Hakatere Station Accommodation Buildings

2387 Ashburton Gorge Road And 1 Hakatere Potts Road, Hakatere

  • Hakatere Station Accommodation Buildings. Image courtesy of www.flickr.com.
    Copyright: Shelley Morris. Taken By: Shelley Morris - Madam48. Date: 14/05/2011.
  • Hakatere Station Accomodation Buildings. Image courtesy of vallance.photography@xtra.co.nz.
    Copyright: Francis Vallance. Taken By: Francis Vallance. Date: 11/07/2010.
  • Hakatere Station Accomodation Buildings. Image courtesy of vallance.photography@xtra.co.nz.
    Copyright: Francis Vallance. Taken By: Francis Vallance. Date: 11/07/2010.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 9496 Date Entered 10th December 2010


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Section 1 SO 417234 (NZ Gazette 25 March 2010, p929), Canterbury Land District and the buildings known as the Stone Cottage, Singlemen's Quarters and Cookshop associated with Hakatere Station thereon, and its fittings and fixtures. (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the registration report for further information). Although within the physical boundary of the extent, the following buildings are not included as part of the registration: Late 1950s concrete house, toilet block, wood sheds and garage.

City/District Council

Ashburton District


Canterbury Region

Legal description

Sec 1 SO 417234 (NZ Gazette 25 March 2010, p. 929), Canterbury Land District.

Location description

The Hakatere Station Accommodation Buildings are located on the Ashburton Gorge Road, exactly at the point where it becomes Hakatere Potts Road, opposite a T-junction turn off to Lake Heron on Hakatere Heron Road, approximately 23 kilometres north-west of Mt Somers township.


Hakatere Station Accommodation Buildings, set amidst the spectacular high country of the Ashburton Gorge, is a cluster of station accommodation buildings dating from the 1860s associated with large scale pastoralism in this part of inland Mid Canterbury.

Hakatere Station was first taken up in 1857 by Thomas Henry Potts and had an evolving history of being amalgamated, split and then re-amalgamated with other stations, including Mount Possession Station. A small cluster of accommodation buildings gradually developed around the Hakatere Corner, including accommodation for shepherds and shearers and with facilities for cooking and dining. Two key accommodation buildings survive, being the Stone Cottage dating from 1862 and the Singlemen’s (or Shearers’) Quarters, with its core begun later in the nineteenth century. A 1940s Cookshop adds to an understanding of the later domestic side of the Hakatere Station and is closely associated with the well-known Hakatere Station dog trials which took place over seven decades from the 1940s. Close by these accommodation buildings was a wool scour business, which operated from the late nineteenth century and into the first decades of the twentieth century, but which is no longer extant.

The Stone Cottage is a single storeyed rectangular building with a small timber lean-to addition at the west rear and a full length verandah at the east front. The east and north elevations are constructed of squared greywacke laid in courses and filled with a clay mix. The north gable end is constructed of cob, rather than stone, and this would have originally been sealed over and limewashed. The south and west elevations appear to have been rebuilt, as evidenced by a different random rubble treatment of the stonework and the use of a cement mortar rather than clay. The roof is constructed of timber and corrugated steel.

The Singlemen’s Quarters is a long timber building located only a few metres to the south of the Stone Cottage. It has a rectangular floor plan which is bisected near the centre by a projecting wing on the north elevation (formerly the cookshop). The building has a moderately pitched gable roof with gables at right angles for the central wing. A concrete block bathroom extension is located off centre on the rear south elevation and has a shallow pitched gable roof. A verandah, separately constructed from yet continuous with the main roof, runs almost the whole length of the north elevation and is supported by a line of timber posts. Surmounting the roof are two ridge mounted ventilators, one each approximately six metres either side of the projecting gable.

The Cookshop is a weatherboard timber building with an unusual floor plan that reflects its ad hoc development since it was first in place in the 1940s. It is predominantly a rectangular building, with a large scale domestic kitchen on the south side and a central sitting room and enclosed verandah on the north side. An addition with a strong social flavour is the dining room, built in the late 1940s or early 1950s on the east side of the building.

