Puketiti Homestead and Stable

451B Puketiti Road, TE PUIA SPRINGS

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The Puketiti Station homestead (1906 and 1933) and stable (1906) and garden are remarkable for the remarkable degree of visual and structural integrity retained through the intactness of both the exterior and richly embellished interior materials, fixtures and finishes. Puketiti is directly associated with the nationally renowned Williams family, whose name has been synonymous with the East Coast, Poverty Bay area since 1840. James Williams, son of missionary William Williams, established Puketiti Station and along with his son Arnold. B. ('A.B.') Williams, were highly influential in the development of farming in New Zealand as leading pastoralists of Hawkes Bay and Poverty Bay. Both were prominent philanthropists, church, community and business leaders with active involvement in local body affairs, and the establishment of the Waipiro Bay township. The Williams' support of Maori of Waiapu was significant and Arnold was an early conservationist, with an understanding that pre-dates the State. The homestead at Puketiti Station, situated inland from Te Puia Springs and Waipiro Bay on the East Coast, North Island, is one of the few remaining station homesteads on the East Coast. The size and grandeur of the homestead represents the success and consolidation of the farming enterprise by successive members of the family. The homestead, stable and gasometer form a distinctive domestic cluster on the Station, set within what has become an internationally renowned garden and arboretum. They represent the isolation for families operating such large, remote stations and the class distinction that kept the owners and their guests' personal and recreational life secluded from the farming operations and its workers. The place also represents the prominence and importance of the pastoral industry on the East Coast in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, established at a time when most rural land had become part of large holdings rather than small farms. The house style includes elements of Arts and Crafts and American Bungalow design with Art Nouveau and Art Deco interior features. This large, two-storied house includes rich, decorative timber finishes to the interior of the main rooms. A unique drawing room feature is an ornately carved wooden fire surround in Maori folk art style (circa 1920s -30s) by artist Ruth Nelson. In late 1933 A.B. Williams married a widow, Rere Beale, and the house was sympathetically extended to create additional space for her children. After A.B. Williams' death in 1965 his successor, adopted son Desmond O. Williams (formerly Beale) lived alone. The station is now owned by Des's godson Dan Russell, a member of the extended Williams family. The homestead has continued in the same principal use since its construction. The domestic setting includes a nationally rare example of a gasometer, a simple technology that collected natural gas piped from vents on the farm for use in cooking, lighting and heating to the homestead and stable. It is the only known, extant example of a gasometer and reticulation system built for domestic purposes and is a unique and highly significant structure. The Stable is situated close to the house, is T-shaped in plan and of balloon construction with the studs running full height and the loft floor constructed between it. It has a corrugated iron gabled roof with a large loft where early pigeon coops and chaff chute, survive. There are four stalls; the remaining space includes a room with fireplace for the groom's accommodation, a workshop area and a large space used for carriage storage and accessible through a large sliding door. Most of the floor is laid with bricks of hardwood, believed to be Australian karri. It is one of a select few, intact examples and may be the only survivor with regular, oblong, karri timber blocks It is a rare example of such a technology and of its durability as a flooring material, with horses continuing to clatter across the timber cobbles daily. Such is the significance of Puketiti Station, that all the buildings, gardens and the arboretum have been covenanted by the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust since 1993. Very few changes have been undertaken since 1933. The grandeur of the Homestead and its garden, the remarkably intact original fabric of it and the Stable, the technological rarity of some components such as the lead lined bathroom floor, the domestic gasometer and the timber brick cobbled stable floor, are physical elements that contribute to the importance of this place . It is also directly associated with nationally renowned pastoralists, Arnold and James Williams, both influential in the development of farming in New Zealand and both humanitarians, philanthropists, church, business and community leaders active in local body affairs The domestic setting is physically very separate from the farm operations and its workers; one of a diminishing number of such places reflecting the class distinction brought from Britain to colonial New Zealand.

Puketiti Homestead and Stable, Te Puia Springs. The east (front) elevation | James Blackburne | 19/06/2009 | Heritage New Zealand
Puketiti Homestead and Stable, Te Puia Springs. The carved fire surround in the billiard room, the work of Ruth Nelson | James Blackburne | 19/06/2009 | Heritage New Zealand
Puketiti Homestead and Stable, Te Puia Springs. The north elevation of stables with stalls wing at left and carriage room at right | James Blackburne | 19/06/2009 | Heritage New Zealand



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

Gisborne District


Gisborne Region

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 1 DP 3478 (RT GS2A/472), Gisborne Land District and the building known as Puketiti Homestead and Stable thereon, and its fittings and fixtures and includes the gasometer associated with Puketiti Homestead and Stable, the carved wooden fire surround executed by Ruth Nelson, the black maire dining table and the gas heater in bedroom 9. (Refer to map of extent in Appendix 1 of the registration report for further information).

Legal description

Lot 1 DP 3478 (RT GS2A/472), Gisborne Land District

Location Description

Please note that Puketiti Station is private property. Go to end of Puketiti Road (4.5 kilometres from SH 35 turn-off) past the woolshed and through the wooden central gate to the end of the drive. The stable is 50 metres past the homestead on the drive that skirts round to the south side of the homestead. The gasometer is located next to the stable.

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