

Circular depressions revealing the presence of Maori umu can be seen inland in the Waihemo area. This was part of a well used route to inland Otago, a rich source of moa and greenstone. Archaeology indicates, however, that these sites were occupied only temporarily. Indeed it has been suggested that from the mid 1830s there were no permanent Maori settlements in inland Otago. There are no recorded Maori archaeological sites on the land on which Waihemo Grange sits.

Pastoralism in Otago

The history of pastoral runs dates to the early years of European settlement in Otago. The Waste Lands Board was established in 1853 to allocate pastoral runs in the country outside the original Otago Block. After leases were allocated, freehold title to a homestead block, known as a pre-emptive right, could be applied for. Most runholders stocked their land with sheep, although a few also ran cattle.

Run 109

[Run] No. 109 is another run with a somewhat torturous (or tortured!) record.

Run 109, on which Waihemo Grange was later built, extended from the Shag River in a south-westerly direction to just south of what is now Macraes Flat. James M. Saunders was the first to apply for Run 109 in mid 1855. The Chief Commissioner issued a notice in April 1856, however, that the terms of the ordinance and regulations had not been complied with for several runs, including Run 109, and they were once more open for application. A subsequent application was accepted from Charles Hopkinson (c.1813-1900), on 14 May 1857, the lease granted for fourteen years. He was described as ‘a genial Swede who left his mark on the runholding annals of Otago’. Arriving in New Zealand in 1840, he pioneered work on Run 109 and by 1860 also leased Runs 250 and 121. It is generally agreed that Macraes Flat was named after one of Hopkinson’s shepherds, John Macrae.

On 5 April 1859, Run 109 was transferred to Captain Thomas Fraser (1809-1891). Fraser also secured Run 207 which gave Waihemo Grange a firm back boundary on the north branch of the Waianakarua River. Fraser played a significant role in Otago’s political life: from 1860-1863 he was a member of the House of Representatives; in 1868 he was deputy-superintendent for James Macandrew and from 1870-1891 he was a member of the Legislative Council.

The partnership of Rowley, Hamilton and Wayne

On 20 January 1862 Fraser sold Run 109, with 7,199 sheep, to the partnership of Thomas and John Cotton Rowley. This same year Johnny Jones, the famous early Otago identity, took up the pastoral leases that later made up Shag Valley Station. This places Run 109 at the forefront of European settlement of the Waihemo district.

The Rowley brothers formed a partnership with Captain James Hamilton and Frederick Wayne. Hamilton and Wayne were ‘…men of good birth and good education’. Captain James Hamilton (?-1892) was one of Otago’s earliest settlers and a ‘man who was always to the front in good works and kindly actions’.

John Cotton Rowley (c.1840-1886) the son of a Shropshire rector came to New Zealand in 1858 at the age of 18. His brother, Thomas (c.1825-1905), was already in New Zealand looking after their father’s purchases in Canterbury. Thomas began investing in sheep stations from 1853. When Thomas took up the Sowburn Run late in 1857 John helped establish that run. The brothers also owned interests in Mt Possession, Sandy Knolls and Alford Stations.

Frederick Wayne, born on 1 April 1834 in Derbyshire, England, was a neighbour of the Rowley family. He attended Bridgnorth School where Rowley’s father, a fervent admirer of immigration to New Zealand, was headmaster. After studying at Cambridge University, Wayne attended the School of Mines, London. He then joined Colonel Henry Horatio Kitchener as partners in Kerry Estate, Ireland. His attentions turned to New Zealand and on 1 January 1860 he landed in Lyttelton. On 27 August 1863 he married Agatha Elizabeth Barker with whom he had six children. He was a member of the House of Representatives from 1863-1866 and the first to represent the North Otago constituency of Hampden.

Run 204 (known as Hamiltons) at the northern end of the Rock and Pillar Range, was taken up by Thomas Rowley on 4 April 1859. The partnership officially began on 7 June 1860 when he transferred the Run 204 to Rowley, Hamilton and Wayne. The acquisition of Run 109 followed in 1862.

