Kakariki Road, Westoe Farm, Kakariki

  • Westoe, Kakariki.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Blyss Wagstaff. Date: 21/09/2020.
  • Westoe, Kakariki.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Blyss Wagstaff. Date: 21/09/2020.
  • Westoe, Kakariki Road, Rangitikei. Harding, William James, 1826-1899 :Negatives of Wanganui district. Ref: 1/1-000154-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22603651.
    Copyright: No Known Copyright Restrictions.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 156 Date Entered 29th November 1985 Date of Effect 29th November 1985


City/District Council

Rangitikei District


Horizons (Manawatū-Whanganui) Region

Legal description

Lot 1 DP 11632 Blk III Rangitoto SD


Westoe was built for Sir William Fox (1812? -1893). Fox, and his wife Sarah, arrived in New Zealand in 1842. In 1843 Fox, who had trained as a lawyer in England, was appointed the New Zealand Company Agent to Nelson and eventually, Principal Agent for the company. Over the next thirty years he was to influence New Zealand political life, first as a Member of the Wellington Provincial Council, and then as a Member of Parliament. During his varied public career Fox was to hold the position of Colonial Secretary, Attorney General, and was four times the Premier. In later life Fox was to hold the position of the Commissioner of Land Claims arising from the confiscation of Maori lands on the West Coast and Taranaki. Fox was also a talented painter, explorer, and keen advocate for the temperance movement which aimed to reduce alcohol consumption.

Fox acquired 5000 acres of the original Rangitikei block in about 1849 (confirmed by a Crown grant in 1858). Fox was later to subdivide a portion of this land for the proposed town of Marsden. The settlement proved unpopular due to Fox's stipulation that liquor should not be sold from any of the buildings erected there. The early Pakeha settlers eventually chose to settle further north at what is now the town of Marton. Fox named his own property Westoe after the town in Durham County, England, where he was born. He built his first house in the early 1850s on river flats. Unfortunately the location proved to be prone to flooding and, when the opportunity arose to build a new house, the decision was made to locate it on the flat above the original homestead. Designed by Charles Tringham, the new house was built in 1874, and the carpenter was probably H. Austin of Halcombe. It is said that Tringham was inspired by Osborne House, the home of Queen Victoria on the Isle of Wright, and parallels can be seen with the Italianate tower which is a central feature of the house. The Westoe tower was never completed and remains unlined inside. Fox was a keen amateur horticulturist and created a substantial park and garden surrounding Westoe. Fox sold Westoe in 1885 and moved to Auckland. A few months later the house and lands were acquired by James Howard.

Westoe, in its splendid setting, is significant as the house of William Fox, a noted politician, artist, and social advocate, and is a fine example of a Victorian country house.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Tringham, Charles

Charles Tringham was born at Winforton in Hertfordshire, England, in 1841. Little is known of his education but it is thought that he acquired woodworking skills. Tringham arrived in New Zealand at Auckland in December 1864 and the passenger list records his occupation as a carpenter. Tringham moved to Wellington and established a partnership with a builder named William Lawes. At the end of December 1866 he left the partnership to establish himself as a builder and undertaker. Within a year he was advertising himself as an architect and gaining a considerable number of contracts for houses, churches, hotels and a variety of other commercial premises. Tringham married Margaret Hunter Bennett in April 1868, the daughter of Dr John Bennett, the first New Zealand Registrar-General, and this may have helped his social status in Wellington. Lucrative contracts followed, including the Italianate house ‘Westoe’ (1874) near Marton for Sir William Fox, and the extensions to William Clayton’s former home in Hobson Street (now the nucleus of Queen Margaret College). Tringham was nearing the end of his architectural career in the 1890s and was elected President of the Wellington Association of Architects in 1895. He retired to the Wairarapa to farm and remained there until his death in 1916.

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1874 -

1900 -
Large scullery turned into a small kitchen and the kitchen was made into a sewing room. Ceilings in the main living room and bedroom were panelled. Hall and stair walls also panelled

1920 - 1930
Verandah on the east side built

1966 -
Double bedrooms and a bathroom built on the area formerly occupied by a third of the verandah and the 'old conservatory'

Completion Date

11th September 2001

Report Written By

Helen McCracken

Information Sources

Beaglehole, nd

A Beaglehole, 'Buildings Classification Committee - Research Report Westoe Homestead, Kakariki', nd. Held on file at NZHPT, Wellington.

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Raewyn Dalziel and Keith Sinclair, 'William Fox, 1826/27?-1890', Vol. 1, 1769-1869, Wellington, 1991.

Ministry of Works and Development

Ministry of Works and Development

Ministry of Works - Wanganui, 'New Zealand Historic Places Trust Building Survey Report, Westoe Homestead, Kakariki', August 1985

Other Information

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.