Hatten House and Coach House

1228 Matawai Road, Ormond

  • Hatten House.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust.
  • Coach House.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7632 Date Entered 9th December 2005


Extent of List Entry

The registration includes all of the land in CT GS2D/44 and the house, coach house and outside toilet, and their fixtures and fittings, thereon. It incorporates garden elements such as a circular front path and

historic plantings, including a large Norfolk Island pine, a pepper tree and fruit trees.

City/District Council

Gisborne District


Gisborne Region

Legal description

Sec 37 Town of Ormond (CT GS2D/44)

Location description

Corner of Whitmore Road


The Hatten House and Coach House are among the earliest colonial-era buildings surviving in Ormond, in Poverty Bay. They reflect aspects of the development of transport and small-scale entrepreneurship in the region. The timber structures are believed to have been erected in the early 1880s by William Hatten (1854-1954), a local coach owner and farmer. Located on the main overland route between Poverty Bay and the Bay of Plenty, Ormond was founded as a colonial settlement following the confiscation of Maori land after the East Coast Wars of the late 1860s. An Armed Constabulary barracks was established on the banks of the Waipoua River in 1870 and military settlers awarded surrounding land in the newly-surveyed township. William Hatten - a migrant from the English Midlands - was offered road building work in the mid 1870s in the developing region, soon settling in Ormond. By 1882 he had set up a coach service between the township and Gisborne, a distance of some 20 km, carrying passengers and goods. The horse-drawn service formed a vital link between the two largest settlements in the region during the late nineteenth century, remaining in operation until Hatten's retirement in 1915. By this time, it had been superceded by a rail link established in 1902 and the advent of motorised road transportation.

The Hatten House was built as a family home for William Hatten and his wife Ellen, and is said to have been ready for their marriage in early 1884. Of timber frame and weatherboard construction, the ornamental style and moderately large scale of the villa marked it out as the residence of a person of local means. The single-storey structure had a verandah on three sides, a central through passage providing access to four main rooms - including a parlour and two bedrooms - and a lean-to with service rooms to the rear. An outbuilding and outside toilet were also erected a short distance to the east. In spite of occupying a 0.4 ha (one acre) section, the house was built a comparatively short distance from the front of the plot, with its main elevation facing the main Gisborne road. Its small front garden contained a circular path, surrounding a Norfolk Island Pine. The Hattens were noted for their interest in horticulture, also planting items such as a pepper tree and exotic fruit in the garden. These, the circular front path, Norfolk Island Pine and the detached toilet still survive.

The Coach House was erected to the rear of the house, probably in the 1880s. Designed according to similar symmetrical design precepts as the house, the timber frame and weatherboard building contained stalls for several horses and space for more than one carriage in the main body of the building, with lean-tos on either side holding additional rooms for the storage of a cart and other equipment. Alterations were carried out in 1907 by Hatten and his son Stanley, when an enclosed chaff loft and harness room appears to have been erected or extended. The residence was occupied by William Hatten until his death aged 100 in 1954, after which it was lived in by his daughter Lily, a local historian and Sunday School teacher. Alterations to the villa interior were carried out in the 1980s, following Lily's death. Modifications included the removal of some internal walls, and the conjoining of the rear outbuilding to the main body of the house. The lean-to on the south side of the coach house was also demolished at this time.

The Hatten House and Coach House are considered significant for their aesthetic, architectural and historical values.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The Hatten House and Coach House, including their associated property, are historically significant for their connections with the development of settler society in Poverty Bay during the late nineteenth-century, and particularly in the early township of Ormond. They also reflect the development of transport networks and small-scale entrepreneurship in the region, and the often close relationship between work and residence during the later colonial period.

The place has some historical significance for its association with the introduction of exotic plants to the Ormond region, and for its connections with William Ford Hatten, a prominent early settler of Ormond and the Poverty Bay district, and Lily Hatten, a local historian who made an important contribution to Ormond through her school and church work. The place also has some significance for its connections with Archdeacon Samuel Williams, who provided William Hatten with a substantial mortgage on the property, enabled him to run his coaching business over several decades.