The Waihemo Grange

Wayne was encouraged to live on Run 109. Hamilton and Rowley lived on Run 204 as ‘few could live with Wayne’. Thomas wrote to his brother:

I always considered he [Wayne] was a man without his proper amount of ballast, but then I thought with Hamilton at his back he would not be able to capsize. Wayne once said that Hamilton and I could have done nothing without him [,] in fact that the brains of the firm were centred in the cranium of F. Wayne. I can easily imagine your not being able to live with Wayne. I could not myself from the few days I have had the pleasure of being with him (for one would not always like to be second fiddle especially when you are better taught and had more experience than the self-made first fiddle).

Wayne required a residence, and apparently a grand one befitting his status as a runholder. Secondary sources generally refer to the Grange as Wayne’s property and certainly he instigated the project. Yet it appears that the other partners felt more ownership of the Grange than hitherto recognised. They owned the land in partnership, and Thomas’ letters indicate that the partners were worried about Wayne’s financial excesses. While they do not specifically state that the excessive spending is due to the construction of the Grange homestead, it was obviously Wayne’s major project and likely the cause of disharmony. In one letter Thomas complains about Wayne’s excesses and in the next sentence asks for John’s opinion of the Grange as a residence, thus connecting the two concerns. Thomas felt Wayne should ‘draw in his horns now-a-days, and not fling the money about right and left as he used to do’. He expressed pleasure that John had ‘determined to make Wayne cut down his expenses’. When the partnership was later dissolved Thomas admitted that he had ‘feared that Wayne might by his extravagance run us into difficulties’.

Thomas’ letters further indicate that the homestead was not seen as Wayne’s private property. Hamilton and Rowley shared Hamiltons. Similarly, they appear to have seen the Grange as a shared homestead. When Thomas writes to John concerning his impending marriage, he urges his brother to live at Waihemo Grange. It was nearer to medical help than Hamiltons, which might be of consideration given his future wife’s childbearing potential. Although the partnership had dissolved by the time John married, this letter suggests shared ownership of the Grange.

Just as the exact nature of the ownership and financial support behind the building of the Grange are vague, so is the date of construction. The partners took ownership of the land in January 1862. Construction probably began soon after. A Working Plan (SO 16124) shows an outline of a house on what appears to be the site of the Grange in May 1862. A painting by F.D. Bell, undated but thought to date from 1863, shows the completed house with only young trees. The homestead must have been finished by November 1864 when Thomas asked his brother to give his opinion of the residence.

Architect Ian McAllum’s work also sheds light on the completion date. Employed in the 1960s to make alteration plans to the Grange homestead, McAllum found the remains of a stone cottage in present day Waynestown which had originally been the shepherd’s cottage for the Grange estate. McAllum bought the cottage and restored it. Underneath some stones in the roof gable, builders found a wax-vesta tin containing a piece from the Otago Daily Times showing the date 1862. After research into the history of the area, McAllum believed the cottage began its life as the first home of Wayne, used while the Grange was built. If he is correct, then this would place the Grange’s completion date closer to 1863. This places its construction significantly earlier than the Shag Valley Station homestead, one of the earliest and most prominent stations in the district, which was built around 1868.

The Grange is a substantial structure consisting of 2,240 square feet (208 square metres). It is constructed of schist, extracted from a nearby gully which ran from the hill at the back of the house towards the Shag River. The gully and the creek at the foot of it ‘were always known as 'Wayne’s Gully' and 'Wayne’s Creek'‘. The stone was set with clay. Contrasting limestone quoins, quarried from the nearby Green Valley, and fretwork barge boards provided details. The timber was cedar and Baltic pine. The house was originally said to have had a thatch roof which was later replaced with iron. The gabled roofs are steep, the stone lintels substantial and the stone walls two feet thick.

A wide sweeping veranda was built along the front of the west wing which faced down the drive. French doors from the lower front rooms opened on to the veranda. A bathroom and toilet ran along the back of the north wing of the house. A bedroom and a small sitting room were contained in the front gable. Although the home’s façade was imposing, unusually little space was allowed in the original plan for formal entertaining; an important function of any country manor.

