Lincoln Grange

16 Lincoln Road, Bluff Hill, Napier

  • Lincoln Grange, Napier.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Alison Dangerfield. Date: 22/08/2017.
  • Lincoln Grange, Napier.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Alison Dangerfield. Date: 5/01/2010.
  • Lincoln Grange, Napier (aka Milton Grange). A wedding party in front of the house. Beatrice Rhodes Photographs, 1978. Ref: PA1-q-193-017. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22302856.
    Copyright: Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington. Taken By: Unknown. Date: 21/07/1874.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2802 Date Entered 7th April 1983


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Pt Lot 11 DP 9519, Lot 2 DP 444496 (CT 557567), Hawke’s Bay Land District, and the building known as Lincoln Grange thereon.

City/District Council

Napier City


Hawke's Bay Region

Legal description

Pt Lot 11 DP 9519, Lot 2 DP 444496 (CT 557567), Hawke’s Bay Land District


Lincoln Grange has historical value for its association with the Rhodes brothers, particularly prominent Hawke’s Bay landowner and local politician, Joseph Rhodes, who helped shape the history of the province. Joseph Rhodes is said to have been the person who first suggested that Hawke’s Bay secede from Wellington and become its own province, which it did in 1858. The house originally known as Milton Grange, built in the 1860s or 1870s, was the townhouse of Rhodes and his wife. Although it has been subject to alterations over the decades, the form of the house and its remaining original fabric, characteristic of a Victorian residence, indicates its historic value.

The Rhodes brothers were some of New Zealand’s early colonial settlers, who each owned vast tracts of land throughout the country and held prominent roles in provincial and central government. Eldest brother William Barnard Rhodes (1807-1878) arrived in New Zealand in 1839. Three of his brothers followed him, George (1816-1864) and Joseph (1826-1905) in 1843, and Robert Heaton (1815-1884) in 1850. Under William Barnard’s direction they built a pastoral empire in both islands - during the 1850s the brothers controlled over 300,000 acres between them. Joseph established a chain of properties in the Hawke’s Bay and East Coast, including Clive Grange, Kidnappers, Matapiro, Springhill and Edenham stations, among numerous other parcels of suburban and rural land.

The town of Napier was first surveyed for Crown Grants in 1852. On 22 September 1859 suburban sections 58, 59 and 423 were granted to George and Robert Heaton Rhodes. It is unknown if the house originates from this tenure, however it is most strongly associated with Joseph Rhodes and his wife. Joseph Rhodes was a member of the Provincial Council for the whole of its existence (1859-1876), and served as the province’s Deputy Superintendent and Speaker during the 1860s. He was also President of the Napier Land and Building Society, a trustee of the first Methodist Church and a member of local boards such as the Napier Gas Company. Previously Mr and Mrs J. Rhodes lived at their large country estate, Clive Grange, but around 1869 took up residence at Milton Grange; the property was named after the road it used to be accessed from.

A photo dated 21 July 1874 shows a wedding party outside the eight-bedroom, two-storey timber dwelling, the form of which is still discernible in the building today. Double gables are oriented north-south, from which two cross-gables radiate east, and one to the west. The western gable end and longer gable to the south contain bay windows, and a verandah, glassed in at its eastern end, wraps around the northwest corner. Two chimneys indicate the location of internal fireplaces. Rectangular double-hung sash windows are spaced around the upper storey, occasionally roofed by gabled dormers. The house is distinguished by decorative verandah posts and scrolled bargeboards at each gable and dormer, with cut-out designs giving a trellis-like effect.

Joseph Rhodes died in 1905, but the year before had put the estate up for subdivision into 14 residential sites. The house retained the largest lot, surrounded by orchard and outbuildings including sheds, a dairy, stables and hot houses. His son, Frank Rhodes, a solicitor, remained in the house until the mid-1920s, when it was bought by prominent Crown Prosecutor and New Zealand cricketer Hugh Butler Lusk and his wife Elizabeth; a large glasshouse replaced many of the older outbuildings during their occupancy. The next owner, Arnold Clifford Davidson, converted the building into flats in the 1960s; it was known as the Grange Flats. Further alterations were carried out by the Hawke’s Bay Health Board in the 1980s, when a mental-health service residence was run from the property. In the mid-2000s it was converted back into a single private residence.


Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Converted into six flats, including additions

1986 -
Internal alterations by Hawke’s Bay Health Board

2005 -
Alterations: removal of fire escapes; replacement of aluminium ranchsliders with timber French doors; demolition of some of the more recent additions; new main entrance created between two east wings; demolition of part of the addition to the north-eastern wing and reconstruction of gable-end to match existing original fabric; extension of previously enclosed verandah on northern elevation; installation of new staircase; removal of fireplace and wall at lounge; installation of new kitchen

Completion Date

20th April 2018

Report Written By

Blyss Wagstaff

Information Sources

Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand

'RHODES BROTHERS', from An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock, originally published in 1966, Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand

URL: (accessed 09 Nov 2017)

Other Information

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 Central Regional Office of Heritage New Zealand