Whare Tane

26 Clive Road, Epsom, Auckland

  • Whare Tane, circa 1960-1970s.
    Copyright: Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland City Libraries. Taken By: 435-C5-40, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland City Libraries.
  • Whare Tane. One of two Maori-inspired figures, east eave of garage on street frontage, looking southeast.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Martin Jones. Date: 15/04/2006.
  • Whare Tane. Image courtesy of www.flickr.com.
    Copyright: peteshep©. Taken By: peteshep©. Date: 13/08/2012.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 4503 Date Entered 23rd June 2011

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 2 DP 18407 (CT NA414/253), North Auckland Land District, and the buildings and structures known as Whare Tane thereon, and their fittings and fixtures. (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the registration report for further information.)

City/District Council

Auckland Council (Auckland City Council)

Region

Auckland Council

Legal description

Lot 2 DP 18407 (CT NA414/253), North Auckland Land District

Summaryopen/close

Whare Tane is an avant garde 1920s residence, commissioned and occupied by prominent illustrator and cartoonist Trevor Lloyd (1863-1937). Lloyd is notable for popularising the kiwi as New Zealand’s national icon, after first using it as a symbol for the nation during the All Blacks tour of Great Britain in 1905-6. Lloyd is also considered to have been a pioneer of etching in New Zealand and one of the country's leading political cartoonists for 32 years. The place also illustrates Pakeha adoption of Maori-influenced design as an expression of a developing national identity in the early twentieth century.

Whare Tane lies on the lower slopes of Maungawhau (Mt Eden), the site of a pa with a long history of human occupation. Following Auckland’s founding as a colonial settlement in 1840 the land became part of Josiah Firth’s suburban residential estate Clifton and was later quarried by haulage and building supply firm Winstone Limited. In 1925 Trevor Lloyd, the principal cartoonist at the New Zealand Herald and Auckland Weekly News purchased an irregularly-shaped lot on steep terrain as the site for a family residence. An illustrator of national stature, Lloyd was noted for his depictions of New Zealand flora and fauna. In 1905, he created what is believed to be the first New Zealand cartoon using the kiwi as a symbol for the nation. This showed a kiwi on a rugby field, holding the tail of a defeated English lion.

The three-storey house was constructed in 1925-6 to a design by Scottish-born architect John Anderson (1880-?). The builder was Archibald Frame (1874?-1942), a stonemason by trade. Whare Tane’s style combined forward-thinking architecture of American origin with a strong awareness of New Zealand’s natural and cultural landscape. The residence was erected with a basalt base and a two-storey ferro-concrete superstructure. It has been regarded as a local adaptation of the Emil Bach house (1915) in Chicago designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Whare Tane incorporated Maori-influenced design on its interior and associated outbuildings. Broader Pakeha use of Maori design has been seen as a response to a growing nationalism and sense of place, in a similar way to Lloyd’s use of the kiwi in his cartoons.

In 1927, a garage was erected on the site frontage incorporating Maori-influenced figures and the name Te Whareka. A sunken front garden was created using a large amount of local stone in its winding paths and revetments, reflecting the immense popularity of rock gardens in the 1920s and 1930s. After Lloyd’s death in 1937 the house remained in the family until the death of daughter Constance Lloyd (1895-1982), an artist known for her etching works. The residence was sold in 1983 and remains in private ownership.