It was no doubt intentioned for the house to have a second storey, as dormer windows were built into the roof. This did not eventuate, perhaps for financial reasons. Only the servants occupied part of the upper portion of the house. Their quarters were above the kitchen, with access provided by a ladder from the scullery. Curiously, although the house was intended to eventually have two storeys there was no provision made for a staircase. Another ladder at the end of the long hall, which ran along the rear of the house, was the only access to the main attic area. Wayne’s early ambitions were not realised until later proprietors built attic rooms.

The dissolution of the partnership

Thomas Rowley left for England early in 1864, but remained involved in the partnership. By November 1864, however, Rowley felt that Wayne had become an ‘uncongenial partner’. The Rowley family were facing financial hardship and their anger was vented at Wayne for conceit, extravagance and not contributing sufficient finances to the partnership. In contrast, Thomas wrote of Hamilton as ‘a really striking character’. The Rowleys desired to retain their partnership with Hamilton but break with Wayne.

Run 109 was put up for sale and on 14 July 1865 it was bought by F.D. Bell from the neighbouring Shag Valley Station. Rowley and Hamilton retained Hamilton Station, the site of a significant gold rush, and Wayne retained the homestead block of Waihemo Grange, his own sheep and his own freehold. In 1886 Rowley was accidentally killed on his Avondale Run. Captain Hamilton returned to England in 1874, although the partnership remained in place. Hamilton died in 1892.

After the dissolution of the partnership, Wayne managed the run successfully for a number of years, despite Thomas Rowley’s warning that Wayne could not go on ‘without a moneyed partner to take over and pay the debts’. Scab broke out among the sheep, however, and the run lost over £20,000. In November 1870 the Waihemo Grange Estate was advertised for sale. It contained 7500 acres, the homestead, wooden woolshed, cottage, men’s hut and stable. In 1871 Wayne sold the property to his old partner Lieutenant-Colonel Kitchener, who already owned land in the Shag Valley. Wayne purchased the Glenledi estate in the Akatore district, Tokomairiro. The business proved ultimately unsuccessful. Selling in 1892, he moved to Milton and established himself as a land agent. He died in April 1901. His contribution, however, did not go unnoticed. It was written that he always took ‘an active part in developing the pastoral and agricultural resources of the Province of Otago, and, like a great many more of the early pastoral settlers, who practically opened up the land for those who succeeded them, he sowed, but others are now reaping the fruits of his labour.’

The Kitcherer Era

Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Horatio Kitchener (1805-1894), father of the famous Lord Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl of Khartoum, paid £20,000 for Waihemo Grange Estate. Kitchener had arrived in Otago late November 1867 and settled in Dunedin for the duration of his stay. Aside from runholding, he became involved in other ventures such as the Dunedin Water Works Company. Leaving an agent, George W. Elliott, with orders to run the Grange cheaply, Kitchener left for London.

In 1875 Kitchener sent his nephew Captain Henry Kitchener (c.1836-1882) to manage Waihemo Grange. After completing agricultural studies, Captain Kitchener had enlisted in the army. Following his retirement, his uncle appointed Captain Henry manager of Waihemo Grange. In June 1875, Captain Kitchener, his wife Mary and four children arrived at Port Chalmers. Kitchener’s management of the Grange was reportedly unsuccessful, as he was more of a soldier than a farmer. In 1880 he was replaced as manager.

The Kitcheners removed to Dunedin. On 1 July 1882 a fire broke out in the Cumberland Street house where the family was living. Susan (11), Sydney (8), and Edith (6) died in the fire. Harold (6 months) died of his injuries on 11 July. Captain Kitchener died on 21 July. The tragedy was reported widely and a subscription fund was raised for the remaining family. Mary Kitchener and her two surviving children returned to England.

Arthur Buck Kitchener (1852-1907), the son of the owner, took over management of Waihemo Grange. Studying Mining Engineering and Mineralogy at Cambridge University, he took his Associateship in 1875. The Grange was in its prime during the Kitchener’s occupancy. He made improvements to the Grange, including a gable window added to the side of the house. He also planted trees and a pretty garden the length of the driveway. Later owners remember the ‘lovely shrubs & garden all round, & down the front drive as far as the first bluegum’.

