House (Naumai)

1 Winslow Place, Levin

  • House (Naumai).
    Copyright: Malcolm Clark. Taken By: Malcolm Clark. Date: 7/08/2009.
  • House (Naumai).
    Copyright: Malcolm Clark. Taken By: Malcolm Clark. Date: 7/08/2009.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 4089 Date Entered 5th September 1985


Extent of List Entry

Extent of registration includes the land described as Lot 1 DP 67637 (CT WN36D/174), Wellington Land District and the building known as House (Naumai) thereon.

City/District Council

Horowhenua District


Horizons (Manawatu-Wanganui) Region

Legal description

Lot 1 DP 67637 (CT WN36D/174), Wellington Land District

Location description

Winslow Place is located off Winchester Street, Levin. House (Naumai) has frontage on Winchester Street between 72 and 76 Winchester Street.


The Levin house known as ‘Naumai’ has architectural significance as a transitional residential design of the type that bridged the closing period of villa architecture and the approaching one heavily influenced by the California bungalow and, to a lesser extent, the English cottage. The steeply pitched roofs and half-timbering solidly places Naumai in the latter category and the house and its once far more extensive garden also have some historical significance as the frequent setting of social gatherings of note in the community.

Levin was one of a string of towns founded along the Wellington and Manawatu Railway line, completed in 1886. The sale of town sections to Pākehā settlers began in 1889. Its early prosperity was based mainly in agricultural products, while later this industry was also joined by successful businesses in manufacturing.

The house known later as Naumai was built on a spacious section in Winchester Street circa 1914. The property was owned by William James Kirk and it is assumed that he constructed the house, which can be architecturally described as a ‘transitional’ design. By the time the house was built, the sustained popularity of villas, the mainstay domestic form of the Victorian and Edwardian periods, had effectively ended. In their place were houses influenced by the California bungalow and the English cottage, the latter of which seems to be the inspiration for this house, having steeply pitched roofs and simplified gable half-timbering.

The Kirks did not occupy the house for long as it was sold in 1919 to John and Mary Grace Kebbell, prominent Ohau farmers who relocated to Levin after selling their farm ‘Te Rauawa’ in 1918. It is not presently known whether the Kirks also called the house ‘Naumai’, which means ‘welcome’, however as early as June 1919 the moniker was in use by the Kebbells. The Kebbells made alterations and expanded the house, possibly in two stages in 1928 and again in 1931-32, which might have resulted in the loss of an original porch, and also added a garage around the same time.

During its ownership by the senior Kebbells and, subsequently, by their daughter Marjorie Kebbell Kirkcaldie, Naumai became associated with hospitality and sociability, in particular garden parties held on its expansive grounds. In 1971 the property was sold to Roderick McKenzie, a Levin builder, and his wife and under their ownership they subdivided the property. The McKenzies created four sections fronting onto Winchester Street (two to either side of the new drive accessing the historic house and garden) and built two pairs of flats. Most of the remainder of the garden acreage was subdivided further by subsequent owners, with a new street, Winslow Place, created to access the now interior sections.

Naumai retains the exterior character-defining features of the transitional English cottage house; however, the interior has been subject to much alteration. The most recent changes occurred around 2012, reconfiguring rooms at the back of the house.


Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1914 -

Interior alterations

Additional building added to site
1931 - 1932
Garage construction

Completion Date

1st February 2016

Report Written By

James A. Jacobs

Information Sources

Salmond, 1986

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

The News

The News

‘An impressive house with a warm welcome,’ The News, 4 August 1982

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.