Kawana Miller's Cottage

Whanganui River Road, Kawana Flourmill Grounds, Matahiwi

  • Kawana miller's cottage. Photo taken 1982, after restoration and relocation.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Chris Cochran.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 159 Date Entered 1st September 1983 Date of Effect 1st September 1983


City/District Council

Whanganui District


Horizons (Manawatū-Whanganui) Region

Legal description

Gaz 86-5082 Lot 1 DP 56192 BlkVII Tauakira SD -Maori Reserve


This simple two-roomed timber cottage was built for Richard Pestall, the first miller at Kawana Mill built alongside the Whanganui River. The mill was established in 1854 on land belonging to Nga Poutama, as part of Governor Sir George Grey's initiative to encourage Maori to learn skills to become self sufficient in the European economy. The first miller was Richard Pestall, an appointee of the New Zealand Government and Governor Grey, and, on his retirement, his second son Richard continued running the mill until it ceased operations in 1913. The cottage was originally situated further down the road leading to the mill. After a severe flood in 1904 the cottage was moved to higher ground on the opposite side of the road.

The cottage was moved to its present site in September 1979 as part of the project to reconstruct the mill undertaken by members of the local tramping club and the Wanganui Branch Committee of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust. Dame Norma Holyoake, wife of Governor General Sir Keith Holyoake, officially opened the cottage in October 1980, and over 600 people attended the ceremony. (The Governor General re-opened the mill on the same day. See Kawana Flourmill and waterwheel, Historic Place, Category I.) The land on which the mill is sited was designated a Maori Reserve for historical purposes in 1986.

This cottage has historical significance for its association with the site of one of Governor Grey's initiatives to encourage Maori to become economically self-sufficient in the growing Pakeha economy.


Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

1904 -
Cottage relocated to higher ground

1979 -
Moved closer to mill site

1979 - 1980
Restoration of cottage

Completion Date

25th September 2001

Report Written By

Helen McCracken

Information Sources

Historic Places in New Zealand

Historic Places in New Zealand

Craig Mills, 'Kawana Mill Wanganui Valley', September 1986, p.2

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.