English authoress E. [Emily] Katharine Bates was introduced to Kitchener in Melbourne as fellow travellers to New Zealand. She wrote ‘Mr Kitchener and I became sufficiently friendly for him to give me a very kind and hospitable invitation to spend the last few days of the year at his 'station', about nine miles from Dunback..’. She accepted the invitation and succumbed to the Grange’s charms.

Round the house is a little plantation of willow and eucalyptus, and a small orchard planted by the owner...At first the weather was too cool for pleasant lounging, but soon the sun became deliciously warm and to lie all morning in a long 'deck chair' on the veranda...seemed the very acme of happiness..

Linen was kept locked up by the housekeeper who also bought hot water in the mornings to refresh the guests. Bates also described the guest bedroom as it stood in 1887:

My room was the usual whitewashed apartment to be found in the ordinary colonial 'station', with a wooden bed standing about two or three feet from the wall, and parallel with the only window in the room; which faced the door (at the foot of my bed), and was fitted with a very dark green blind, on account of the hot summer sunshine.

One of the famous stories connected with the Grange took place on this visit. Bates and Kitchener shared an interest in spiritualism:

Now each day there had been some talk about having an impromptu séance, and each day I had successfully evaded the arrangement... Table turning as a parlour game is about as stupid and aimless an amusement as I know. I represented all this to Mr Kitchener, but in vain. He had attended some psychic meetings in Dunback or Dunedin, and evidently wished me to reconsider the matter...anyway, that Saturday night, 31st December 1887, found me sitting down in a little drawing-room of that far-away sheep station...Mr Kitchener, I think - banged it [the table] down four times, and then triumphantly observed: 'Yes, of course, you will see somebody during the night, or rather at four o’clock in the morning, you see!' The whole thing was the kind of fiasco I had expected, ‘degenerating into a romp'..But the remarkable point is that I did have my first vision that night..

To her ‘infinite amazement there stood between the wall and my bed a diaphanous figure of a woman, quite life size or rather more, with one arm held out in a protecting fashion towards me, and some drapery about the head. The features were, moreover, quite distinct, and, as I afterwards realised, the counterpart of George Eliot’s curious and Savonarola-like countenance….’ On recounting her experience the next morning Kitchener was not at all surprised, although the time of the appearance did confuse him. Bates found out later that ‘having learnt something of the Thought Transference Theory at the Dunedin Circle or Metaphysical Club which he had attended, Mr Kitchener had attempted to make me see a vision at four A.M., but as he confessed he had been fast asleep when I did see (an hour and three quarters before his efforts started), it would take a very ingenious person to proved that the latter had anything to do with the occurrence’.

Bates also confided in ‘Mr Kitchener’s faithful Irish housekeeper, whose nationality I knew would prevent her thinking me a mere lunatic’. This housekeeper, Jane, later reminisced ‘of her happy days at The Grange with 'The Master' -Arthur Kitchener - of dinners and parties when meals would be served in the front hall’. Bates turned her ‘back with many regrets on my pleasant 'station' life...’

Following the death of Lieutenant-Colonel Kitchener in 1894, the property in New Zealand was left in trust, with the profit of the estate to be paid equally to his six children. The Estate was put up for auction on 8 June 1895. It was proposed to sell the Estate in thirteen blocks including the homestead block of 466 acres. The Grange was described as a ‘Gentleman’s residence, two miles from railway station with 466 acres improved land, divided into eight paddocks, large plantation and garden. Stone dwelling-house, overseer’s house, and men’s hut, wooden stable, barn, wash-house, stove, machine-shed etc’. The sale attracted a large number of farmers but few bids were received and they did not meet the reserve. Eventually the land was bought by the Government under the Lands for Settlement Act 1895. In June 1896 the Lands Department announced it was disposing of 2144 acres of the Makareao Estate, previously known as the Waihemo Grange Estate. The property was divided into 33 sections and a small grazing run. The ballot for sections on the Makareao Estate took place in July 1896. There was considerable interest and the sections were sold.

