Hawthorn Dene

280 Botany Rd, Howick, Manukau

  • Hawthorn Dene.
    Copyright: Howick and Districts Historical Society. Taken By: Trevor McFarlane.
  • .
    Copyright: Howick and Districts Historical Society. Taken By: Trevor McFarlane.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7173 Date Entered 21st April 1994


City/District Council

Auckland Council (Manukau City Council)


Auckland Council

Legal description

pt allotment 96 Parish of Pakuranga



"Hawthorn Farm" was owned and farmed consecutively by Robert Hattaway (b1827 - d1904) and three generations of his descendants also of the same name. The name "Hawthorn Dene" was given to the house by the late Rev Hattaway when he became the owner in 1968.

The house occupies a remnant of a 110 acre allotment which, along with an adjoining block of 71 acres, were Crown Grants secured in 1852 and 1853 respectively by Benjamin Lewis of Howick. Lewis was the owner/publican of the "Royal Hotel", now "Shamrock Cottage", which was established in 1848 within months of Howick's settlement. In 1854 Lewis conveyed both allotments to his son Francis Charles Lewis (Charles b1830 - d1898) who had that year purchased by Crown Grant a neighbouring block of 64 acres. The three allotments combined to give Charles Lewis a farm holding of 246 acres. Local history relates that the house now known as "Hawthorn Dene" was built around 1856 and is the only house to have occupied the property. It has not been possible to verify the date of the building. Charles Lewis was the owner of a house known as "Tamaki Grove" in 1851, however, this precedes the Crown Grant for the allotment upon which "Hawthorn Dene" stands by some ten months. Also, electoral rolls for the period July 1854 to June 1858 give Howick as Lewis' place of abode rather than East Tamaki. Notice of his marriage published in February 1860 describes him as being of East Tamaki. The house presumably occupied the property by then. It would not be unreasonable to suggest 1859 as the likely date of construction. Rev. Hattaway's account of the farm's history relates that Lewis was a stock inspector and grazed cattle on the property. Although Lewis did not sell his farm to Robert Hattaway until 1873 electoral rolls suggest that from 1866 he lived at Remuera. Suggestions that a sister of Prime Minister WF Massey (b1856 - d 1925) once lived at "Hawthorn Dene" have not been verified to date.

Robert Hattaway (c1827 - d1904), the great-grandfather of the late Rev. Hattaway, arrived at the Bay of Islands in 1845. A colour-sergeant in the 58th regiment he retired from the army and set up a general store/butchery/bakery in Howick in 1856. In 1863 he became a captain in the Auckland Militia, Howick being the headquarters of the 3rd Battalion. He built a two-storeyed house on his farm in Cascade Road in 1866 a short distance to the west of Hawthorn Farm. Ten years after purchasing Hawthorn Farm in 1873 Robert Hattaway gifted allotment 96 (110 acres being the "Hawthorn Dene" property) to his son Robert (b1852 - 1915) although for several years this continued to be worked in conjunction with the remainder of the Hawthorn and Cascade Farm properties. In 1894 and 1895 the remainder of the original 246 acre property was transferred to two of Captain Hattaway's other sons. Mainly wheat, oats and barley were grown on the property until the early 1920s when milk was produced for town supply. In 1953 the farm passed into the ownership of Rev Hattaway's father and then upon his death in 1967 to Rev. Hattaway. In 1972, 102 acres were taken by the Crown for state housing purposes reducing the property to 8 acres. This left the core of the farm (the house, orchards and outbuildings) remaining.

The early section of the building with carved numerals on its timbers is of considerable historical interest as an example of early colonial cottage construction. It is not known, however, whether the presence of numerals necessarily indicates that the building was prefabricated or pre-cut. Swainson records that "houses in frame" to the value of 1,600 pounds 10 shillings were exported from the port of Auckland during the year 1852, however, the availability of such structures on the local market is not well documented. Rev. Hattaway records houses similar in style to "Hawthorn Dene" in the Howick/East Tamaki area which along with historical photographs suggests it was a popular design.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

"Hawthorn Dene" survives as an example of an early farm house of the type built during the 1850s when farms were taken up in the Tamaki area. Although not associated with great historical events or famous people its significance lies in its little modified state and its 150 year association with ordinary farming life some of which has been recorded by the Hattaway family. The hawthorn hedges, orchard and garden are also of heritage significance not only for the contribution they make to the homestead setting but also as a genetic record of domestic plant material and the historical rural landscape.


