199 Stafford Drive, RUBY BAY

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Constructed in 1867 as a holiday home for prominent Nelson merchant family, the Buxtons, House, Ruby Bay is a Dutch-colonial style residence located on the South Island's northern coast, mid-way between Richmond and Motueka. The building is connected with two important early European Nelson families and also the beginnings of the local fruit growing industry. After the New Zealand Company established its Nelson settlement in 1841, areas close to this nucleus began to develop as the European settlers started to occupy large tracts of land and develop rural industries. When Edmund Buxton (1805-1882) and his family immigrated to Nelson in 1851 the settlement was beginning to mature and prosper. In turn Buxton, through his successful merchant company E. Buxton and Company, also benefitted and in 1867 he was able to retire in some style, and it was then that he had his family's holiday home constructed. At this time the road infrastructure was such that this mode of travel was inefficient, therefore most access to the area was via boat from Nelson. After over a decade of use a family tragedy led to the Buxton's leasing the property to William Howard Stafford, the nephew of Sir Edward W. Stafford (1819-1901). Eventually buying the property, the Staffords are credited with the earnest introduction of apples and apricots into the district and also with the naming of Ruby Bay. In the mid twentieth century the residence again became a retirement retreat and its owners the Tyndale-Biscoes made several additions. House, Ruby Bay has continued to be used as a residence and for a short period in the late twentieth century was also a bed and breakfast. House, Ruby Bay is a two-storey, timber framed building constructed around a lengthwise steep gable whose ends feature elegant bargeboards. The gable is punctuated by three dormers on its north face and it is through their Dutch and Belgian Gothic inspired stepped surrounds that the house is provided with its distinctive feature. The south side of the house has large additions dating from the late twentieth century. The interior has been heavily modified but the upper levels still reflect the complex array of spaces created by interaction of the dormer windows and main gable. House, Ruby Bay is important because it dates from the early period of European settlement in the immediate area and in the Nelson region in general. House, Ruby Bay also has local significance as one of the pairing of Buxton family residences in Nelson province which document their affluence and lifestyle, at the time of Edmund's retirement in the late 1860s. The building is also important because of its associations with another important Nelson family, the Stafford's, and William Stafford's role in the beginnings of export fruit production in the area.

House, Ruby Bay | Alison Dangerfield | 01/12/2009 | NZ Historic Places Trust



List Entry Information


Detailed List Entry



List Entry Status

Historic Place Category 2


Private/No Public Access

List Number


Date Entered

4th April 2010

Date of Effect

4th April 2010

City/District Council

Tasman District


Tasman Region

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 1 DP 10394 (RT NL5D/500), Nelson Land District and the building known as House, Ruby Bay thereon, and its fittings and fixtures. The extent of registration does not include the late twentieth century additions to the south side of the house or outbuildings on the property (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the registration report for further information).

Legal description

Lot 1 DP 10394 (RT NL5D/500), Nelson Land District

Location Description

Travel along The Coastal Highway from Richmond. Stafford Drive is immediately north of Mapua township and House, Ruby Bay is located on the west side of the Stafford Drive just north of the Korepo Road intersection.

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