The complex of accommodation buildings represents the living and socialising aspect of workers at a nineteenth and twentieth century pastoral station: the residential buildings for shepherds, shearers, cooks and other workers providing social insight into life in the rugged high country. These modest vernacular buildings represent the reality of life on an isolated station rather than the grand visions of the run holder gentry as found for example at the Acland family’s Mount Peel or the Deans family’s Homebush Station.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Hakatere Station Accommodation Buildings are among a number of notable places in the history of Mid Canterbury. Hakatere was one of the early inland Canterbury Runs and the accommodation buildings tell stories of those associated with high country farm practices, especially those associated with cattle, sheep mustering, shearing, wool scouring and, later, dog trialling. The two key buildings in the registration, the 1862 Stone Cottage and the later Singlemen’s Quarters relate to early pastoralism. Thomas Henry Potts, the original runholder, is a noted figure in the history of New Zealand for his place in the history of naturalism and exploration. Various managers and later owners are recognised as strong characters.

Aesthetic Significance or Value

Set in a rural landscape, the Hakatere Station Accommodation Buildings have aesthetic value as rustic examples of high country station accommodation buildings. Set amidst the dramatic high country landscape in the Ashburton Gorge, Hakatere Station’s vernacular stone, cob and timber accommodation buildings sit comfortably in the landscape. In their heritage inventory, the Department of Conservation considers the ‘Stone Hut’ and Singlemen’s Quarters as being particularly notable for being aesthetically pleasing and elegant.

Archaeological Significance or Value

The Hakatere Station complex has archaeological significance. The place has been continually occupied since the early 1860s. There is potential for archaeological methods to reveal information through documenting changes and development of the structures at the site and possibly from rubbish pits and other features at the site. There is also potential for archaeological methods to reveal features or information associated with the wool scouring works which are outside the extent of registration.

The place therefore can contribute knowledge at a regional level to enhance an understanding of how the accommodation complex operated as part of this notable early high country station.

Architectural Significance or Value

The two key buildings in the Hakatere Station Accommodation Buildings registration have architectural significance. Two elevations of the Stone Cottage appear to have been rebuilt, however, after the 1930s. Thornton has also recognised the Singlemen’s Quarters as representing the vernacular station architecture of the nineteenth century. Both are significant as modest buildings, representing the type of structures used for station workers sleeping, eating and socialising. They are simply designed, functional buildings, using local materials. The Cookshop has limited architectural merit.

Social Significance or Value

All the accommodation buildings at Hakatere Station have social values associated with them. They were the places where workers socialised with their colleagues and visitors, where they dined and slept.

From the 1940s, the Cookshop became the hub for station hands to dine and socialise. It is a tangible reminder of the unique dog trials held at Hakatere Station, with the dining room of the Cookshop being used for evening dances following the day’s trials.

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

The Hakatere Station Accommodation Buildings are representative of the early large high country runs in Canterbury, integral to the story of the pattern of settlement in New Zealand. Typical of many other early runs, Hakatere began as a cattle run but by around 1870 it moved to become a large sheep station. Exports to Britain of wool (and later meat) resulting from the farm activities contributed to New Zealand’s strong agricultural and pastoral economy, the well recognised economic back-bone of the nation for some 150 years.

The three accommodation buildings, including the later Cookshop, together form a good representative example of their type in New Zealand.

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

The Hakatere Station is associated with T H Potts, an early notable settler-conservationist in New Zealand who followed a movement to take up high country runs in the Canterbury region.

(e) The community association with, or public esteem for the place

There is a strong community association for Hakatere Station generally. Many people have been associated with the buildings at Hakatere corner for over 140 years. The local community has shown particular interest in helping to preserve the Stone Cottage and Singlemen’s Quarters and a working party has been formed.

The Singlemen’s Quarters has long been a place of social and community gatherings and it is anticipated such a use could continue in the future. The dining room of the later Cookshop recalls fond memories of dances following dog trials and evenings whiled away discussing mustering and dogs. Hakatere Station was a focus in the well-known 1955 New Zealand Film Unit documentary by Brian Brake, Snowline is their Boundary.

(f) The potential of the place for public education

The buildings have recently come into public ownership, under the management of Department of Conservation, and will provide an opportunity for public access and interpretation.

(j) The importance of identifying rare types of historic places

The Stone Cottage’s use of stone and cob is considered a rare survivor of this combination of materials in a building.

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

The Hakatere Station Accommodation Buildings complex is part of a wider high country pastoral landscape, including working farm buildings and archaeological remnants. These fairly isolated stations set in spectacular surroundings are important historical landscapes.


Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

The area of Hakatere is known for its geological accumulations, where large areas are covered with irregular heaps of angular materials forming the terminal moraines of ancient glaciers. An extensive deposit of such angular material stretches from the area of Hakatere Station through to Potts River.