Located on a prominent corner site beside the busy Matawai Road (State Highway 2), the place can be considered to have aesthetic value for the simplicity and attractiveness of its buildings, and for its mature historic plantings. The size and prominent location of the Norfolk Island pine, in particular, marks it out as a local landmark.

The place has architectural significance for the Victorian Regency style of the house, which is considered to be unusual in the Gisborne district. The coach house also has architectural value as an uncommon local survival of a purpose-built commercial structure of this type.

Some of the historic plantings on the property may be of scientific interest as early specimens within the region. This aspect of significance requires further evidence.

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

The place reflects important and representative aspects of New Zealand history, including the development of Ormond as an early township in Poverty Bay. It particularly reflects the significance of trade and transport between Ormond and Gisborne - the two largest colonial settlements in the region - as well as the role of small-scale enterprise, horse care, and domestic life in late nineteenth-century settler society.

(c) The potential of the place to provide knowledge of New Zealand history

The place has potential to provide information about New Zealand history through its surviving physical fabric and association with well-preserved documentary records about the Hatten family. The coach house, in particular, can provide information about horse care and aspects of commercial organisation linked to nineteenth and early twentieth-century horse transport. The garden layout and historic plantings may be able to provide information about garden design and the introduction of exotic species.

The uncommon survival of a commercial coach house and domestic residence on the same property has potential to provide information about the close relationship between home and work in settler society. The outside toilet has the potential to provide information about attitudes to hygiene in the past.

Archaeological deposits associated with the buildings and their use may survive within the property.

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

The house is believed to be of unusual architectural style in the Gisborne district, incorporating strong Victorian Regency influences such as a broadly symmetrical external appearance, delicate detailing and an unbalustraded wrap-around verandah. Its nineteenth-century external appearance is largely retained, with some relatively minor modifications.

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

The Hatten House and Coach House form part of a comparatively well-preserved late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century historical landscape, which includes the colonial town layout of Ormond and buildings such as the former Police Station, dating to 1886. The site of what was reputedly the earliest bridge in Poverty Bay is located immediately to the southwest of the property, beneath the Matawai Road.


Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

The development of Ormond

Ormond was a major settlement in Poverty Bay during the late nineteenth century, being located on the overland route between Gisborne and the Bay of Plenty. The colonial township was initially surveyed on the Te Muhunga Block, following surrender of the land by Maori to the Crown as partial compensation for the East Coast Wars in 1869. The Armed Constabulary established a barracks on the bank of the Waipaoa River from 1870, and military settlers were awarded sections in the newly-surveyed township by lot. The withdrawal of the Armed Constabulary in 1877 reflected the increasing security of the area. The settlement's economy was largely based on agricultural produce, being located on fertile land. Ormond continued to grow as a township in the later nineteenth century, having a larger population than Gisborne for some time. It declined during the early twentieth century, however, as the mechanisation of farming drastically reduced the need for rural workers.

William Hatten and the Hatten House

The Hatten House appears to have been erected in the early 1880s on a 0.4 hectare (one acre) plot - Section 37 - laid out during the 1869-70 survey. The land was initially granted by the Crown to Emily Caulton, as part of a four-acre block in her possession. Formal conveyance of Section 37 to William Hatten did not occur until 1886, although the land is believed to have been in his use for several years previously during which time he constructed the main residence. The land was purchased for £500, although Hatten subsequently took out a substantial mortgage of £2000 to Archdeacon Samuel Williams of Te Aute. The debt bore 8% interest and twice-yearly repayments of £800, taking until 1925 to be repaid. Williams was a prominent missionary and founder of Te Aute College, who in later life also became a wealthy landowner and public benefactor.

William Ford Hatten (1854-1954) was born in Stratford-on-Avon, in the English Midlands, and emigrated to New Zealand in 1874. Having worked with horses for the Great Western Railway Company in Birmingham, he was offered work on the expanding road network in Poverty Bay soon after his arrival in Auckland. Within three weeks of disembarking in the Bay, he took a job driving Bidgood's Ormond-Gisborne carriage service, which involved cutting firewood for delivery to Gisborne, sometimes returning with brewery soot for use as top-dressing.

