Waikonini Homestead

300 Horsfall Road, Peel Forest

  • Waikonini Homestead.
    Copyright: M E Casey. Taken By: M E Casey. Date: 7/11/2004.
  • Waikonini Homestead. August 1995. Image included in Field Record Form Collection.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: P Wilson.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2011 Date Entered 25th June 2004 Date of Effect 25th June 2004


Extent of List Entry

The house, fixtures and fittings and land on RT CB20F/1290, Canterbury Land District

City/District Council

Timaru District


Canterbury Region

Legal description

RS 3687 (RT CB20F/1290), Canterbury Land District


Waikonini may originally have been part of Peel Forest Station, which was taken up by Francis Jollie in 1853. Jollie died in 1870 and the run came into the possession of Edward Cooper. Cooper sold the run in 1878 to partnership Smith, Dennistoun, and Co.

During the 1860s, the Crown granted the land on which Waikonini sits to William Ashby. In 1879 the property was sold to Martin Griffin, who in turn sold it to William Barker. Barker was a son of the noted early photographer Dr Barker of Christchurch who arrived in Canterbury with the first settlers in December, 1850.

William Edward Barker (1858-1935) was born in Christchurch and educated at Christ's College, Christchurch, and Jesus College, Cambridge, where he studied medicine. During this time he met his first wife, Gertrude Pritchett who was studying at Girton. College. It is understood that she persuaded him to give up his medical studies .

Barker returned to New Zealand following his marriage in 1880, and purchased the 150 acres at Peel Forest that he called Waikonini the following year. The house was probably built in 1882, and may have been designed by Gertrude's father, J.P Pritchett, an architect of Darlington, England. Gertrude died in 1884, and William married her sister Lucy in 1887, with whom he had seven children. Barker took up fruit growing, and by 1903 was considered 'thoroughly successful'. 11 acres were in trees, and fruit was being sent around the South Island. The remainder of the property was running sheep and cattle. Barker was also a beekeeper. He is remembered for his interests in botany and geology and he founded the Mount Peel Floral and Horticultural Association.

The house and property were sold out of the family in 1936 following William's death. Today it sits on a block of 50 acres.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Waikonini Homestead is historically important as an early homestead by one of the original settlers in this part of Canterbury.

It has architectural value as a good example of a medium sized colonial homestead, with Gothic features typical of the period.

(a) is representative of the style and scale of homesteads built in the 1880s when settlers felt confident about the prospects of a prosperous future.

(g) It is also significant because of its overall design, characteristic of the period, but with the special feature of its interior hall with its gallery, grand suspended stair case and vaulted ceiling.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Pritchett, J. P.

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

The two storeyed dwelling is T shaped. Across the frontage, which faces east, stretches a verandah supported on paired posts, with the principal entrance central and two flanking square bay windows. The upper floor features three paired sash windows, each with its own gable. The side elevations have both paired and single sash windows, some with hood mouldings.

A central passage way divides the ground floor leading back to the kitchen, pantry, dairy and service rooms. A bathroom has been inserted in what was the dairy. On the right of the front door is the drawing room with the study next to it with French windows opening to the north. The original plans for the house show that a conservatory was planned to be built here and it is the current owner's intention to do so. On the left side of the house is the large, grand dining room with the butler's pantry beyond.

The interior is distinguished by a full-height hall, containing a suspended staircase of unusual construction. At the upper level is a gallery topped by a vaulted ceiling.. Much of the internal woodwork in the house is Kauri, but the panelled doors are Oregon. The first floor has seven bedrooms.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1882 -

Construction Details

Timber, with a corrugated iron roof. Kauri and Oregon timber used in the interior.

Completion Date

2nd September 2004

Report Written By

Pam Wilson

Information Sources

Acland, 1975

L.G.D. Acland, The Early Canterbury Runs, 4th ed., Christchurch, 1975

pp 153-6.

Cyclopedia of New Zealand, 1903

Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908, Vol. 3, Canterbury Provincial District, Christchurch, 1903

pp 887-8.

Kerr, 1972

P Kerr, Peel Forest Peel Forest Park Board, 1972.

p 25.

MacDonald Biographies

G.R. MacDonald, Dictionary of Canterbury Biographies, Canterbury Museum, n.d.

Barker, William Edward

New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT)

New Zealand Historic Places Trust

Buildings Classification Committee notes 21/7/74

Other Information

A fully referenced version of this report is available from the NZHPT Southern Region Office.

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.