"Hawthorn Dene" can be described as an English Colonial house. Believed to have been constructed in the 1850s it owes its considerable architectural significance to its near original condition. Additions made to the house c1902 do not detract from the building's architectural quality. The two portions each maintain their original character and integrity but are not out of keeping with one another and the interior presents an harmonious whole. The building is an example of an early colonial farmhouse built in the simplified Regency manner.


Although orientated to Botany Road, the house is masked by the hawthorn hedges which delineate the paddocks. Access is by means of a 200m driveway lined by fruit trees. The homestead with its overgrown flower garden and orchard is complemented by its setting in mature trees.


Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description


Not known


A close inspection of the structure suggests that it initially comprised two main rooms separated by a central passage. (This section of the building utilises mortise and tenon joints and roman numerals are visible chiselled on the top plate.) The passage opens into a dining room, part of which also serves as an informal corridor to a bedroom and the kitchen. Off the kitchen, a sink bench has been installed in a scullery area. The back door, bathroom and toilet are reached from the kitchen via a modified bedroom. In the yard immediately adjoining the house is a hand pump which supplied water from a well. A return verandah runs along the western and much of the northern sides of the house terminating at each end in a small room. Off the front bedroom is small dressing room which also provides external access on the south side.

The house is single storeyed characterised by a symmetrical front elevation. A central door is flanked on either side by a 12 light double hung sash window. The hipped roof has a centre gutter and a mono-pitched roof lean-to covers the kitchen and amenities area. The roof has a small eaves overhang below which extends a wide verandah supported by pairs of wooden verandah posts characteristic of the Regency style. Access to the elevated verandah is provided by simple wooden steps at three points. A brick chimney serves the fire place in the parlour. The chimney for the open fire in the dining room which backed on to the coal range in the kitchen is plastered brick. With the exception of the scullery/amenities area and part of the rear bedroom the house retains its original fittings and joinery. Wallpapers in the front bedroom, dressing room and rear bedroom are of some antiquity.


- date unknown - pitch of east side of front hipped roof altered and roof extended.

-c1902 - house extended to the east providing dining room, kitchen and two additional bedrooms, shingle roof replaced with corrugated steel, verandah extended on northern side of house and north east verandah room built.

- date unknown - Original coal range removed and replaced by eclectic stove; renovation of the open fire place in front parlour; sheet wall board lining in dining room and south west verandah room.

- post 1967 - small room at south west corner of verandah converted to an oratory.

- c1991 - 1992- a bathroom at the rear of the house converted to a small kitchen/scullery area and a bathroom and toilet, access to back porch provided by alteration of rear bedroom.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1856 -

Construction Details

- Concrete piles (repiling date not known)

- Timber frame

- Plain weatherboard cladding

- Hipped corrugated steel roof

Information Sources

Auckland Waikato Historical Society Journal

Auckland Waikato Historical Society Journal

Hattaway, Rev. R - 'Early Farming at Howick', pp24-27, No. 41, September 1982

'Life at Hawthorn Farm', pp19-21 in AWHJ No. 61, September 1992

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ)

Land Information New Zealand

CT 765/238, 1058/212, 30A/155

New Zealander

New Zealander

13/12/1851 p2 (3) (death M Fairburn)

8/2/1860 p2(6) (marriage CF Lewis)

16/6/1855 p6(4) (wooden houses for sale)

Salmond, 1986

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

pp28, 82, 97-8

Southern Cross

Southern Cross

27/7/1849 p3(1) (portable kauri houses, shipment to California)

La Roche, 1991

A La Roche. The History of Howick and Pakuranga, Auckland, 1991

pp54 & 183

Manukau City Council

Manukau City Council

Historic Buildings of Manukau City, Auckland, 1980

Town Planning File for Scheduled item 22/2

Swainson, 1853

W Swainson, Auckland, The Capital of New Zealand, London, 1853


Howick Historical Society Magazine

Howick Historical Society Magazine

La Roche, A, 'Obituary Rev. R Hattaway', April 1992

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.