After a few years based in Ormond and at the Masonic Stables in Gisborne, Hatten went into partnership with a 'Farmer Jones', engaging in farm work for a period. In March 1882, he started a new Ormond-Gisborne coach service known as the Ormond Line in partnership with Mr Bond, probably James Bond (1829-1883?) who was the father of his future wife. Bond had been one of the earliest milk vendors in Gisborne and had earlier served as a gunner-driver in the British Royal Artillery.

Initially competition for custom between the burgeoning settlements of Ormond and Gisborne was fierce, with three services plying the route. Hatten and Bond were the first to offer a daily return service for passengers with stops at Waerenga-a-hika, Makauri and Makaraka, and also transported parcels and goods. Maori passengers outnumbered Pakeha in the early 1880s, including many who travelled to Gisborne to collect seafood from the foreshore. Payment from these customers was sometimes in kind. Transported goods included everything from cheese to water tanks, and if customers were unable to travel William Hatten would undertake shopping on their behalf. Early business may have relied heavily on supplying timber to Gisborne, as Hatten and Bond also gained use of the Karaka Sawmill in December 1882. Hatten appears to have taken sole ownership of the coach service from July 1883, perhaps as a result of his partner's death.

William Hatten married Ellen Bond, daughter of James, in January 1884. According to their daughter Lily, the Hatten house was built before the wedding: 'my father brought his bride to the home he had built for her'. The timber for the single-storeyed villa may have come from the Karaka Sawmill, or from one of two other mills operating in the early 1880s on Whitmore Road. The house was constructed on the corner of Whitmore Road and the main Ormond-Gisborne thoroughfare, immediately to the north of a bridge over the Muhunga Creek, reputedly the oldest such structure in Poverty Bay. It is not known who designed and built the Hatten residence, although the owner of both the Karaka and Ormond Sawmills during 1883 was C.D. Berry, who tendered for building work locally during this period.

The residence was large in relation to many of the dwellings in the early settlement, marking William Hatten as a man of comparative means. Its construction contrasted with the first colonial dwelling in the Ormond Valley just over a decade earlier, which had been brought up in two sections from Gisborne, mounted on a sledge and drawn by bullocks. The Hatten house appears to have been deliberately constructed on tall piles, approximately one metre above the ground, presumably to protect it against the frequent floods suffered in Ormond at the time. This may have been particularly necessary given its proximity to the Muhunga Creek.

The Coach House and gardens

William Hatten's livelihood until 1915, when his coach service ceased, depended on the well-being of his horses. Initially improved by the Armed Constabulary in the 1870s, the road between Ormond and Gisborne was nevertheless frequently difficult due muddy conditions although by 1883 at least part of it appears to have been macadamised. In order to make sure he could complete the run, Hatten initially drove four horses on his coach. In later years he was able to cut it down to three when the weather was good. He always had two teams available.

The construction date for Hatten's coach house, located a short distance to the rear of the residence, is unknown although it is considered likely to be broadly contemporary with the house. The timber, gabled structure appears to have initially consisted of a rectangular stables and coach house, with stalls for several horses on its northern side and room for at least one carriage in its central aisle. Harness equipment may have been kept on the southern side of the stables and coach house, with feed stored above. Lean-tos attached to either side of the building probably contained further equipment, with that on the northern side having double doors to allow access for a cart. Hatten's first coach was imported from Auckland and is said to have cost £40. The one acre section on which the house and coach house are located is likely to have been purchased not only for its proximity to the main Gisborne Road, but also for the presence of the Muhunga Creek, which was immediately adjacent to the northeastern corner of the property. Water was an important resource for maintaining the general health and cleanliness of horses.