Whare Tane has aesthetic significance for the austerity and strength of its exterior design; its setting on the slopes of Maungawhau; and its mature garden of informal design. The place has architectural significance as a New Zealand expression of the influence of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright; for its avant garde 1920s design; and for the use of indigenous stone and Maori-influenced motifs. It has cultural significance for its connections with the development of New Zealand art and iconography in the early 1900s through its close associations with the prominent cartoonist and illustrator Trevor Lloyd. Lloyd is believed to have created the first New Zealand cartoon to have used the kiwi as a symbol for the nation, which itself referred to the 1905 All-Black rugby tour of Great Britain. The place also has cultural value for demonstrating Pakeha adoption of Maori-influenced design and names; and a growing awareness of the natural and cultural landscape in the early twentieth century. Whare Tane has historical significance for its associations with Trevor Lloyd, who provided satirical or other comment on many of New Zealand’s most significant events in the first decades of the twentieth century, including its foundation as a Dominion, debates on alcohol prohibition, and involvement in the First World War.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Whare Tane has historical significance as a residence commissioned and occupied by Trevor Lloyd, a pioneer of etching in New Zealand and one of the country's leading political cartoonists for 32 years. Lloyd provided satirical or other comment on many of New Zealand’s most significant events in the first decades of the twentieth century, including its foundation as a Dominion, debates on alcohol prohibition, and involvement in the First World War. Whare Tane also has historical significance for a five-and-a-half-decade association with the Lloyd family, including daughters Olive and Constance Lloyd who were recognised figures in the local art scene.

The land has associations with Josiah Firth’s nineteenth-century residential estate Clifton; and with early twentieth-century quarrying on Mt Eden by Winstones Limited, at that time one of Auckland’s largest haulage and building supply firms.

Aesthetic Significance or Value

Whare Tane has aesthetic significance for the austerity and strength of the building’s design, and for its setting on the lower slopes of Maungawhau. It also has aesthetic value for its mature garden, the informal design of which enhances the distinctive character of the building and the site.

Architectural Significance or Value

Whare Tane has architectural significance as an early New Zealand expression of the influence of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s modern domestic designs. The place also has architectural significance for its early twentieth-century use of indigenous material and Maori-influenced motifs, and as an avant garde 1920s residential design.

Cultural Significance or Value

Whare Tane has considerable cultural significance for its connections with the development of New Zealand art and iconography in the early 1900s, including through its close associations with the prominent cartoonist and illustrator Trevor Lloyd. Lloyd is believed to have created the first New Zealand cartoon to have used the kiwi as a symbol for the nation, which itself referred to the 1905 All-Black rugby tour of Great Britain. Both the kiwi symbol and tour can be seen as reflecting important stages in the development of a distinctive New Zealand cultural identity.

The place also has cultural value for demonstrating Pakeha adoption of Maori-influenced design and names; and a growing awareness of the natural and cultural landscape in the early twentieth century. These values are similarly linked to an increasing sense of national identity and place. The use of Maori-influenced representation can also be seen as reflecting aspects of the complex racial ideology of Europeans in the first decades of the twentieth century.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history

Whare Tane has considerable significance for reflecting a developing early twentieth-century Pakeha awareness of the existence of Maori culture in New Zealand, and a growing sense of national identity. It can also be seen as reflecting aspects of the complex racial ideology of Europeans in the first decades of the twentieth century. It also reflects outward-looking attitudes combining local tradition with ‘modern’ lifestyles and ideas.

(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history

Whare Tane has special significance for its close associations with Trevor Lloyd, a prominent New Zealand illustrator and cartoonist who is believed to have created the first New Zealand cartoon to have used the kiwi as a symbol for the nation. Lloyd played an important role in the ongoing popularisation of this symbol, and continued to promote it while in residence at the place. The symbol is notable because it became synonymous with New Zealand and New Zealanders during the twentieth century. Lloyd is said to have adopted the bird as his artistic signature and can be considered to have influenced popular culture as a well-known ‘generator of the daily laugh’.

Lloyd is also considered to have been a pioneer of etching in New Zealand and one of the country's leading political cartoonists for 32 years. He occupied the house while still principal cartoonist for the New Zealand Herald and Auckland Weekly News; and exhibited his etchings at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts soon after the residence was completed. He was still undertaking cartoons and etchings shortly before he died at the house, some twelve years later. His etchings of New Zealand flora were considered in the 1930s to be ‘a real contribution to the country’s serious art.’

