Staff Hostel (Former)

3 Hay Street, Mangaore

  • Staff Hostel (Former).
    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 4500 Date Entered 5th September 1985


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 3 DP 71906 (CT WN41C/859), Wellington Land District, and the building known as Staff Hostel (Former) thereon.

City/District Council

Horowhenua District


Horizons (Manawatu-Wanganui) Region

Legal description

Lot 3 DP 71906 (CT WN 41C/859), Wellington Land District


The Public Works Department constructed the building at 3 Hay Street in Mangaore Village in 1929 as a hostel for single men working 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 a type of worker accommodation devised by the Public Works Department during the interwar period.

Mangaore Village was established in 1920 with the building of four bungalows for engineering staff working on the construction of the Mangahao Hydroelectric Power Station. By 1923, seven additional bungalows were arrayed on sections along three sides of the recreation reserve at the centre of the village. These modern, well-designed houses and the overall landscape plan formed the nucleus of a permanent community for workers employed at the power station after it became operational late in 1924. No further bungalows appear to have been constructed until 1936-37, and in the interim housing needs were met in part through the continued use of roughly built wooden huts. As the system of allocating housing preferenced married workers, it is likely that most, if not all, of the unmarried workers initially lived in these huts.

Built in 1929, the single men’s quarters or staff hostel afforded a level of comfort and modernity equal to that of the bungalows. Stylistically, the building’s form was, arguably, the most bungaloid in the village with a broad, low-pitched, side gable roof that extending low over a wide front verandah. A small, decorative cross gable ‘dormer’ provided the only break in the sweep of the roof. The overall form, centred cross gable, and full-width verandah obscured the functional division within, evident only by two front doors. The one on the left opened into an L-shaped hallway providing access to a sitting room with fireplace, three bedrooms, a WC, and a bathroom. The door on the right opened into a spacious dining room bounded by a kitchen and other service spaces. The residential side had internal access into the kitchen. The portion of the verandah outside the dining room was partitioned from the rest, suggesting that the dining facility might have also been used by workers living beyond the hostel.

In 1936, the portion of the verandah fronting the dining room was fully enclosed with weatherboards and sliding casement windows above built-in seats along two walls, creating a ‘small lounge or common-room for those using the Hostel.’ This was thought necessary because ‘at present there is nothing available of this nature except the dining room itself, which is not desirable to use for this purpose,’ suggesting that the original sitting room may have been used as a fourth bedroom. A succession of government entities owned the accommodation at Mangaore until sold off in the mid-1990s as part of the privatisation of New Zealand’s electricity sector. With the exception of the addition of a single-stall garage, the property is largely unchanged on the exterior and now exists as a four-bedroom, one-bathroom house for a single household.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Public Works Department

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1929 -

1936 -
Enclosure of a portion of front porch for use as a lounge

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.