Although Hatten drove the coach himself in the early years of the Ormond Line, he also maintained an interest in farming and horticulture. The family worked a farm at Kaiteratahi, north of Ormond, partly to provide oats for his horses. In the late 1880s, Hatten planted an orchard on the outskirts of Ormond, which is said to have been one of the first commercial orchards in Poverty Bay. This held a considerable variety of fruits, including pears, peaches, apples and Satsuma plums, provided by Henry Bull, Gisborne's first nurseryman. The gardens around the house may also have been planted from an early stage. A photograph of the house and coach house, possibly taken in 1907, shows a number of mature trees, including a possible orchard in the northern part of the property and a formal front garden containing a circular path around a Norfolk Island pine. The remainder of the garden incorporated both native trees and imported plants such as roses, and the house was enclosed behind a white picket fence. The Norfolk pine is said to have been given to William and Ellen when they first occupied the house. Norfolk Island pines were among trees being sold locally in 1883.

Subsequent development

William and Ellen Hatten raised five children at the house, with the eldest son Charles (Charlie) eventually helping to drive the coach and contributing with the farm work. Much of the farming was taken over by Hatten's second son, Stanley. Some of this activity is chronicled in William Hatten's own reminiscences, as well as surviving accounts by other family members. A diary written by Stanley Hatten in 1907, notes that significant modifications were carried out on the coach house - referred to by him as the stable buildings - in this year. Alterations appear to have included adding an enclosed chaff loft, mending the stalls and replacing earlier cladding with rusticated weatherboards.

The Ormond Line operated until 1915, the year William Hatten turned 61 and retired. By then there was serious competition, both from the railway (the line to Gisborne was opened in 1902) and from motorised transport firms. As the coach service was a family business, it may be there was no one to drive it after the onset of the First World War (1914-1918). Charles Hatten was killed while serving in this conflict.

William and Ellen Hatten continued to live in the house until their deaths in 1954 and 1948 respectively, with William - a committed Baptist - taking an interest in church work as well as running a non-denominational Sunday School. He was also a member of the Poverty Bay Old Settlers' Association. The gardens continued to have been planted with varieties of fruit and other plants. Photographs published in 1969 show grapes growing on the side verandah as well as produce from a fig tree, while Chinese Gooseberries (Kiwi fruit) were planted close to the house in 1926.

Following William Hatten's death, over 100 years old, his daughter Lily Ford Hatten (1894?-1983) continued to occupy the house. Lily was responsible for her father's accounts, and taught Sunday School as a member of the Presbyterian congregation at Ormond. She was also a local historian, giving talks at the school and writing a history of Ormond based on her father's memories and her own. When Gisborne Was Young is still the most useful published account of Ormond's history.

Lily left the house in 1980, and until her departure very few changes are believed to have been made to the residence or coach house. Following its occupation by Michael Hatten in 1984, internal alterations to the main dwelling were made, including the removal of brick chimneys and some internal partitions, notably between the former hall, parlour and dining room or kitchen. The earlier external appearance of the house and coach house have been left largely unaltered, although the southern lean-to of the latter was removed in circa 1984 after having become delapidated. Delapidation may have been caused by the prior construction of a stop bank alongside the Muhunga Creek. The house continues to be occupied by members of the Hatten family, while the coach house is currently used for storage.

Physical Description


The Hatten House and Coach House are located in the northern part of Ormond township, immediately to the north of the Muhunga Creek. The structures occupy a one-acre section at the junction of Matawai and Whitmore Roads. A flood bank occupies the eastern part of the section, but otherwise the ground is generally flat. The house faces onto the Matawai Road, which forms part of State Highway 2 between Gisborne and the Bay of Plenty. Ormond township is comprised largely of one-acre sections laid out in the 1870s, with several surviving nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century buildings. Other significant historic structures within the township include the former Police Station on Matawai Road, erected in 1886.



The house is a T-shaped villa, made up of a square core with a projecting lean-to along the eastern (rear) elevation of the building. A concave-roofed verandah extends around the front and most of both sides of the building. The timber frame structure is clad with plain weatherboards, and has a corrugated iron roof with a central gutter. The structure is raised approximately a metre from the ground, probably to counteract flooding before the construction of banked defences alongside the Muhunga Creek.