Hakatere is the Maori word for the Ashburton River and is also the name that has been given for the high country run area some 23 kilometres north of Mt Somers in the Ashburton District. The Hakatere (Ashburton River) is a Statutory Acknowledgement area under Schedule 17 of the Ngai Tahu Claim Settlement Act 1998. The river was a major mahinga kai for Canterbury Ngai Tahu and is associated with whakapapa and traditional trails. Te Arowhenua Marae has manawhenua for the general area.

There has been considerable Maori occupation and transient use of the wider area around Hakatere Station over a long period. An archaeological midden site is located on the true right of the Ashburton River South Branch, more than five kilometres north-west of the location of the accommodation buildings at Hakatere Station. However, this single site is unlikely to represent the full extent of archaeological deposits in the area, as little recording has taken place in this area.

Whereas the early years of European settlement in the New Zealand economy was based on whaling and native timber processing, the introduction of sheep and cattle allowed a largely pastoral economy to develop. Wool became the chief earner of export income once European settlement became organised. Until the advent of refrigerated shipping in the 1880s, the main pastoral exports were wool, skins and hides, leather and pelts, tallow, non-perishable by-products, potted and salted meat, and livestock. In 1879, 27,777 tons of wool was exported from New Zealand, most of it to mills in Great Britain. Wool remained a significant commodity. Some of the largest sheep runs were in Canterbury. Hakatere Station became one of these.

Provision had been made for the establishment of pastoral runs in Canterbury in mid 1851, opening the way for what has been described as Canterbury’s ‘sheep farming bonanza’. Experienced pastoralists from Australia, the Wairarapa and Marlborough quickly took up the opportunity to acquire large tracts of land in the area. Relative newcomers to sheep farming joined them, locating suitable areas of unoccupied land, applying for grazing licences and beginning to raise stock. The initial runs occupied areas close to the coast in North Canterbury, Banks Peninsula and inland from Timaru. Later arrivals were forced to seek runs further and further inland as unoccupied land became scarce. The last large holdings in Canterbury had been taken up by 1864.

The first Europeans known to at least partially explore the Hakatere Station area were C G Tripp and J B A Acland in 1855. The pair obtained a pastoral lease in South Canterbury that included level land near the Orari River and most of the foothills and flanks of the Mount Peel range. In 1855/6 the Tripp-Acland partnership also took up Mt Somers and Mt Possession runs. The taking up of high hill country in the ‘Waste Lands’ outside the official boundaries of the Canterbury settlement by Acland and Tripp was a pioneering move, initially regarded as eccentric, being an undertaking that no other pastoral lessee had contemplated. A rush to obtain high country runs followed in the wake of Tripp and Acland’s example. In 1857 1,000,000 acres of high country was applied for with the result that by 1860, Samuel Butler famously had to go right to Mesopotamia, in the very shadow of the Main Divide, to obtain land.

The area on the Ashburton side of what would soon become Hakatere Station was explored by Thomas Henry Potts and his brothers’-in-law, F G P Leach and Henry Phillips junior in 1857. Leach applied for the Lake Heron area and Potts took up runs 181 and 189 of Hakatere Station in 1857. Over the next three years Potts added runs 256, 293 and 350. Runs 374 and 384 were added some time later.

Hakatere took in the country between the Rangitata River and the Ashburton River, above Mt Possession. At one stage, it went up the Rangitata River as far as the Lawrence River, and up to the Head of the Ashburton River.

Like many early runs, Hakatere was initially worked as a cattle station before converting to sheep. And, like many run holders, Potts did not live on the run himself, although he was recognised as an ‘expert cattle man’. Rather, he established a homestead on the Potts River for his manager, Harry Phillips junior. The homestead remained at this site until circa 1870, when it was relocated to ‘a site on the Ashburton’. It is believed that this new homestead site was located approximately half a mile (800 metres) from the present Hakatere Station Accommodation Buildings, on the Hakatere Heron Road. A timber dwelling there was demolished in the 1960s.

At least one accommodation hut was in existence at the Hakatere corner site prior to the construction of the Stone Cottage in 1862. In an account of 1862, swagger, Jesson Davis, walked through snow from Mesopotamia to Hakatere, arriving during the night to a hut at Hakatere. This was not the Stone Cottage, but another, since Jim Bradford, who was one of the men staying at the hut when Davis arrived in a state of collapse, is recorded as being in the process of building the Stone Cottage at that time.

Despite speculation to the contrary, it is unlikely that the Stone Cottage ever served as the station homestead. Mt Possession shepherd, George Lambie, and his wife Elizabeth lived in the Stone Cottage as ‘married quarters’ some time between 1864 and 1869. Between the years 1870 and 1892 the Stone Cottage continued to be lived in by those in the role of head shepherd. From 1892, the Stone Cottage appears to have become station hand accommodation.

