Goodwood Farmstead (Former)

31 Goodwood Settlement Road and Goodwood Road, Goodwood, PALMERSTON


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Goodwood Farmstead, Palmerston, was established in 1849. The extant stables were built between May 1849 and February 1850. The structure lays claim to being one of New Zealand's earliest remaining residences and its second oldest extant farm building. It is also a rare testament to Swedish settlement and design. The homestead was built in 1851 and the carefully planned gardens developed subsequently. 'He was a most progressive man and really before his time. Everything had to be of the best.' Charles Eberhard Suisted was the first European to settle in the area around Pleasant River, the first to take up land in the North Otago area, and may truly claim to be among the founders of the province. He named his new property Goodwood. Eventually the entire district took on this name. A barn-like structure was built initially to house the Suisted family on their arrival from Wellington. It was their home for at least eleven months. After the family removed to their new homestead in 1851, the structure was converted to stables. The first phase of this building project was the construction of a large central area of the barn with a loft upstairs. It was built by John Seed, superintendent carpenter, and supervised by Captain Robert Richmond, Suisted's father-in-law. The exterior was constructed of pre-sawn kauri timber which was transported to the site. The walls were whitewashed and the downstairs flooring was sandstone cobbles. Once this structure was completed, building work began on the homestead. The homestead's simple yet stylish design appears to have been based on the traditional Swedish kringbygd gard. The wooden one story house was built in a U shape, with a courtyard in between the two wings. Other Scandinavian influences were apparently employed, such as the traditional use of wood and storing food in the attics. Large lawns, extensive tree planting and an admirable garden were also created. The first barn structure was converted to stables once the family moved to the new homestead. The central area was converted to horse stalls. Swedish motifs and design elements are evident, for example in the filigree and traditional paint colours. This second phase may have seen also the addition of two wings and a full length lean-to at the rear. The lean-to was also divided into three areas, mirroring the front. The roof was comprised of pan iron tiles, not only unique in New Zealand at the time, but is now believed to be the only extant pan iron roof on a farm building in the country. Smaller changes were made in the following decades. By the end of the twentieth century the dormer windows and the large central doors which enclosed the stable were gone. It is now used as a barn for the storage of hay. The homestead was demolished in the 1930s. There was also once a workers' lodge and gatehouse located at the entrance to the farm property where the road forks. Suisted was not only the first European to settle around Pleasant River, but also helped establish a European population in Otago. He is an important example of the Swedish contribution to the development of colonial New Zealand. Architecturally and aesthetically, the stables are significant for its traditional Swedish design elements. The extant structure is one of New Zealand's oldest residences and farm buildings, and is of special significance. The site itself occupies a commanding position with panoramic ocean and rural views. It is further enhanced aesthetically by the remains of the garden and the extensive planting of trees, particularly blue gums. As the second earliest rural estate in Otago, Goodwood is of special significance to the early period of New Zealand history.

Goodwood Farmstead (Former). South elevation of Suisted Stables on the Goodwood Farmstead (Former) | Jonathan Howard | 30/04/2009 | NZ Historic Places Trust
Goodwood Farmstead. Left image - Stables middle room upstairs. Right image - Arches incorporating Swedish details in the wooden filigree and decorated with traditional red & blue paint | Jonathan Howard | 05/03/2009 | NZ Historic Places Trust
Goodwood Farmstead. Image courtesy of Map of area showing extent of registration | Google Map, satellite view | Google Maps 2009



List Entry Information


Detailed List Entry



List Entry Status

Historic Place Category 1


Private/No Public Access

List Number


Date Entered

4th April 2010

Date of Effect

4th April 2010

City/District Council

Waitaki District


Otago Region

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described Sec 96 Blk I (RT OT14B/29), Hawksbury SD, Otago Land District, and Goodwood Farmstead (Former) thereon and its fittings and fixtures. The registration includes the site of the now demolished homestead, the gardens and the Stables (Former). (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the registration report for further information).

Legal description

Sec 96 Blk I Hawksbury SD (RT OT14B/29), Otago Land District.

Location Description

Approximately 400 metres east from the junction of Goodwood Road and Goodwood Settlement Road.

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