The style of the villa can be broadly described as Victorian Regency, with symmetrical elevations and a graceful appearance. Its encircling verandah is similar to contemporary domestic architecture in rural Australia, but is less common in New Zealand. The verandah is supported by slender double posts, with indications of earlier horizontal treillage immediately beneath the canopy. Turn-of-the-century photographs of the building show that this feature was carried along all three sides of the structure, creating a striking ornamental feature. The verandah remains unenclosed by a rail or balustrade, like many Australian surround verandahs. Other ornamental features include modillions, or eaves brackets, supporting the boxed eaves of the roof. Comparatively few houses of Victorian Regency style are considered to survive in the Gisborne region.

The main (western) elevation of the building has a central glass-panelled door, with double-hung four-light windows on either side. Concrete steps lead up to the verandah in front of the door, to which a metal handrail has been added. French windows on both the northern and southern sides of the building lead onto the verandah, with those on the northern side having been recently created. The doors on the southern side are flanked by double-hung windows. Further doors at the eastern end of the verandah on both northern and southern sides of the building provide external access into the lean-to.

The lean-to itself runs the full length of the eastern side of the building, retaining casement windows of both side-hinged and top-hinged type. Its rear (eastern) wall originally contained a centrally-positioned door, and has been recently been reclad in a non-timber material that simulates a weatherboard appearance. Elsewhere, the plain weatherboard cladding of the structure survives. It is unclear if the lean-to is a later addition to the main core of the dwelling, although photographic evidence shows that it had been built by the early twentieth century, if not before.

A rectangular timber structure to the rear of the house originally formed a separate, single-storey outbuilding but has been recently conjoined to the residence with infill walls. This structure has a gabled roof with open eaves, with an external doorway on its western side and a large multi-paned window in its eastern (rear) elevation. It is similarly clad in plain weatherboards, and its central position in relation to the original dwelling preserved the broadly symmetrical arrangement of the residence.


The main core of the building originally contained a central through-passage with two rooms on either side of the corridor: probably a parlour and dining room or kitchen on the northern side of the house, and two bedrooms on the south. Brick fireplaces servicing these rooms were removed in the 1980s, as were the dividing walls between the parlour and dining room/kitchen, and between these rooms and the passageway, to create a large open-plan lounge.

The lean-to at the eastern end of building was almost certainly erected to contain service rooms, a function it still retains although possibly in modified form. Today, the kitchen is located at the northern end of the lean-to, with three smaller rooms serving respectively as a laundry, wc and bathroom. The former outbuilding conjoined with the rear of the house is currently used for storage.

Detached Toilet

An outside toilet survives a short distance to the east of the house, beside a concrete water tank. This small timber building is clad with v-joint weatherboards, has a gabled roof and contains a saw-tooth ledged-and-braced door. The structure is of single-occupant type.

Coach House


The coach house is a large timber structure, originally rectangular in plan although now square after the removal of a lean-to on its southern side in circa 1984. As built, the building obeyed similar design precepts to the associated residence, having originally been of symmetrical appearance. Like the main dwelling, its main façade also faces west towards Matawai Road, although it contains less ornamentation, with decorative elements restricted to finials and oval louvres in the upper parts of the building.

The building currently incorporates a rectangular stables and coach house, one and a half storeys in height, with a lean-to under a cat-slide roof on its northern side, possibly originally used as a cart shed. A similar lean-to to the south of the stables - possibly a tool shed - was demolished in the 1980s. The gabled structure is of timber frame construction and is clad with rusticated weatherboards. Its roof is covered with corrugated iron, trademarked 'Bellona' where visible. The roof is known to have been re-clad in 1907, when Stanley Hatten purchased iron from the Williams and Kettle store in Gisborne, but further replacement may have occurred more recently.

The main western elevation incorporates a wide central doorway (door removed), with double-hung windows containing two lights on either side (frames: 1.58m x 1.4m). There is a timber louvred ventilator within an oval frame in the gable above. A small fixed-light window has been inserted above the original window to the south of the door, presumably to light an upper storage room inside the building. The lean-to has a wide door (total width c. 2.58m), consisting of two ledged-and-braced doors, which open outwards.