The station homestead, no longer extant, on the other hand, was lived in by the various managers. The first manager to live there was the successor of Harry Phillips, Ferdinand George Cradock. Cradock had arrived in New Zealand in 1860 and went straight to Hakatere as a cadet. By 1870 he was manager. Cradock was succeeded in 1888 by Thomas Scott Johnston who, it appears, also lived in the homestead.

In about 1870 Hakatere was changed over from cattle to sheep. This would have given impetus to further development of the station buildings. Over time, farm buildings developed at Hakatere Corner included the Singlemen’s or Shearers’ Quarters for accommodation and a separate wool scouring operation. A woolshed was built further up the Hakatere Heron Road in the nineteenth century but this no longer survives.

The Hakatere Wool Scouring Works were purchased by W T Webster in 1890. It appears that this was already an established business, though it is not clear when the works were first operated. They would have been closely associated with the Hakatere Station sheep operations, being located on the property in land that is now adjacent to the small parcel containing the station’s historic accommodation buildings. Although it no longer survives, there are good descriptions and some surviving photographs which give insight to the appearance and operations of the Wool Scouring Works building. It was described in 1903 as containing a sorting table, from which the wool passed to warm water tanks, and then to a new type of wool press, the Williams’ patent box. As many as fourteen hands were employed during the main period for the wool scouring, between December and March. Wool scouring appears to have continued at Hakatere Station through to at least the second decade of the twentieth century.

Potts sold Hakatere Station to the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Company in 1883. Shortly afterwards, in 1892, the Loan and Mercantile Company also purchased Mt Possession and then worked the two stations together.

Although Johnston was appointed manager of the new combined station and moved from Hakatere to the homestead at Mt Possession, most activity remained based at Hakatere. The head shepherd, William Lambie (son of George and Elizabeth) continued to live at Hakatere Station. Johnston left his management position in 1904, whereupon head shepherd William Lambie succeeded as manager and moved to the Mt Possession homestead. F J Savill purchased the combined runs in 1906 but had to give up the Hakatere lease in 1911 and the Mt Possession one in 1917. Hakatere was then again split from Mt Possession, being divided into a new Mt Potts Station and a ‘rump’ Hakatere Station. The old Hakatere homestead thus briefly became the station homestead again, before the rump was reincorporated with Mt Possession in the early 1960s. In more recent decades, the name Mt Possession was used to refer to the overall farming operation as well as the area around the homestead, while the name Hakatere was applied to the land and buildings centred at Hakatere Corner on the junction where the various Hakatere Station buildings remain.

An account of 1908 outlined how the 200,000 acre Mt Possession run engaged seasonal gangs of musterers, shearers and wool washers at Hakatere. Mr and Mrs Thomas Scott were based at Hakatere at this stage, and a religious service is recorded as taking place in the station dining room, with Mr W Lambie in attendance.

Sam Chaffey took over Hakatere Station in 1926. Under Chaffey’s long regime (1926-1961) a number of changes took place. The old homestead on the Hakatere Heron Road resumed its role as head shepherd’s house, and remained so until its demolition in the 1960s. The wool scour building was demolished, probably some time after the 1920s. A new Cookshop was erected in the 1940s, possibly partly built using a relocated building. The Stone Cottage became largely used for storage. A second (replacement) woolshed was built probably in the 1940s and is located approximately 200 metres diagonally across the road from the accommodation buildings. At some time during Chaffey’s management, the south and west exterior walls of the Stone Cottage were rebuilt.

Sam Chaffey is noted for attracting musterers to the Ashburton Gorge area through the instigation of dog trials at Hakatere Station. The first of these legendary trials were held on the hills above the Hakatere Cookshop in June 1946. They continued through the decades, the last being held at Hakatere in 2007. Unique as a type in New Zealand, the entry qualifications for participation in the dog trials were that the entrants must have mustered locally in the wild and rugged Ashburton Gorge area.

Stone Cottage (Married Quarters, also known as Stone Hut)

The original 1862 Stone Cottage had a central living room flanked by bedrooms on either side. A photograph dated 1934 identifies that by this time the northern end bay of the verandah has been enclosed. It remained enclosed at least until the mid 1950s.

By the early 1940s, the Stone Cottage was still being used intermittently to accommodate musterers and shearers. It also served at this time as a mail depot for the stations of ‘the Gorge’. There were two postal bins on the verandah. Groceries would also be left here for collection.

