37 Wairakei Street, Greenlane, Auckland

  • Cotswalds. Print from slide 1991 from Jeremy Salmond. NZHPT Field Record Forms. Auckland City Council.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 5440 Date Entered 22nd April 1993


City/District Council

Auckland Council (Auckland City Council)


Auckland Council

Legal description

Pt Allot 7 Sec 12 Suburbs of Auckland (CT NA580/223), North Auckland Land District



The house was designed in 1913 for Phillip Edward Cleave (c. 1886-1966) who was engaged to be married to Millicent May Lothian (c. 1884-1950), daughter of a Presbyterian minister. Architect, William Gummer had recently returned from England and worked from an office in the Cleave's Safe Deposit building, on the corner of Vulcan Lane and High Street. Construction of the house commenced at the beginning of July 1913 using day labour, and was completed some time before February 1914 when the couple returned from honeymoon to take up residence. The current owner/occupier Miss Ruth Cleave, who inherited the house from her father, was born there. The gardens laid out by Phillip Cleave were completed in 1925.

Phillip Cleave was the son of prominent Auckland businessman, publisher and pioneer motorist Arthur Cleave, and with other brothers became involved in the family business largely as accountant, manager and director. Graham Street, as it was originally known, was renamed Wairakei Street in 1917 at the request of Arthur Cleave, taking its name from a company of the same name with which the Cleaves were associated. The land on the southern side of the street was owned exclusively by members of the family well into the 1930s.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The house is notable for its unbroken association with the Cleave family.


The single-storeyed house is a fine example of the Domestic Revival Style applied to New Zealand conditions. Features such as the casement windows with small panes set in rows or massed in bays were found in houses designed by principle exponent of the style, Sir Edwin Lutyens, for whom Gummer worked in England. There is little applied decoration but the Arts and Crafts' principle of honest use of materials, principally brick, is closely adhered to. Consistent with these principles, the house is irregular in plan and elevation. The building is of great significance as an example of Gummer's early domestic architectural work. The house retains its original integrity and has been well maintained since construction. It is one of the most intact examples of the houses known to have been designed by Gummer, and is important in revealing the influence and quality of his early work.


The house is located on a knoll towards the back of the site allowing development of formal rose garden near the street, large lawn (once a grass tennis court) and informal terraced area leading up to the house. The house is visible from the adjoining southern motorway but in keeping with the Arts and Crafts style, blends well with its setting.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Gummer, William Henry

Gummer (1884-1966) was articled to W.A. Holman, an Auckland architect, and qualified as an Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1910. From 1908 to 1913 he travelled in the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States. During this time he worked for Edwin Lutyens, a leading English architect of the time, and for Daniel Burnham in Chicago. Burnham was a major American architect and one of the founders of the influential Chicago School of Architecture.

Gummer joined the firm of Hoggard and Prouse of Auckland and Wellington in 1913. Significant commissions undertaken during this period included the New Zealand Insurance (later known as the Guardian Trust) Building, Auckland (1914-18).

In 1923 Gummer, one of the most outstanding architects working in New Zealand in the first half of the twentieth century, joined with Charles Reginald Ford (1880-1972) to create an architectural partnership of national significance. The practice was responsible for the design of the Dilworth Building (1926), Auckland, the Dominion Museum (1936) and the State Insurance Building (1940), both Wellington. Gummer and Ford were awarded Gold Medals by the New Zealand Institute of Architects for their designs of the Auckland Railway Station and Remuera Library.

Gummer was also responsible for the Bridge of Remembrance, Christchurch and the Cenotaph in Dunedin (1927), and the stylistically and structurally advanced Tauroa (1916), Craggy Range (1919), Arden (1926) and Te Mata (1935) homesteads at Havelock North. Elected a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Architects in 1914, he was president of the Institute from 1933-4 and was later elected a life member.