The rear elevation mirrors the profile of the western façade, and also incorporates a central doorway of the same size as the front entrance to the stables. This retains two ledged-and-braced doors made with T&G boards (each 148mm wide), opening outwards. A fixed window survives in the gable apex, apparently of nine-light type although some of the dividing mullions and all of the panes are missing. Most of the rear wall of the lean-to has been removed, but remnants of 305mm (12") plain weatherboarding survive near the ground towards the northern corner. No cladding survives on the northern elevation of the remaining lean-to, although its framing is in place, covered by a grapevine. Following the demolition of the southern lean-to, the southern wall of the coach house has been clad with corrugated iron. The roof is drained by modern guttering.


The interior of the main structure is rectangular in plan, with access through a double entrance on both its western and eastern sides. The eastern entrance retains its double doors, complete with metal hooks for a lockbar. The interior consists of a broad central aisle with horse stalls and a hay loft on its northern side. The stalls are separated by horizontal open rails, and provide room for eight horses (two teams of four). At least one of the stalls retains a feeding trough.

The southern side of the structure contains an enclosed harness room (now used for tool storage) and chaff loft above. This is likely to have been constructed or extended in 1907, and incorporates a narrow doorway near its western end and a timber chute for transferring feed from the loft area. It is lined with 192mm (c. 8") boards. The harness room contains brackets and shelving for holding harness and other equipment. The remainder of the southern side, outside the harness room contains work benches.

The main structure is lined with thin 305mm (12") boards. Where visible, these and other timber elements have circular saw marks. The roof is unlined, with ten pairs of crossbraced rafters

Inside the northern lean-to, timber brackets of similar type to those in the harness room survive, suggesting that equipment may have been stored here prior to, or as well as, the storage area in the main stables. A maize rick, formed of timber framing with chickenwire, could represent more recent usage. The partition wall along the southern side of the lean-to is covered in 305mm (12") sarking formed of thin undressed boards.


A number of early garden features survive, notably a circular path in the front garden. This probably dates in origin to the late nineteenth century, and encircles a large Norfolk island pine, believed to have been planted when the residence was built and having local landmark significance. Other historic plantings survive in the garden including a pepper tree to the rear of the coach house, reputed to be an early New Zealand example. At least one old pear tree survives in the northern part of the property as a remnant of a possible nineteenth-century orchard.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1883 - 1884

Original Construction
Coach House

1907 -
Coach House alterations including: replacement of previous cladding with rusticated weatherboards; addition or extension of an enclosed chaff loft; mending of stalls and stable floor; re-roofing with corrugated iron.

House alterations including: removal of internal walls between hall, parlour and former dining room/ lounge; removal of fireplaces and chimneys; addition of French doors on N. elevation;

Infilling of area between rear door of lean-to and former outbuilding; kitchen renovation, including replacement of timber sink; laundry renovation including replacement of copper tubs; new guttering.

1984 -
South lean-to of coach house demolished.

Construction Details

House (including detached toilet) - timber framing, weatherboards, corrugated iron roof.

Coach house - timber framing, rusticated weatherboards, plain lining, corrugated iron roof.

Report Written By

Martin Jones

Information Sources

Hatten, 1969

Lily Hatten, When Gisborne Was Young, Ormond, 1969

New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT)

New Zealand Historic Places Trust

L. Clark, 'Notes on Hatten house', 1998, NZHPT Gisborne Branch Committee files

Poverty Bay Herald

Poverty Bay Herald

20 March 1882 pp.2 & 3; 28 December 1882 pp.2 & 3; 7 July 1883 p.4

Poverty Bay Standard

Poverty Bay Standard

18 March 1882, pp.2-3

Tairawhiti Museum

Tairawhiti Museum

'Diary of Thomas Stanley Hatten, Ormond, 1907', Hatten Archive item 1


The Telephone

2 February 1884, p.2

Other Information

A fully referenced version of this 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.