Acker's Cottage

Leask Bay Road, Harrold Bay, Stewart Island / Rakiura

  • Acker's Cottage. Photograph taken in 1995.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 396 Date Entered 26th November 1987


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Sec 36 Blk I Paterson SD (CT SL12A/21) Southland Land District, and the building known as the Acker's Cottage thereon, and its fittings and fixtures.

City/District Council

Southland District


Southland Region

Legal description

Sec 36 Blk I Paterson SD (CT SL12A/21), Part Road Reserve, Southland Land District.

Location description

Southland District Council records indicate that Acker's Cottage is likely to straddle the legal boundary between the road reserve (unformed) and Sec 36 Blk I Paterson SD. Southland District Council also records the 'Parent Property' as 67 Leask Bay Road. Acker's Cottage does not have its own street number.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Lewis Acker was the harpooner on a whaler and came from Charleston, New York State. His parents had a stone house and he wanted his house to be stone also. The granite boulders of Stewart Island did not suit him and he found a chalky slabby rock at Oreti Beach which he quarried and carried across Foveaux Strait as ballast in his boat. The design is not a standard butt and ben with the door in the middle of a long wall. Instead the door deems to have been in the middle of an end wall and the chimney at the other end. The Reverend Wohlers baptised four of Acker's children in 1856. Acker gave his name to Acker's Point where he cleared land for cultivation around his cottage. The cottage was subsequently owned by Captain Harrold and then Newton Julius Jensen.


A very early vernacular building.


One of the earliest stone houses in the South Island.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Acker, Lewis

Lewis Acker was an early whaler and not significant as an architect.

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description


A simple barn shaped building with a door in one short end, a stone chimney at the other end and three windows in the front wall.


The roof and part of one wall had been replaced with corrugated iron. The chimney no longer projects above the roof line and the whole building is dilapidated. It is about to be restored.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1836 -

Construction Details

Materials used were a chalky slabby stone from Oreti for the walls. Acker set the stones in clay and pointed them with mortar made from crushed shells. The interior had an ingenious tier of five bunks for the children, short near the floor and long near the roof. At present the roof is corrugated iron but it is thought that Acker may have originally used large stone slabs.

Information Sources

Porter, 1983

Frances Porter (ed), Historic Buildings of Dunedin, South Island, Methuen, Auckland, 1983.

Olga Sansom, 1970. The Stewart Islanders. Letter from Olga Sansom's daughter.

Other Information

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

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.