12 Blackwood Drive, Mangaore

  • House.
    Copyright: Date: 1/12/2009.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 4058 Date Entered 5th September 1985


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 12 DP 71908 (CT WN41C/881), Wellington Land District, and the building known as House thereon.

City/District Council

Horowhenua District


Horizons (Manawatu-Wanganui) Region

Legal description

Lot 12 DP 71908 (CT WN41C/881), Wellington Land District


The house at 12 Blackwood Drive is one of a group of bungalows built at Mangaore for skilled workers involved in the construction of the Mangahao Hydroelectric Power Station between 1920 and 1924. It has historical heritage value for its relationship to the significant Mangahao power scheme, which, supplying Wellington, Horowhenua, Taranaki, Hawke’s Bay and the Wairarapa, was the first of many large hydro power stations to be built in New Zealand under a Government-resourced plan to provide a national electricity supply. The bungalow also has some architectural heritage value as a representative example of a widespread early-twentieth-century residential building form.

The beginning of a permanent settlement at Mangaore dates to 1919 when construction of the Mangahao hydroelectric power scheme began. By May 1920, three camps had been established at the principal work areas of the project. In addition to more modest worker housing, the original settlement at Mangaore also included a ‘village’ of permanent five-room bungalows. These were built for engineering staff working on the construction and, later, maintenance of the power plant.

The first four bungalows (no longer extant) were completed along what is now Blackwood Drive during the winter of 1920. By July 1923, seven more dwellings stood on sections surrounding the recreation reserve at the middle of the village. Most of these houses were improved versions of the earlier bungalows. They were uniformly clad with wooden weatherboards rather than vertical boards of Poilite, a type of asbestos cement, a change that accentuated the low-slung appearance of the type. Their porches retained the same perforated Arts and Crafts trim along the roofline.

While retaining the same overall form and footprint as the original bungalows, the organisation of interior space was rearranged and modernised in the second lot of houses. The front door still opened into a central hallway that provided access to all the rooms; however, a jog was introduced at one end creating an L-shaped space that screened the bathroom and kitchen from direct views, a reflection of middle-class sensibilities regarding public and private spaces. The most radical changes to the plan related to the service and support areas. An electric hot water cylinder located in a linen cupboard allowed the separation of the bathroom from the washhouse; the former moved to a more central location within the house and the latter relocated to an outbuilding formerly containing the WC (now moved into the lean-to) and fuel storage. The kitchen was greatly enlarged through the removal of the scullery and pantry and with the introduction of modern appliances and fittings, permitting an area removed from the workspace for a dining table and chairs.

Completed by 1923, the house at 12 Blackwood Drive was probably built a year earlier. The houses at Mangaore were owned by a succession of government entities until sold off in the mid-1990s as part of the privatisation of New Zealand’s electricity sector. The house appears to be in fair condition and retains most of its character-defining features. The lean-to was expanded at some point and extends fully across the back of the house; other changes appear to be limited to some replacement windows at the back of the house and an altered chimney. There are some outbuildings, including a garage, at the back of the section.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Public Works Department

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1922 - 1923

Completion Date

2nd February 2017

Report Written By

James A. Jacobs

Information Sources

Salmond, 1986

Jeremy Salmond, Old New Zealand Houses 1800-1940, Auckland, 1986, Reed Methuen


The Press

‘The Small Home,’ Press, 13 August 1925, p. 4.

Institute of Professional Engineers in NZ (IPENZ)

Institute of Professional Engineers in NZ

IPENZ Engineering Heritage Record entry, ‘Mangahao Power Station’, Institution of Professional Engineers of New Zealand, URL:, accessed 30 January 2017

Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand

John E. Martin, 'Hydroelectricity', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 30 January 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 region Office of Heritage New Zealand.