Goodwood Farmstead (Former)

31 Goodwood Settlement Road And Goodwood Road, Goodwood, Palmerston

  • Goodwood Farmstead (Former). South elevation of Suisted Stables on the Goodwood Farmstead (Former).
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Jonathan Howard. Date: 30/04/2009.
  • Goodwood Farmstead. Left image - Stables middle room upstairs. Right image - Arches incorporating Swedish details in the wooden filigree and decorated with traditional red & blue paint.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Jonathan Howard. Date: 5/03/2009.
  • Goodwood Farmstead. Image courtesy of Map of area showing extent of registration .
    Copyright: Google Maps 2009. Taken By: Google Map, satellite view.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2356 Date Entered 30th April 2010 Date of Effect 30th April 2010


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described Sec 96 Blk I (RT OT14B/29), Hawksbury SD, Otago Land District, and Goodwood Farmstead (Former) thereon and its fittings and fixtures. The registration includes the site of the now demolished homestead, the gardens and the Stables (Former). (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the registration report for further information).

City/District Council

Waitaki District


Otago Region

Legal description

Sec 96 Blk I Hawksbury SD (RT OT14B/29), Otago Land District.

Location description

Approximately 400 metres east from the junction of Goodwood Road and Goodwood Settlement Road.


Goodwood Farmstead, Palmerston, was established in 1849. The extant stables were built between May 1849 and February 1850. The structure lays claim to being one of New Zealand's earliest remaining residences and its second oldest extant farm building. It is also a rare testament to Swedish settlement and design. The homestead was built in 1851 and the carefully planned gardens developed subsequently.

'He was a most progressive man and really before his time. Everything had to be of the best.'

Charles Eberhard Suisted was the first European to settle in the area around Pleasant River, the first to take up land in the North Otago area, and may truly claim to be among the founders of the province. He named his new property Goodwood. Eventually the entire district took on this name. A barn-like structure was built initially to house the Suisted family on their arrival from Wellington. It was their home for at least eleven months. After the family removed to their new homestead in 1851, the structure was converted to stables.

The first phase of this building project was the construction of a large central area of the barn with a loft upstairs. It was built by John Seed, superintendent carpenter, and supervised by Captain Robert Richmond, Suisted's father-in-law. The exterior was constructed of pre-sawn kauri timber which was transported to the site. The walls were whitewashed and the downstairs flooring was sandstone cobbles. Once this structure was completed, building work began on the homestead. The homestead's simple yet stylish design appears to have been based on the traditional Swedish kringbygd gard. The wooden one story house was built in a U shape, with a courtyard in between the two wings. Other Scandinavian influences were apparently employed, such as the traditional use of wood and storing food in the attics. Large lawns, extensive tree planting and an admirable garden were also created.

The first barn structure was converted to stables once the family moved to the new homestead. The central area was converted to horse stalls. Swedish motifs and design elements are evident, for example in the filigree and traditional paint colours. This second phase may have seen also the addition of two wings and a full length lean-to at the rear. The lean-to was also divided into three areas, mirroring the front. The roof was comprised of pan iron tiles, not only unique in New Zealand at the time, but is now believed to be the only extant pan iron roof on a farm building in the country. Smaller changes were made in the following decades. By the end of the twentieth century the dormer windows and the large central doors which enclosed the stable were gone. It is now used as a barn for the storage of hay. The homestead was demolished in the 1930s. There was also once a workers' lodge and gatehouse located at the entrance to the farm property where the road forks.

Suisted was not only the first European to settle around Pleasant River, but also helped establish a European population in Otago. He is an important example of the Swedish contribution to the development of colonial New Zealand. Architecturally and aesthetically, the stables are significant for its traditional Swedish design elements. The extant structure is one of New Zealand's oldest residences and farm buildings, and is of special significance. The site itself occupies a commanding position with panoramic ocean and rural views. It is further enhanced aesthetically by the remains of the garden and the extensive planting of trees, particularly blue gums. As the second earliest rural estate in Otago, Goodwood is of special significance to the early period of New Zealand history.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Suisted was the first European to settle around Pleasant River, and the first to take up land in the North Otago area. The neighbourhood surrounding his property also took on the name of Goodwood. The first European structure in North Otago was built by Suisted for his shepherds. Suisted also did his part towards establishing a European population in Otago, as his workers married and settled in the district. Along with Johnny Jones, Suisted was truly a founding father of the province.

The structure was first used as the Suisted family home circa 1850-1851. It appears to be the second earliest extant residence in the South Island, second only to Johnny Jones' Matanaka. It also appears to be among the earliest 25 residences still extant throughout New Zealand. As a stable, it may be also the second oldest extant farm building in New Zealand. Geoffrey Thornton's research into farm buildings, including stables, identifies none still extant which were built earlier than Johnny Jones' Matanaka (circa 1842). The next oldest stable is identified as Goodwood. Development of farms in the north was slowed due to land wars and large tracts of land covered in bush. Farming in the South was more attractive given large areas of open land. The Suisted stables then, regardless of the exact chronological sequence, are without doubt among the very earliest examples of farm building in New Zealand.

Aesthetic Significance or Value

While the extant structure is a stable, there are elements of aesthetic significance which differentiate it from other farm buildings in New Zealand. The elements of Swedish design, evident not only in the filigree but also in the paint work, elevate this structure to well above the ordinary. The use of newspapers to line an enclosed space is also an interesting addition.