(g) The technical accomplishment or value, or design of the place

Whare Tane is significant for its incorporation of New Zealand themes in the design of its interior, some garden features and ancillary structures. It is also of design significance as a little-altered example of a 1920s avant-garde domestic building in New Zealand, illustrating the influence of notable American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape

Whare Tane is part of a broader historical and cultural landscape in Epsom. It is located on the lower slopes of Maungawhau (Mt Eden) - a large Maori pa site in the Auckland isthmus – and a short distance from Mt Eden Prison in Lauder Road. Other nearby buildings include the Auckland Grammar School Main Block, Auckland Grammar War Memorial, the Auckland Grammar School Janitor’s House, Ngahere and Stoneways, all in Mountain Road. Like Whare Tane, the Auckland Grammar School Main Block and the Janitor’s House - both built in 1916 in the Spanish Mission style - reflect the influence of particular American styles New Zealand architecture. Stoneways is also an example of modern forward-looking influences in New Zealand domestic housing in the 1920s. Mt Eden Prison incorporates the use of local basalt.

Conclusion

It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category I historic place. The place has special significance for its close associations with Trevor Lloyd, a prominent New Zealand illustrator and cartoonist who is believed to have created the first New Zealand cartoon to have used the kiwi as a symbol for the nation. The symbol is notable because it became increasingly identified with New Zealand and New Zealanders during the twentieth century. Lloyd is also considered to have been a pioneer of etching in New Zealand and one of the country's leading political cartoonists for 32 years. He occupied the house while still a principal cartoonist and promoter of the kiwi as a symbol for the nation; and while he was producing and exhibiting etchings considered collectively to represent ‘a real contribution to the country’s serious art.’

Linksopen/close

Construction Professionalsopen/close

Anderson, John (2)

John Anderson was born in Scotland in 1880, and was articled in 1896 to Horatio Bromhead (1838-1934) who was effectively the founder of the Glasgow Institute of Architects. Anderson attended classes at the Glasgow School of Art and Technical College and following completion of his apprenticeship in 1900 worked briefly in England before returning to Glasgow as an assistant to a James Lindsay (1857-1914). Although Lindsay was an accomplished designer, his commissions were primarily industrial. Anderson moved to New Zealand in 1908 where he entered the Government Architect’s Office of the Public Works Department, Wellington, remaining there until at least 1911.

Anderson’s time in the Public Works Department coincided with the government’s construction of numerous large buildings, including Government Architect John Campbell’s Parliament Buildings, designed in 1911-12. By the mid 1920s Anderson was working in private practice in Auckland from an office in Queen Street, and had undertaken the construction of a residence in Takapuna (1922). He is perhaps best known as the architect of the Frank Lloyd Wright-influenced house Whare Tane, constructed in Epsom in 1925-6 for prominent illustrator and cartoonist Trevor Lloyd (1863-1937). Employing the draughtsman and writer Roderick David Finlayson (1904-1992) for a period, Anderson’s business is said to have failed with the onset of the Great Depression.

Frame, Archibald

A stonemason by trade, Archibald Bow Frame (1874?-1942) and his wife moved to New Zealand from Vancouver in late 1919. Frame may have served with the Canadian sappers during First World War (1914-18). Auckland-based Frame is known primarily for his role as the building contractor for Whare Tane, a house suggesting Frank Lloyd Wright design influences that was constructed in 1925-6 for the prominent illustrator and cartoonist Trevor Lloyd (1863-1937). Basalt for the basement of the three-storey ferro-concrete structure was quarried from the Epsom site on which it was constructed.

Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

Early history of the site

Whare Tane is situated in Epsom, and lies on the lower slopes of Maungawhau (Mt Eden). Maungawhau has a long history of human occupation. According to some accounts, the renowned military engineer Titahi of Ngati Awa was associated with the construction of a large pa there, which was later occupied by the Waiohua people. Extensive cultivations and related activity areas were located on volcanic soils on the mountain’s lower slopes. Maungawhau was part of the broader Auckland isthmus taken over by Ngati Whatua in the eighteenth century. No Maori occupation of the mountain is currently known immediately preceding Auckland’s founding as a colonial settlement in 1840.

