17 Petticoat Lane, Mangaore

  • House. 1996.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Val Burr.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 4059 Date Entered 5th September 1985


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Lot 17 DP 71908 (CT WN41C/886), Wellington Land District, and the building known as House thereon. Refer to the extent map tabled at the Rarangi Korero meeting on 9 March 2017.

City/District Council

Horowhenua District


Horizons (Manawatu-Wanganui) Region

Legal description

Lot 17 DP 71908 (CT WN41C/886), Wellington Land District


The house at 17 Petticoat Lane is one of a group of bungalow cottages built in 1936-37 at Mangaore Village for workers at the Mangahao Hydroelectric Power Station. 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. It also has some architectural importance as an example of worker cottages constructed by the Public Works Department.

The beginning of a permanent settlement at Mangaore dates to 1919 when construction of the Mangahao hydroelectric power scheme began. 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. On 22 November 1935, the Engineer-in-Chief of the Hydro-Electric Branch wrote the Minister of Public Works, stating: ‘for some time past, the necessity for additional housing accommodation at Mangaore has been…increasingly evident.’ This was followed by a request for ‘monetary authority’ to construct seven cottages and one quarters ‘so that the majority of the employees [may] be housed on the site.’ The proposal received approval on 30 November and a request for tenders was issued in February 1936; the contract was subsequently awarded to H. E. Townshend Ltd of Palmerston North.

A desire to ‘build as many new cottages as possible on the available land which can be serviced by the present sewerage system’ severely limited the siting of these additions. A 1923 site plan casts light on the challenges of building within the existing village. Three parallel streambeds ran across Mangaore, two forming the north-western and south-eastern boundaries and one cutting across its middle. A large recreation reserve occupied the village centre and most of the sections fronted onto the reserve. Creative solutions emerged to fit eight new buildings into the village. Two vacant rectangular sections on the south-western side of the reserve were reapportioned into five irregularly shaped sections, a drive, and a plot for a five-stall garage. Across the road, two sections were carved from the recreation reserve. Finally, an eighth section was wedged between the existing bungalows at what is now 10 and 12 Blackwood Drive.

The constricted sections and the existing bungalows shaped the design of the new cottages. Except for the hip-roofed house on Section 19, which was an entirely different design, the overall footprint was approximately the same size as the earlier bungalows. Their facades were organized in a similar way with a front-facing gable roof and an inset porch, although this feature received simplified trim. Indeed, during construction, the windows were altered from ‘plain casements’ to casement-fanlight combinations to maintain consistency with the earlier bungalows. The interior arrangement of rooms remained generally similar with the major deviations being the movement of the washhouse from the outbuilding into the lean-to and the full separation of the kitchen from what became a standalone dining room.

The eight new dwellings were completed by January 1937. 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 at 17 Petticoat Lane appears to be in fair-to-good condition. Changes were limited to a covered porch at the rear, which extended the lean-to roof fully across the back of the house, and an altered window in the kitchen. The original outbuilding intended for fuel and general storage is no longer extant.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Public Works Department

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1936 - 1937

Completion Date

7th February 2017

Report Written By

James A. Jacobs

Information Sources

Salmond, 1986

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

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.