At an unknown date the south and west elevations appear to have been rebuilt. The south elevation may have originally appeared differently, perhaps with a rear verandah or a short lean-to. A photograph of a building at the Hakatere site from the nineteenth century shows such a building, but it is not clear if this might have been the Stone Cottage or another, perhaps a core component of the neighbouring timber building that has transformed into the present Singlemen’s Quarters.

In the post Second World War years, alterations were carried out to make the old building more habitable for its occasional occupants. In the mid 1950s, the central room was lined, a lean-to concrete and weatherboard bathroom was added at the rear, and a chiller was built into the reconstructed south-east corner. The chiller kept all the mutton from kills on the property. By about 1960, the Stone Cottage appears to have been used only for storage. The chiller continued in use until the mid 1970s.

Singlemen’s Quarters (Shearers’ Quarters)

Although the construction date of the Singlemen’s Quarters is not known, a suggested likely period for its earliest phase of construction is the early 1870s, as the conversion of the Hakatere Station from a cattle to a sheep station in around 1870 would have necessitated the provision of extra accommodation for shearers. However, they may have been built or at least extended later, for example, when Hakatere and Mt Possession were first run together in 1892 and sheep of both stations were shorn at Hakatere.

As noted above, it may be that the original portion of the Singlemen’s Quarters was merely a rectangular timber building with a gable roof, which now comprises the central projecting bay of the much larger timber structure. Alternatively the original portion of the Singlemen’s Quarters may have been the central bay cookshop, flanked by two or three large bunkrooms.

During the 1940s this cookshop was closed during winter because of the smaller number of hands employed on the station. The head shepherd’s wife would feed the remainder at their home. From the late 1940s, the original cookshop space in the Singlemen’s Quarters was subdivided into multiple bedrooms. In the late 1950s further bedrooms were added at the east end. Finally, in the mid to late 1970s, the west end was extended and remodelled to accommodate a lounge. At times the Singlemen’s Quarters would accommodate around 14 shearers.

Cookshop (Cookhouse)

In the 1940s a new Cookshop was established in a weatherboard building located to the west of the Stone Cottage. It has been suggested that a two-roomed hut formerly known as Gallagher’s Hut, which had been located beside Lambies Stream (where it crosses the Gorge Road), was moved to Hakatere to become the new Cookshop but this has not been verified. Certainly the building known as the Cookshop incorporates a variety of stages of construction.

The building was extended substantially in the late 1940s or early 1950s when a dining room was added to the eastern end. An addition was also made to the northern elevation in the 1960s or 1970s. A verandah on the north elevation was enclosed some time after the 1960s.

From the 1940s onwards the Cookshop became a social hub. Station workers would be fed in dining room and in the evenings would often stay on, inevitably talking about dogs. Dances were held in the dining room following yearly dog trials. These great annual ‘Gorge Get Togethers’ were particularly social affairs. The Red Cross used the kitchen as catering for fundraising on the day of the trials, and over 50 would stay on for the evening dance.

Breakfast would usually begin at 5am, sometimes even as early as 3am, the men would then set out for work during the day, and dinner was ready by 6pm (even if they didn’t eat it until later). When working in the woolshed, the permanent employees and crutchers would have lunch at the Cookshop too. Former cook, Joyce Grieve, recalls that mutton was always on the menu while beef was not, despite the station having cattle. By the 1960s the kitchen had an old army diesel burner, an electric stove and an old fashioned ‘Everhot’ cooking range. The sitting room, with its open fireplace, was just for the family, not the station hands.

The Cookshop was often managed by married couples. However, sometimes station hands were cooking for themselves. Occasionally the Cookshop would be occupied by those associated with the large shearing contractors, and their own dedicated cook would use the kitchen and occupy the house. Permanent staff were at the Cookshop, on and off, until about the 1980s.

Contextual Analysis

Geoffrey Thornton has observed that because New Zealand was founded, at least in European terms, on agrarianism, old farm buildings have become a memorial to the early colonial economy. Not only do they form part of a cultural landscape, but they are a visual reminder of our age-old dependence on farming for food. Different buildings served different functions on stations, demonstrating fitness for purpose of the various designs. The predominant construction material was timber, though stone and cob were also used.