Maungawhau marked the southern boundary of the first area of land transferred by Ngati Whatua to the Crown in 1840 for the creation of Auckland as the colonial capital. The summit was subsequently employed as the base survey point from which land in the North Island was subdivided in the mid to late nineteenth century. Epsom land near the foot of Mt Eden was subdivided into farms as early as 1842 as part of Auckland’s early rural hinterland. The site of Whare Tane was part of an 1865 Crown Grant (Allotment 94) that was on-sold in 1872 to wealthy colonial entrepreneur and politician Josiah Firth (1826-1897) for incorporation into his developing suburban estate, Clifton. A small pine plantation was located on part of the site. Shooting targets associated with a rifle range established in 1871 by the Provincial Government extended from the northwest corner of Allotment 94, across the end of what later became Clive Road.

In 1903 the northwest portion of the allotment was subdivided for sale to contractor William Henry and was later incorporated within a wider area purchased in 1909 by Winstone Limited for a quarry. Formed in 1904, the company was the successor of a general carrying and fuel supply partnership founded in 1869. Brothers W. and G. Winstone had operated a quarry on Mt Eden as early as 1870 in conjunction with their contract for the demolition of Point Britomart as part of harbour reclamation works. Profiting from contracts issued by the 1870s Vogel government, the partnership became one of the largest haulage firms in the Auckland region. Purchase of the Clive Road site reflected growing building supply interests and the production of materials for an early twentieth-century urban economy dominated by suburban construction.

The quarry in Clive Road was subdivided and sold in 1925. By this time Mt Eden was considered a place of beauty which also demonstrated New Zealand’s Maori roots.

Trevor Lloyd and his purchase of the site (1925)

One of the subdivisions was an irregularly-shaped section on steep terrain adjoining Mt Eden Domain. It was purchased in June 1925 by a prominent cartoonist and illustrator, Trevor Lloyd (1863-1937), for the construction of a family home. Contemporary development on adjoining land included the creation of tennis courts to one side and an access from Clive Road to the Mt Eden Domain on the other.

Lloyd is considered to have been a pioneer of etching in New Zealand, and at the time of his land purchase was the principal cartoonist for both the New Zealand Herald and the Auckland Weekly News. Born into a farming family at the Wade, north of Auckland, he was essentially self taught as an artist but may have had some lessons from the painter and engraver Louis John Steele (1842-1918). In 1883 Lloyd exhibited with the Auckland Society of Art, and again several times in the 1890s. In the early 1900s, he moved with his wife and young family to Auckland, where he began earning a living from art.

Lloyd’s first commission was to illustrate stories and articles for the prestigious monthly New Zealand Illustrated Magazine, published by Arthur Cleave. The magazine was commenced in 1899 by Auckland lawyer Frederick Baume (1862?-1910) on the premise that literature should lead the way in forging a national identity. It carried contributions from most of the top New Zealand writers of the day, including politician and scholar (later Sir) Apirana Ngata (1874-1950); novelist Jane Mander (1877-1940); journalist, historian James Cowan (1870-1943); and ethnographer, writer Elsdon Best (1856-1831). The publication was heavily illustrated by artists such Frances Hodgkins (1869-1947) and upcoming illustrator, cartoonist Kennaway Henderson (1879-1960).

In 1903 Trevor Lloyd joined the Auckland Weekly News as an illustrator, graphic artist and cartoonist, and from 1904 his cartoons also appeared in the New Zealand Herald. Later recognised as an artist, illustrator and cartoonist of national stature, Lloyd was noted for his depictions of New Zealand flora and fauna. In 1905 he created what is believed to have been the first New Zealand cartoon using the kiwi as a symbol for the nation.