The new owner of the Waihemo Grange homestead block, the small grazing run on the Makareao Estate, was Malcolm McKellar. McKellar had managed the Hon. Robert Campbell’s Otekaike Estate since 1871. He proved an excellent manager who ran an intensive campaign of freehold purchases, while his merino sheep were pre-eminent at shows. In 1895, however, McKellar became ill. Indeed it is possible he never even saw the Grange. His son William Orr McKellar (1877-1954) took charge in 1896. William was born in Oamaru, educated at Waitaki Boys’ High School and ‘brought up to agricultural and pastoral pursuits’. Malcolm McKellar died in 1899. By around 1900, the property contained 8000 acres of freehold land, mostly pastoral, carrying 6000 sheep. McKellar was also probably responsible for closing in a rear veranda to make a wide and light back hall with two windows in it. The hall ended at the south end in a small store room and a photographic dark room.

In 1905 the executors of Malcolm McKellar’s estate sold the Waihemo Grange property to James Chapman (c.1856-1944). The Otago Witness reported that the sale included 7300 acres of freehold land and 3000 acres of leasehold including ‘all the stock, plant and implements thereon’. Chapman, a Stoneburn farmer, had for some years wished to buy the Waihemo Grange. He had come to New Zealand with his family in 1867, where his father managed the Clydevale Station in South Otago. Hired by the New Zealand & Australia Land Company, Chapman was described as ‘a good shepherd, though fond of dealing, and would toot the horn of his Model T Ford even for a train’. He married Jemima Moir in 1891 with who he had four daughters.

Chapman’s stewardship of the Grange lasted almost forty years. It was probably during his occupancy that the two east end attics were completed. Chapman guardianship was complemented by Grace Stenhouse (1875-1968), whom he married after his first wife’s death. Together they farmed the Grange estate until 1932 when they sold all but the homestead block to W. Nichol. Following her husband’s death in 1944, Grace kept the homestead, and five acres of park land. The remainder of the farm was leased. It was said of Grace that this ‘gracious old lady obviously loved every stone of the Grange and was soaked in the atmosphere of her home’. She died at the age of 93 in 1968. The Grace Chapman Reserve, about 600 metres north of the Grange, commemorates her contribution to the area.

On 16 February 1964, the 465 acre Grange homestead property was sold to Ralph William Pile (c.1922-2008) and his wife Miriam. It formed part of a 2000 acre property on adjoining land. Pile not only farmed the Grange, grazing over 3,800 sheep, but served as chairman of the Waihemo County Council from 1969 to 1989. He was awarded the QSO in 1989 for services to local government and the community.

Major renovations occurred under the Piles ownership, probably under the guidance of architect Ian McAllum. The Grange remained empty for two years while renovations were carried out to the interior, although the exterior was left as original as possible. The ground floor was reorganised to contain a large kitchen-dining room, a downstairs bathroom, a laundry in what was once the scullery-pantry area, a large lounge, a bedroom, an office, and a small television room. In the front rooms, original French doors opening on to the veranda were retained. The lounge in the front gable was created by removing a two foot thick stone wall between the existing sitting room and the next door bedroom. More space was achieved by removing the single storey lean-to kitchen at the back and building a two storey addition. This addition contained a new kitchen downstairs and a bathroom upstairs. The kitchen was decorated in Wedgewood blue and white. Later owners believe this extension replaced the original kitchen, which was demolished, and the veranda that was closed in during McKellar occupation.

More than a century after the house was built the upper level was finally given proper staircase access. Two bedrooms were created in the attic space, which included the new bathroom extension above the kitchen. A large area of the attic remained undeveloped at the front end off the gable. By the end of the renovations, it was said that ‘if you had thought the inside to be still in the 19th century like the outside, you would have been surprised as I to discover it was as up-to-date as any home built in the past 20 years or so’.