Farms, including high country stations, almost always had dedicated accommodation for staff. Singlemen’s (or ‘Men’s’) quarters, Shearers’ quarters and, more rarely, Cadet quarters tended to be in separate blocks. Singlemen’s quarters were often combined with the cookshop. Sometimes there was separate accommodation for the cook, head shepherd or various married staff. In nineteenth century New Zealand, staff quarters were often crude and uncomfortable, sometimes little more than basic shelter for communal living of the farm workers. Work was hard, the days long, the food rations often monotonous.

Examples of cookshops, singlemen’s, shearers’ and married quarters are found throughout New Zealand. Combined cookshop-singlemen’s accommodation buildings are found at Moa Flat (stone and plaster, NZHPT Record No. 7625), Otekaieke in North Otago (stone), Benmore in the Mackenzie country, Shag Valley Station in the Waihemo district (stone, NZHPT Record No. 7616 c1868), Totara Estate in North Otago (stone), Kekerengu in Marlborough (cob), Windsor Park (Windsor, stone), Matapiro in Hawke’s Bay (timber), Puketoro near Tokomaru Bay (timber).

It is considered that the Stone Cottage (Married Quarters) building at Hakatere is a rare example of its construction utilising the combination of stone and cob. The form of the building is akin to other high country accommodation buildings of the second half of the nineteenth century, such as the larger Acheron Accommodation House in Molesworth Station (Hurunui District) which dates to 1862-3 and at Omarama’s Benmore Station both Robert Campbell’s stone cottage and the Head Shepherd’s stone cottage (1860s, NZHPT Record No. 7805).

Thornton notes that the Hakatere Singlemen’s Quarters are representative in that they are of built of timber (this being the most widely used building material) and that they are one of many examples of men’s quarters or shearers’ quarters in timber throughout both the North Island and South Island. Ones on the NZHPT Register, for example, include Brancepeth 1869 (NZHPT Record No. 7649), Shag Valley Buildings (Record No. 7616), Kawarau Station Buildings in Bannockburn (Record No. 7619). However, Thornton points out that the Hakatere Station Quarters building, with its very long timber building bisected by a protecting wing, is quite distinctive in its layout. There are other examples of long timber (and stone) accommodation buildings, but not with the projecting central wing. The plan of stone Cookshop/Mens’ Quarters at Benmore Station in Omarama for example, is a long rectangular building with bedrooms and a dining room (NZHPT Record No. 7805). As discussed earlier, the sequence of construction of the Hakatere Singlemen’s Quarters is not entirely clear and it appears to have been built in a piecemeal fashion.

The 1940s Cookshop building, like the Singlemen’s Quarters, has been constructed in a piecemeal fashion, being added to and extended over several decades and potentially incorporating an earlier hut relocated to this site. Cookshops or cookhouses are found throughout New Zealand and there are a number on the NZHPT Register. Leefield Station in Marlborough has a cob cookshop that was converted to become the Shearers’ Quarters (Record No. 2930). The 1940s timber cookshop at Hakatere is relatively unremarkable but it attests to the social history of high country stations and the need to feed relatively large numbers of men working there. Its kitchen is typical of a 1940s family type kitchen, albeit on a larger scale, something of which there is little of in public ownership in New Zealand.

Although the wool scour building no longer survives, the association of the Hakatere Station with this early industry adds to a wider understanding of the place. As part of the wool export business, wool scouring industries were established in New Zealand from the 1870s. Sheep were shorn without having been washed first and the wool subsequently had to be scoured (cleaned) before sale. Iron boilers were used to heat the water with added soap to make a scouring liquid, into which the unclean wool was placed in vats and agitated by men using long sticks. The wool fleeces were then lifted onto a draining tray, rinsed in cold water and dried before being pressed into bales. Wool scouring works were generally operated by independent owners who operated on the outskirts of towns, though some of the more remote and larger stations had their own wool scours. Scouring is recognised as paying handsomely when compared to the price unscoured wool fetched. However, most wool exported from New Zealand in 1882 was still ‘in the grease’.

Extant station wool scours are particularly rare. A relocated wool scour is situated at Benmore Station (Record No. 2414) in Otago and there is one at Lake Coleridge. The Hakatere Station wool scour appears to have been run as an independent business, though obviously it would have operated in close conjunction with the sheep run itself. Any archaeological remains of the wool scour have the potential to elucidate further about the operation, but they sit outside of the extent of registration for the Hakatere Station Accommodation Buildings. Nevertheless they form part of the wider cultural landscape of the Hakatere Station Accommodation Buildings historic place registration.