In the 1890s and early 1900s, a dual patriotism was emerging in the colony which took pride in being both British and New Zealand. Lloyd’s cartoon depicted a rugby test victory over England in December 1905, during the first tour of the British Isles by an official and fully representative rugby team from New Zealand. Published in the New Zealand Herald, the image shows a large and aggressive kiwi - dressed in dark shorts of fern-leaf print design - on a rugby field, holding the tail of a defeated English lion. It was during this tour that the name ‘All Blacks’, was bestowed on the colonial rugby team. The team has also since been referred to as the ‘Originals’. The 1905-6 rugby tour has been regarded by some as representing a giant stride in the development of a sense of nationhood, shortly before New Zealand became a Dominion.

The kiwi was subsequently frequently used in cartoons as a symbol for the nation. Lloyd is said to have adopted the bird as his artistic signature and can be considered to have influenced popular culture as a household name and as a ‘generator of the daily laugh’. The London-based Westminster Gazette also published a cartoon in 1905 depicting a kiwi (New Zealand) and kangaroo (Australia) going to a colonial conference, which was reproduced in the New Zealand Herald at the same time as the All Blacks tour. By 1917 the term ‘kiwi’ was being used to refer to New Zealand soldiers and, later, to New Zealanders in general.

Concurrently, Lloyd developed a reputation as a political cartoonist, initially focussing on the activities of the reforming Liberal Government under Richard Seddon, and later Sir Joseph Ward. A cartoon marking the end of the colonial era in 1907, depicted Ward adorning a kiwi with a tail of eight peacock feathers, each bearing a letter of the word “Dominion”. According to Lloyd’s obituary (1937) his best-known cartoon appeared in September 1911, before the general election in which Ward was defeated, which showed Ward and his colleagues in a battered war canoe, heading for a rock under the escort of a shark labelled “Socialism”. Other objects of Lloyd’s scrutiny included the Russo-Japanese War (1904-5), debates over the prohibition of alcohol, and events during the First World War (1914-18) when his cartoons were drawn ‘in every mood, reflecting the tragedy of that period and the humour that helped to sustain the Empire’s spirit.’

In the decade immediately before his purchase of land at Epsom, Lloyd also began contributing pen and ink illustrations to the Saturday supplement of the New Zealand Herald, and took up etching and dry point, eventually producing a large body of prints based on his bush drawings. At the time, etching was a neglected medium in New Zealand, with Lloyd being required to produce many of his own tools and to learn the craft ‘with little help from others’.

Construction and initial use of Whare Tane (1925-6)

Whare Tane appears likely to have been erected between July 1925, when a building permit was issued, and early 1927 when a street directory was published listing Lloyd’s name at the address. The house was one of many residential properties built on the lower slopes of Maungawhau in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as suburban settlement in Auckland spread southward. Existing drystone basalt walls - a picturesque feature of Mt Eden and its environs - bounded the north and west sides of the property before construction of the house began.

The architect for the new residence was Scottish-born John Anderson (1880-?), who had worked in the Government Architect’s Office of the Public Works Department in Wellington before setting up in private practice in Auckland.

The main house consisted of a three-storey building of unusual, flat-roofed design. Its style combined forward-thinking architecture of international origin with a strong awareness of New Zealand’s natural and cultural landscape. The latter was evident in the structure’s broader setting, aspects of Maori-influenced interior design and adoption of a te reo-based name. The intertwining of local and international, as well as old and new, was also symbolised by the combined use of basalt footings and reinforced concrete in the superstructure.

Whare Tane’s overall architectural style has been seen as a local adaptation of the Emil Bach house in Chicago (1915), a design by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959). Whare Tane’s use of concrete, a material Wright employed in several domestic designs in the early 1920s; the horizontal line of the massive roof which is echoed in the line of the balcony on the upper floor; and the location of the main entrance (at the side) are elements found in Wright’s Chicago and Prairie-style residential designs. Although Wright never confined himself to one material or one method of construction, he was especially interested in the possibilities of concrete.