In December 2006 the Waihemo Grange was bought by Alister and Yvonne Blanchard. In July 2007, 66 acres, including the Grange homestead, were sold to Paul and Anne Tocker. They took ownership on July 2008. The Tockers are working to restore the property to its original glory. For example, the interior doors were covered with sheets of hardboard and 1960s door knobs. They are working to remove the hardboard although some of the panels underneath have been badly cracked and had to be replaced. The future of the Grange seems assured. In 2010 still standing in its mature garden setting in Waihemo Valley at the base of the Kakanui Mountains overlooking the Shag River Waihemo Grange is a significant private residence providing insight into a gentlemanly life and aspirations on a nineteenth century pastoral station.

Physical Description

At the request of the owners there has been no site visit to Waihemo Grange. The physical description is based on photographs supplied by the owners, and file information. The interior has not been assessed.


Past Dunback along State Highway 85, the Dunback-Morrisons Road gently winds through the green rolling hills of the Shag Valley. Opposite the turn off to Waynestown is a driveway, edged by low stone walls. The sweeping driveway is lined with mature trees, which obscure Waihemo Grange from view. The driveway leads to the front of the Waihemo Grange. A green lawn runs in front of the house (the east elevation) and trees frame the house which overlooks the Shag River. Waihemo Grange is visible from the Dunback-Morrisons Road as it passes along the north bank of the Shag River.

The Exterior

The homestead is T-shaped in plan. The main north elevation looks over the Shag River. The house is constructed of schist, shaped and brought to course, with a corrugated iron roof. Limestone blocks form decorative quoins and lintels. A single stone chimney sits astride each gable. A wide veranda runs the length of the ‘T’ with four evenly spaced French doors opening onto it. The main entrance is at the west end of the veranda and is a panel door with sidelights and an arched fanlight over. Two casement dormer windows project from the roof. The projecting gable end has fretwork barge boards. There are two casement windows set one above the other on the gable end.

The west elevation has a projecting bay window with French doors and small multipane windows. A dormer window is set in the roof on this elevation, towards the rear of the house. There are two skylights towards the front of the house. There are three evenly spaced multipane casement windows on this elevation.

The south (rear) elevation has a door and window opening at ground level, and a casement window at first floor level on the gable end wall. An enclosed veranda with projecting dormer extension runs the length of the transecting gable, likely to date from the 1960s alterations. The timber extension features a window in three glass panels and French doors, and the attic extension has five small square windows. There are three evenly spaced narrow windows on the south wall. Two modern skylights are set in the roof.

The east elevation gable end has a ground level window and an attic window, which overlook the driveway.

While the Grange undoubtedly had a number of outbuildings originally, only one appears to remain. It is a small stone shed, with a pitched iron roof and a narrow doorway.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1862 -
Homestead built

1964 - 1966
Major renovations made to the interior of the building. The single story lean-to is replaced with a two-story addition.

Construction Details

Schist stone, Timber, Limestone, corrugated iron

Completion Date

27th October 2010

Report Written By

Susan Irvine

Information Sources

Cyclopedia of New Zealand, 1905

Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908, Vol. 4 Otago and Southland, Cyclopedia Company, Christchurch, 1905

Galer, 1981

L. Galer, Houses and Homes, Allied Press, Dunedin, 1981

Griffiths, 1982

George Griffiths, In the Land of Dwindle River: A Waihemo Journal, Otago Heritage Books, Dunedin, 1982

Olssen, 1984

Erik Olssen, A History of Otago, John McIndoe, Dunedin, 1984

Pinney, 1981

R. Pinney, Early Northern Otago Runs, Auckland, 1981

Thompson, 1949

Helen Thompson, East of the Rock and Pillar: A History of the Strath Taieri and Macraes District, Otago Centennial Historical Publications, Dunedin, 1949

Moore, 1978

C.W.S. Moore, Northern approaches : a history of Waitati, Waikouaiti, Palmerston, Dunback, Moeraki, Hampden and surrounding districts, Capper Press, Christchurch, 1978.

Other Information

A fully referenced registration report is available from the NZHPT Dunedin 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.