Physical Description

The Hakatere Station Accommodation Buildings are grouped at the junction of the Ashburton Gorge Road, at the point where the Ashburton Gorge Road ends and changes into the Hakatere Potts Road and Hakatere Heron Road turns off to the north. The South Branch of the Hakatere/Ashburton River is located one kilometre to the east and Lambies Stream runs to the south, below Trinity Hill.

Situated at the Hakatere ‘Corner’ directly opposite the road to Lake Heron, there are six buildings on the land parcel of the registration. These include three specific buildings identified for the registration, namely the Stone Cottage, Singlemen’s Quarters and the later Cookshop. Other structures located on the same land parcel but not identified as being significant are a toilet block, a wood shed, a late 1950s concrete block house and a garage with a small wood shed attached. Outside of the legal land parcel, to the east, is a set of stables and to the south by Lambies Stream is a skins shed or fowl house and a killing shed and various earth depressions. Some of these are large pits that may have been associated with the wool scouring operation (the wool scour building appears to have been located close to Lambies Stream to the south of the Cookshop but is no longer extant). In the same vicinity, a recently demolished dairy/stables building to the south-east of the land parcel is evidenced by rubble ruins. About 200 metres diagonally across the road, behind a stand of trees, are two woolsheds and off to the east of the Hakatere Heron Road are a number of chattels associated with the Hakatere run in various states of ruin: these include parts of a wool wagon, traction engine wagon and sledge, and a metal boat. These are not included in the registration.

Stone Cottage (Stone Hut)

The Stone Cottage is a single storeyed rectangular building with a plan 10.3 metres by 5.6 metres, with a 2.4 metre by 1.8 metre timber lean-to extension at the west rear and a full length verandah at the east front. The east and north elevations are constructed of squared greywacke laid in courses and filled with a clay mix. The north gable end is constructed of cob, rather than stone, and this would have originally been sealed over and limewashed. The south and west elevations appear to have been rebuilt, as evidenced by a different random rubble treatment of the stonework and the use of a cement mortar rather than clay. The verandah runs the length of the east front and is supported by unsquared birch poles. Lintels over window and door openings are squared birch poles, and door and window joiner is timber. The roof is constructed of timber and corrugated steel.

With the addition of the small weatherboard lean-to at the rear, the Stone Cottage has five rooms. The interior of the western elevation stone wall has been plastered over. A fireplace located on the west wall of the hut is a later addition, along with a low softwood ceiling. The floor is concrete.

The symmetry of the building, with its central entry door flanked on each side by two equally spaced windows suggests a form of Georgian box cottage style.

Singlemen’s Quarters

The Singlemen’s Quarters is a long timber building located just a few metres to the south of the Stone Cottage. It has a rectangular floor plan of approximately 32 metres by seven metres, bisected near the centre by a projecting wing on the north elevation (originally the cookshop). The building has a moderately pitched gable roof with gables at right angles on the central wing. A concrete block bathroom extension is located off centre on the rear south elevation and has a shallow pitched gable roof. A verandah, separately constructed from yet continuous with the main roof, runs almost the whole length of the north elevation. The verandah is supported by a line of timber posts. Surmounting the roof are two ridge mounted ventilators, one each approximately six metres either side of the projecting gable.

The walls of the Quarters are covered with horizontal weatherboards of varying widths. These variations, together with straight joins are evidence that the building has been constructed in several phases. Fenestration of the main body of the building comprises six pane double hung sash windows. The sash windows are of an early style, without horns at the corners. The eastern three bays are a later addition, with narrower weather-boarding, side hung casement windows, and with a more modern treatment of doors and slightly different style of verandah post. The western bay is also an addition.

At the south rear, the original timber weatherboard has been covered over by galvanised iron that mimics a weatherboard appearance. It appears that the original timberwork remains behind. A collapsed chimney on the south-west corner is constructed of prefabricated concrete block.

The interior has three corridors along the short axis with two bedrooms either side of each. Four other bedrooms and the main living room, at the end of the building, are accessed from the interior.

Built in stages, the design is described as being a vernacular response to the need for accommodation rather than any particular stylistic concern. There are two differing suggestions for its origins. The first being a single rectangular building (as seen in Figures 8) which now forms the central projecting wing of the building, and this is supported by the slightly different timber treatment of this projecting wing from the flanking wings and the lack of keying in of the timbers with the flanking wings. The second option, as suggested by Bowman and Wright, is that the original portion of the building is the central projecting wing as well as flanking wings on either side.


The Cookshop is a weatherboard timber building with an unusual floor plan that reflects its ad hoc development since it was first in place in the 1940s. It is predominantly a rectangular building, oriented east-west, with various additions including a wing on the east elevation with a low-pitched uneven gable roof. The whole of the roof is clad with corrugated steel.