Essentially a vertical block entered at the middle level via an entrance at the side of the house, the Epsom design may also loosely reflect aspects of the Millard house, Pasadena (1923) where Wright illustrated a capacity to produce a house modest in scale and compact in section as well as in plan. The Millard house was constructed two years before Whare Tane and was a marked departure from the long, low horizontal lines of Wright’s more expansive Prairie style devised at the beginning of the century.

Whare Tane was not the first New Zealand house to illustrate Wright’s influence. Waiohika, constructed on the outskirts of Gisborne in 1920 to the design of Hawkes Bay architect Louis Hay, was modelled on the Prairie house style.

Whare Tane’s builder was Archibald Bow Frame (1874?-1942), a stonemason by trade. Basalt for construction of the basement was quarried from the site.

The extensive use of indigenous-influenced elements in the house interior and ancillary structures can be seen to reflect Lloyd’s long-held interest in Maori culture. Lloyd is said to have drawn images of Maori from a young age, and was also a collector of Maori artefacts, many of which are now held by the Auckland Institute and Museum. By his death it is stated that he had ‘built up one of the largest private collections in New Zealand of greenstone ornaments, implements and other native objects.’ The use of interior motifs and carved furniture may also have been influenced by his brother Henry Evan Lloyd (1868-1955), a builder in Maraia, who had begun carving Maori designs on domestic items in his own house and garden in circa 1914. Prior to the construction of Whare Tane, a bach for the Lloyd family in the Waitakere foothills had also been erected in the form of a meeting house, with carvings supplied by Trevor Lloyd.

Carvings at Whare Tane included depictions of Maori heads on the newel posts, large spiral manaia forms for brackets on an interior doorway, and heads with protruding tongues for light switches. Lloyd had frequently incorporated illustrations of ‘little Maori imps with wide mouths and goggling eyes’ in his work, and also depicted Maori in his cartoons, often satirically. Recent perspectives have seen such representations as indicative of Lloyd’s political views, which are said to have favoured distributing land to Pakeha freeholders, and as revealing ‘aspects of the complex racial ideology of Europeans in the first decades of the twentieth century, a racial ideology that that we are still struggling to unravel…’.

The broader Pakeha use of Maori design has also been seen as a response to a growing nationalism and sense of place, in a similar way to Lloyd’s use of the kiwi in his cartoons and native flora in his etchings. A trend for incorporating Maori motifs, designs and carvings had previously emerged at the end of the nineteenth century along with the use of Maori house names, although the number of Pakeha New Zealanders using Maori-influenced design elements before the First World War (1914-18) remained small. Increasing interest in New Zealand identity in the 1920s may be seen in the use of Maori- and other New Zealand-influenced design in structures such as the Auckland War Memorial Museum (1924-9).

Subsequent modification and use (1927 onwards)

Lloyd’s interest in aspects of Maori culture continued after Whare Tane was completed. In 1927, he exhibited etchings of native bush and ‘Maori fancies’ at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts. In the same year a garage was constructed on his property which, like the main residence, incorporated Maori-influenced figures and a - possibly invented - te reo-based name, Te Whareka. A ‘root store’ bearing Maori-style decoration was excavated into the hill above the house.

A sunken front garden at Whare Tane incorporated a large amount of local stone in its revetments and paths. Interest in rockeries as a garden style grew out of a developing awareness and interest in the colony’s indigenous plants and alpine species as early as the 1880s. The trend accelerated following publication of David Tannock’s Rock Gardening in New Zealand (1924), after which rock gardens continued to enjoy immense popularity until the late 1930s. Stone walls along the front boundaries of residential properties were also popular and, as at Whare Tane, were kept low to allow the garden to be seen from the road. The Lloyds’ garden, located within a quarried area between the street and the residence, was particularly visible to passers by.

