Whare Ra


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This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration. In Havelock North in 1908 a circle of prominent local personalities known as the Havelock Work was established. They published a monthly literary magazine called 'The Forerunner' and held regular cultural gatherings. Whare Ra was built on land donated by Mason Chambers, one of a group of these Havelock intellectuals who were searching for enlightenment through a Christian based, esoteric form of teaching. To aid their search Dr R W Felkin (1853-1926) and his family were brought out from England. Felkin had been a missionary and explorer in Africa. He was the first European to visit all the Great Lakes of Central Africa and return alive and the first to measure the pygmies of the Congo. He became an expert on tropical diseases, writing several books and lecturing extensively on the subject. His wide interests tended toward the supernatural and included astrology, theosophy and Rosicrucianism. He had been the chief of the London temple of a secret spiritual society known as the Stella Matutina Hermetic Order and had come out to provide instruction in its beliefs and rituals, at first for a few months in 1913 and again in 1916 when he settled permanently. The house was purpose built to both house the Felkin family and as a lodge which was to be the New Zealand Headquarters of the order. The lodge was named Smaragdum Thalasses and teaching was conducted in the basement temple. From the 1916 addition Dr Felkin also ran a successful practice as Havelock North's first medical doctor. Although Dr Felkin died in 1926 his work in the order was carried on by his wife Harriot and daughter Ethelwyn who were also chiefs in Stella Matutina. They continued to live in the house until the death of Ethelwyn in 1962, Harriot having already died in 1959. The building was later administered as a Trust until the order was finally wound up in 1978.

Whare Ra, Tauroa Rd, Havelock North | Alan & Diana McDonald
Whare Ra, Tauroa Rd, Havelock North | Alan & Diana McDonald
Whare Ra, Tauroa Rd, Havelock North | Alan & Diana McDonald



List Entry Information


Detailed List Entry



List Entry Status

Historic Place Category 1


Private/No Public Access

List Number


Date Entered

6th June 1990

Date of Effect

6th June 1990

City/District Council

Hastings District


Hawke's Bay Region

Legal description

Lot 1 DP 19613

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