Jeans-Hacker House

60 Church Street, Masterton

  • Jean Hacker House.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: V Morrell. Date: 28/10/2011.
  • .
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: V Morrell.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2880 Date Entered 23rd June 1983


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 7-8 Deeds Plan 262 (CT WN346/174), Wellington Land District and the building known as Jeans-Hacker House thereon, and its fittings and fixtures.

City/District Council

Masterton District


Wellington Region

Legal description

Lot 7-8 Deeds Plan 262 (CT WN346/174), Wellington Land District

Location description

Church Street runs perpendicular, towards the northeast end, to Chapel Street/State Highway 2. The Church and Archer Streets intersection is the third south of Chapel Street/State Highway 2, and Jeans-Hacker House is just through this intersection on the south west side.


The southern Wairarapa became one of the first extensive tracts of land in New Zealand to be occupied by Europeans, although the Crown titles were not obtained until 1853. While these negotiations were underway, Joseph Masters (1802-1873) and other Wellington-based members of the Small Farm Association scouted for the locations for Greytown and Masterton (named after Masters).

When founded in 1854 these two towns became the first substantive European settlements in the Wairarapa, although most people bound for Masterton did not arrive until early 1855. Timber was plentiful in Masterton and carpentry was therefore a worthwhile skill. Edward Eaton was not only responsible for building his first home in timber in the mid 1850s, but those of many others. It has been suggested that Eaton may have built Jeans-Hacker House before he left Masterton in 1863.

In the first decade of its founding, the density of housing in Masterton was sparse, because at that stage the settlers mostly lived on their 40 acre suburban section farms. One of these small farms, with its corresponding one acre town section, was originally owned by W. Baldwin, before two sisters, Elizabeth Hacker (1818?-1888) and Emma Jeans (1822-1892), are said to have occupied the town property. It has been posited that Jeans-Hacker House was constructed for one of, or both, of them around the early 1860s. Emma operated a shop from the Church Street property by 1862, and seems to have continued working close to home because in the late 1860s she ran a boarding house on the rear of the Church Street property, on Bannister Street.

The sisters seem to have been reasonably well off, with Jeans being a subscriber in Joseph Masters’ settlement at Alfredton, and Hacker being known for advancing funds to various people for mortgages. An assessment of the various materials and building techniques in the building has shown that all parts are reasonably contemporaneous and therefore the majority of the house could date from the period when the sisters occupied it.

While there is not a specific date for the construction of Jeans-Hacker House, the early 1860s period date is feasible. It has been stated that the pit sawn timber in the original section dates it to before 1865. Newspapers dating between 1859 and 1865 were also discovered behind wallpaper in the house. As such, Jeans-Hacker House has been identified as the oldest remaining inhabited house in Masterton, and, possibly the earliest remaining example of its type in the Wairarapa.

Jeans-Hacker House started out as a typical single longitudinal gable cottage and was gradually extended, by the early twentieth century, through a second gable and lean-tos to create its present form. The building would have originally had a couple of rooms on each floor, but with the extensions this accommodation was expanded, so that it had four bedrooms, a lounge, several other small rooms, and a kitchen. In 2003 some areas of the house were said to still be on original timber piles, and original scrim and panelling remained on the interior.

The sisters appear to have subdivided their original town block reasonably early. As a result, streets nearby Jeans-Hacker House were named after them. There was further subdivision of the Church Street property in the early twentieth century. However, since then the house has been the centre of what remains a relatively large residential property.

Both the women are said to have lived at the property until their deaths. It is unclear who occupied Jeans-Hacker House between the death of Emma and the acquisition of the property by Edward Horatio Waddington around 1898. Waddington was a well-known local businessman who ran a printers business and lived at the Church Street house for several decades. Subsequently the house had a few short term occupants before Mrs Rita Margaret Gooder (1894?-1968) seems to have taken over Jeans-Hacker House in 1933. This was just a few years after her husband, Francis Eric Gooder, described as ‘a young Wellington architect,’ died in Masterton in 1931. Rita passed away in 1968, however, by this time the house had been sold to Mr and Mrs Price. The Price family still owns the property.

Jeans-Hacker House has considerable local historical importance because it is a rare remaining example of a residence associated with earliest period of settlement in Masterton and the south Wairarapa. Named after the two sisters who occupied it in this period, the house has historical importance for Masterton because of its connection to Emma Jeans and Elizabeth Hacker, who lent their names to several streets within the town and were notable early residents. Jeans-Hacker House also has architectural value as an example of a typical early European settler cottage whose architectural integrity is relatively intact.


Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1860 -

Completion Date

1st July 2011

Report Written By

Karen Astwood

Information Sources

Bagnall, 1976

A. G. Bagnall, Wairarapa; An Historical Excursion, Trentham, 1976

Kernohan, 2003

D. Kernohan, Wairarapa Buildings: Two centuries of New Zealand architecture, Wairarapa Archive, Masterton, 2003

Grant, 1995

Grant, I.F., North of the Waingawa: The Masterton Borough and County Councils, 1877-1989, Masterton, 1995

Winters, 2004

G. Winters, The Look of Masterton: A celebration of 150 years, 1854-2004, Masterton, 2004

Other Information

A fully referenced report is available from the NZHPT Central Regional 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.