In 1930, Trevor Lloyd was replaced as principal cartoonist at the New Zealand Herald by Gordon Minhinnick. Lloyd continued to contribute to the Auckland Weekly News and to the Saturday supplement of the Herald until his retirement in 1936. His use of the kiwi as a national symbol persisted into his cartoon work of this period. Political drawings also remained wide-ranging, touching on many of the most important issues of the day including the Great Depression, the rise of fascism in Europe, and the election of New Zealand’s first Labour Government in 1935. Lloyd additionally continued to produce etchings of ‘native trees, plants, and birds’ and occasionally of Maori.

Lloyd died at Whare Tane in 1937, having been one of the country's leading political cartoonists for 32 years. Shortly before his death, it was stated that ‘his etchings of New Zealand flora are a real contribution to the country’s serious art.’

Whare Tane subsequently passed to Lloyd’s widow, Emily, and following her death in 1947, to the couple’s daughters Olive (1904-78) and Constance (1895-1982). Both women had attended the Elam Art School. Connie, who used the basement of the house as her workroom in latter years, was a portrait photographer but is chiefly known for her etching work.

Connie Lloyd’s death ended the family’s five-and-a-half-decade association with the place, and the property was onsold in 1983. A retrospective display of Trevor Lloyd’s work was organised in the same year at the Rotorua Art Gallery. Subsequent proposals for a minor addition at the rear of the house; and for an additional wing to the front of the basement level never came to fruition. Structural work to repair the entrance porch was carried out in 2010. The property remains in private ownership.

Physical Description

Context

Whare Tane is situated in Epsom, an inner suburb of Auckland. Located to the southeast of Auckland’s main city centre, Epsom is a predominantly a residential area containing a number of recognised historic houses. The dwelling occupies a north-facing site on the lower slopes of Maungawhau (Mt Eden). Maungawhau is currently used as a recreational reserve, and contains the extensive earthwork remains of a pa, mostly in pasture.

A number of notable early twentieth-century residences survive in the Epsom area. These include Ngahere, built in circa 1907-08 (Record no. 4501, Category II historic place); the circa 1914 Rannoch (Record no. 7198, Category II); a Spanish Mission-style former janitor’s house (Record no. 4532, Category II historic place) constructed in 1914-15 in association with Auckland Grammar School; and Stoneways constructed in 1925-6 (Record no. 4499, Category I historic place).

Whare Tane is also located a short distance from Mt Eden Prison in Lauder Road (Record no. 88, Category I historic place), the Auckland Grammar School Main Block (Record no. 4471, Category I historic place), and Auckland Grammar War Memorial (Record no. 4472, Category I historic place) in Mountain Road. Like Whare Tane, the Auckland Grammar School Main Block and the Janitor’s House - both completed in 1916 in the Spanish Mission style - reflect the influence of particular American styles on New Zealand architecture. Stoneways is also an example of modern forward-looking influences in New Zealand domestic housing in the 1920s. Mt Eden Prison incorporates the use of local basalt.

Site layout

The site is an irregularly-shaped, steeply sloping lot of 817 square metres. The residence is set within the rear portion of the site and parallel to the street. It is cut into the hillside, surrounded by a sunken garden to the front (north) and a steep rocky garden to the sides and rear. A small garage lies on the Clive Road frontage at the western end of the property. A smaller outbuilding, also cut into the hillside, lies immediately to the rear of the main residence.

Access to the house is via a stone causeway at the eastern end of the property. The sunken garden is revetted by a series of basalt walls and incorporates curvilinear paths and plant beds, edged with irregular basalt fragments. Mature trees in this area are largely exotic species, while smaller trees include a number of well-established camellias. New Zealand flora is represented by ponga, nikau and flax. Subtropical species occupy the higher, more open slopes to the south of the house. A flight of concrete steps bounded by basalt walls winds up to the formal entrance on the building’s east side and further up to the rear entrance. Near the front porch a plastered concrete statue with tattooed spirals, ‘Tane-Mahuta’, supports a plinth for a sundial - a feature that appears to have been in place since before 1928.