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description


The single-storeyed house is in the English Domestic Revival style. The formal entry porch opens into a hall of generous proportions. To the right is the drawing room, to the left the master bedroom. Access to the bathroom and an adjoining bedroom is also from this hall. The hall narrows, giving access to a third bedroom and the dining room. A passage then runs at right angles to the kitchen and back door. A servery offers a more direct access from dining room to kitchen. Behind the kitchen are pantry and scullery. The scullery opens onto a porch and courtyard the latter formed by a small wing of out-buildings housing lavatory, wash house and former "servant's" room. Access is also provided to the rear courtyard externally from the front, down the side of the house, by means of a doorway to the roofed porch area. (The configuration of the kitchen, scullery, back porch and linked out-buildings is similar to "Te Mahoe" at Takapuna, also designed by Gummer in 1913.)

The main facade, overlooking Wairakei Street, has two bays corresponding with the drawing room and master bedroom. The drawing room has five casement windows, each with six lights, extending to the eaves, and two further casements on each side of the bay. The master bedroom has a single row of small windows under the eaves. A degree of shelter and privacy is afforded the centrally located entrance porch by an unglazed timber screen, the rectangles of which correspond in size to panes in the adjoining windows. Natural light to the porch is supplemented by a flat dormer above. The dormer is clad with hanging tiles which are also found on the main gables of the house. The narrow edge of such tiles are used as a string course below the wall copings at the main entry porch and along the low verandah wall on the north-eastern side of the house. The slate roof is hipped with milan tiles along the ridges.

Along the side of the house french doors open from the dining room and the master bedroom onto a verandah contained within the roof line and supported by pairs of square posts. A set of brick steps provides access to the garden.

Inside the frieze line is a plate rail in the case of the dining room, hall and drawing room, or picture rail in the bedrooms. Fireplaces, a feature of the house, extend to the height of the rails. This horizontal line is only broken by tall windows. The drawing room fireplace is articulated by an alcove in the frieze and ceiling and is flanked on either side by a recessed niche. Two of the three bedrooms have fireplaces. The dining room and drawing room have window seats with timber panelling. The dining room ceiling has dark beams and timber panels. Wallpaper in the master bedroom dates from 1934, the paper in the second bedroom is likely to be of similar age. The bathroom has a white tiled dado, relieved towards the top by a band of green tiles and green tile dado rail. Doors throughout the house are original, predominantly with three narrow vertical panels with a narrow horizontal panel below.

The kitchen is little altered, although an electric stove and brick fireplace now occupy the alcove which originally accommodated coal and gas stoves side by side. The sink bench has been moved from the scullery to the kitchen.



Electricity installed for lighting and heating, (previously gas)

post 1950

Coal range removed from kitchen and brick fireplace installed in half of the alcove leaving original gas stove in place.


Hot water service installed

Scullery converted into laundry

Sink bench moved from scullery to kitchen

New bath, toilet and hand basin installed in bathroom

post 1966

Galvanised steel guttering and downpipes replaced with copper


Original gas stove removed from kitchen and electric stove installed alongside brick fireplace.

Notable Features

- The unmodified state of the house internally and externally

- Wallpapers in the master bedroom and second bedroom (adjoining the bathroom)

- Original fireplaces in the drawing room and two bedrooms

- Dining room inglenook complete with small leadlight window

- Timber panelling and beams in the dining room (stained finish)

- Tiled bathroom

- Hanging tiles on dormer and gables

- Out-building to the rear of the house which were part of the architect's design

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1913 -

Construction Details

cavity brick walls, in stretcher bond

slate roof

Information Sources

Auckland University

Auckland University

Sheppard Collection - Auckland University Architecture School Library

File G.50 - Gummer, W H

Cleave's Auckland Provincial Directory

Cleave's Auckland Provincial Directory, Auckland

Obituary Scrap Book

Obituary Scrap Book

August 1933 p.110, Arthur Cleave (held by Auckland Public Library)

Births Deaths and Marriages

Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages

Register of Deaths, Justice Department, Kingston Street, Auckland

- Millicent May Cleave, d. 8.8.1950, entry 870

- Phillip Edward Cleave, d. 19.8.1966, entry 2549

Keyes, 1917

Nann Keyes and Co., Modern Homes of New Zealand by Architects of Standing, Auckland, 1917

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.