On the interior, at the south side, is a large scale domestic kitchen with numerous cupboards, drawers and cookers. A sitting room with an open fireplace is located to the north of this. The extension at the east end was a large dining room with its own entrance through a porch on the east elevation. Weatherboards, originally exterior but now enclosed as a room, bear witness to the earlier existence of a verandah on the north elevation.

The Cookshop is a utilitarian building added to in a piecemeal fashion but is relatively unremarkable in terms of its architectural design.

Comparative Analysis

On the NZHPT Register there are a number of rural farm buildings from the mid to late nineteenth century. Of these the majority are located in the South Island and most relate to woolsheds or stables. There are a large number of farm homesteads with outbuildings registered. The Blue Cliffs Station, for example, has woolsheds, barns, stables etc but these are largely related to the grand homestead’s use rather than the farming activities. Orari Gorge Station Farm Buildings is a particularly early collection of buildings, including a Slab Cottage/Cadet Building, Whata, Stables, Blacksmith’s Workshop and Saddlery/Coach House (NZHPT Record No. 7763) and separately the Orari Gorge Station homestead and woolshed also survive. At Homebush Station near Darfield, the station complex includes the homestead and various early farm cottages, as well as an early bakehouse/dairy/laundry (later the apple house), bridges, sheep dip remains, pig sties, stables, water tower, turbine, shearers’ quarters (whare), woolshed and garden structure. Benmore at Omarama also contains a comprehensive grouping of intact early station buildings.

The accommodation buildings at Hakatere Station, therefore, are not particularly rare as a type. While the Stone Cottage utilises a now rare form of construction, its authenticity has been affected by later partial rebuilding.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1862 -
Stone Cottage

Original Construction
Singlemen’s Quarters

Original Construction
1940 -

1950 - 1959
Eastern extension Singlemen’s Quarters; Verandah added to north elevation of Singlemen’s Quarters; Eastern extension Cookshop; Weatherboard rear addition Stone Cottage.

1970 - 1979
Western extension and concrete block bathroom addition to Singlemen’s Quarters; Enclosure of verandah on north side of Cookshop.

Construction Details

Timber, glass, cob, corrugated steel, concrete, brick, plaster.

Completion Date

17th September 2010

Report Written By

Robyn Burgess

Information Sources

Acland, 1975

L.G.D. Acland, The Early Canterbury Runs, 4th ed., Christchurch, 1975

Cant, 2001

Garth Cant & Russell Kirkpatrick, eds., Rural Canterbury: Celebrating its History, Wellington, 2001

Cyclopedia of New Zealand, 1903

Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908, Vol. 3, Canterbury Provincial District, Christchurch, 1903

Department of Conservation

Department of Conservation

Hill, Ian, ‘O Tu Wharekai, Oturoto, Ashburton Lakes; Cultural, Archaeological and Historic Heritage’, Department of Conservation, 28 August 2007.

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Star, Paul, ‘Potts, Thomas Henry 1824-1888’, Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, updated 22 June 2007, URL:http://www.dnzb.govt.nz/

Harte, 1956

G Harte, Mount Peel is a Hundred: the story of the first high country sheep station in Canterbury, Herald Printing Works, Timaru, 1956.

Thornton, 1986

Geoffrey Thornton, The New Zealand Heritage of Farm Buildings, Auckland, 1986

Scotter, 1965

W.H. Scotter, A History of Canterbury, Vol. III 1876-1950, Whitcombe & Tombs Ltd, Christchurch, 1965

Conservation Plan

Conservation Plan

Bowman, Ian, Conservation Report: Married Mens’ Quarters, Hakatere Station, July 2008, Unpublished report prepared for Department of Conservation; Bowman, Ian, Conservation Report: Single Men’s Quarters, Hakatere Station, July 2008, Unpublished report prepared for Department of Conservation.

CHapman, 1996

John Chapman, The Stations of the Ashburton Gorge, Ashburton, 1996.

Grieve, 2009

Joyce Grieve, Spuds and Dishes: Reminiscences of Cooking for Shearers, Christchurch, 2009.

Hewson, 1918

A Hewson, Early Days in the Ashburton County, Ashburton, 1918.

Wright, 2000

Christine Wright, Marian Martin and Joanna Gerard, Coal Range and Candlelight: Women of Methven & Districts; A Legacy of Memories, Ashburton, 2000.

Other Information

A fully referenced registration report is available from the NZHPT Southern 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.