Main building - exterior

The house can be broadly described as a Chicago and Prairie style building constructed on a slope.

The structure consists of a tall vertical block with a strong horizontal line provided by heavily exaggerated eaves at the roof line. The basement level is finished with basalt and incorporates arch-headed openings. The two upper floors are of ferro-concrete construction. The placement of windows in bands on the ground and first floor of the façade, and the use of strip window hoods above the ground floor windows also accentuates the horizontal line of the building.

A heavy entrance porch standing on a basalt base at the northeast corner of the facade; and an impressive rectangular-profiled concrete pier at the opposite (northwest) corner, impart a monumental quality.

The north and west exterior walls have unusual timber trelliswork, consisting of a single horizontal row between ground and first floor levels linked by a centrally located vertical row of large open rectangles (some containing a diagonal cross). The vertical rows terminate in an arched head. The trelliswork is part of the original design, although the actual timber has recently been repaired or replaced.

The flat roof has been re-clad with Dimondek steel or similar. Concrete parapets rise above the roof, continuing the line of the external walls and accentuating the extremely wide eaves. A flagpole is located at the east end of the front parapet; and a large metal kiwi weathervane is attached to the metal cowling of a chimney stack. Both are emblems of national identity, a concept which the works of illustrator and cartoonist Trevor Lloyd did much to promote.

Main building - interior

The main building interior was not inspected but is described from architectural plans prepared in the 1980s and from other available information, including that provided by the owner.

Internally the house consists of a discrete three-room basement; a ground floor containing a large hall, sleeping accommodation and a bathroom; and the first floor accommodating the living space.

The basement extends for half the depth of the building footprint. It is divided into three spaces: a small room located on the east side (under the main entrance porch above) and two equally-sized, interconnecting rooms. There is no internal stair from the basement to the ground floor.

Access is via an external door.

On the ground floor, the main entrance opens into a large space (described in 1928 as a lounge with rimu wainscoting) from which an internal stairway ascends to the upper floor. A bedroom, bathroom and study are located on the southern half of the ground floor with a further bedroom in the northwest corner. Carved decorative elements suggesting Maori influences decorate two panels above the entrance to the rear hall, and two newel posts. There are also small decorative motifs on the fireplace surround on the upper floor.

The kitchen, dining room (with small balcony formed by the roof of the porch on the east side), and a spacious living room are located on the top floor. Significant features of the upstairs lounge are a massive stone chimney, and exposed rafters. Exposed beams within the building are said to be of Oregon timber.

Views of the city may be obtained from the flat roof, which is accessed by a small stairway.

Outbuildings

The brick garage on the Clive Road frontage at the west end of the property incorporates a basalt string course; arched niche; and other features, including two plasterwork or concrete heads with paua-shell eyes and protruding tongues at each end of its front elevation. It also has a centrally-located head above a concrete name plaque ‘Te Whareka’, over the vehicular entrance.

A small outbuilding behind the house is a ‘root store’. It has carved door surrounds and other elements bearing Maori influences.

The outbuilding interiors were not inspected.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1925 - 1926

Original Construction
1927 -
Original construction of garage.

Construction Details

Basalt and concrete footings, ferro-concrete walls, steel roof.

Completion Date

29th March 2011

Report Written By

M. Jones, J. McKenzie

Information Sources

Brookes, 2000

B. Brookes (ed.), 'At Home in New Zealand', Wellington, 2000

Bush, 2006

G.W.A Bush, (ed.), The History of Epsom, Auckland, 2006

Hitchcock, 1958

Henry-Russell Hitchcock, Architecture, Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, 1958

Dawson, 2010

Bee Dawson, A History of Gardening in New Zealand, Auckland, 2010

Blackley, 1990

Roger Blackley, Two Centuries of New Zealand Landscape Art, Auckland, c.1990

Other Information

A fully referenced registration report is available from the NZHPT Northern Region Office

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.