The site of the homestead indicates its once commanding position on the site. The site enjoys panoramic views encompassing the rolling hills to the north; imposing cliffs and ocean views to the south. The peaceful Pleasant River estuary lies to the west. The site is further enhanced aesthetically by the remains of the garden and the extensive planting of trees, particularly blue gums.

Archaeological Significance or Value

The site has seen activity since 1848. An archaeological exploration of the homestead site, in particular, could yield information concerning the outline of the structure, building materials and other information of historical value. Bricks fired on site in 1850 are already visible on site.

Architectural Significance or Value

The incorporation of some Swedish traditional detailing makes the stable a particularly interesting architectural example. It is probably unique in New Zealand. Archaeological investigations on the homestead site would reveal evidence concerning the architecture of the house. The architectural significance of the Stables lies in Suisted's use of the traditional Swedish kringbygd gard design, indicated in written sources. The use of wood is typically Scandinavian as is the tradition of a pantry in the attic. This example of Swedish architectural decorative features in early New Zealand is of special significance.

Cultural Significance or Value

The Goodwood Farmstead represents an early example of the Swedish presence in New Zealand. By 1878 Scandinavians represented over one percent of the New Zealand population. Suisted was an entrepreneurial businessman and a larger than life character. As an early example of the impact of Swedes in New Zealand, Suisted is an outstanding example.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history

Suisted is one of the founding fathers of Otago. He was second only to Johnny Jones in establishing a rural estate in coastal Otago and the first to settle in the area near Pleasant River. His Goodwood property admirably illustrates European settlement in its infancy. It demonstrates the experience of early colonisers, and the way they harnessed the land and its available resources. Not only did Suisted show the potential productiveness of the land, but he imported skilled European workers. Like Johnny Jones before him, Suisted formed an organised settlement of workers. They in turn established themselves in the province, thus illustrating the means by which Otago developed in its early days.

(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history

More than any other of Suisted's endeavours, Goodwood is strongly associated with this important Swedish immigrant. Suisted was a larger-than-life character. His hospitality made him a well-known colonial figure. Indeed his Wellington establishment Barretts Hotel was pronounced by contemporaries to be the centre of civic life. Goodwood also became a centre of hospitality for prominent Otago settlers during the 1850s. Included in this group were the Valpy family, prominent early Dunedin settlers, Walter Mantell, Johnny Jones, Bishop George Augustus Selwyn, and Charles Creed.

Suisted represents the experience of early Scandinavian immigrants. Indeed, Suisted was probably only the second Scandinavian to settle in New Zealand. Only one other Scandinavian settler is recorded until Suisted's arrival in mid 1842. Scandinavians left a rich legacy; not only in their traditional customs but particularly in the agricultural and dairying industries. Suisted was a forerunner of Scandinavian agricultural enterprises. His use of traditional Swedish design principles in early New Zealand is of special significance. He provides a notable early example of immigration from a Scandinavian, non-English perspective of which there is little early historical evidence.

(e) The community association with, or public esteem for the place

Community association with this place may be seen in the adoption of the name Goodwood to describe the district as a whole. Goodwood was not always so remote. The main line took travellers through the district. Goodwood was also on the Dunedin-Christchurch line from 1878. It remained an active railway centre for many decades. Additionally, one hundred and sixty years after Captain 'Bobby' Richmond landed in Otago, 'Bobby's Head' still commemorates his landing.

(g) The technical accomplishment or value, or design of the place

Suisted's property speaks to early colonial settlement and the way in which 'civilisation' was imposed within the confines of the natural landscape. A homestead, stables and other outbuildings were erected using local resources but incorporating Swedish design. The stables are unique in New Zealand. Apart from providing an excellent example of stabling in the 1840s, the design of the place is unique in terms of the remnants of traditional Swedish detailing and colour palette still visible today. Suisted was passionate about horses and created impressive housing for the animals. It was functional yet handsomely decorated. The structure has endured remarkably well, and there are a number of still original features. The stables have the potential to provided insight into early colonial construction techniques. Suisted's pan iron roofing, not only unique in New Zealand at the time, is possibly the only extant pan iron roof on a farm building in the country.

Similarly, the homestead was modelled on the traditional Swedish kringbygd gard, a farmhouse encompassing a courtyard between its wings. This use of Swedish design principles on the Goodwood farmstead are of special significance.

(i) The importance of identifying historic places known to date from early periods of New Zealand settlement

As the second earliest rural estate in Otago, Goodwood is of special significance to the early period of New Zealand history. Although slightly preceded by Johnny Jones, Suisted was among the first to attempt settlement and agriculture in Otago. The stables are among the oldest residences and farm buildings in New Zealand.

(j) The importance of identifying rare types of historic places

Goodwood Farmstead is a rare remaining example of one of the first settlements in Otago and includes one of New Zealand's oldest residences and farm buildings still extant; its rarity makes it a place of outstanding significance.

(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape

Goodwood has special significance as part of the wider historical landscape: as a rare example of Swedish settlement and influence in New Zealand, as a gathering place for prominent early settlers, as a part of Johnny Jones' estate, and finally as an example of the Government's initiative after World War II to provide resettlement farms for soldiers. While the homestead did not survive the 1930s, the stables have proven adaptable to 160 years of New Zealand's rural history. Yet they remain, unquestionably, Suisted's stables.

Summary of Significance or Values

This place was assessed against, and found it to qualify under the following criteria: a, b, e, g, i, j, k.


It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category I historic place.

Suisted's stables and the surrounding curtilage, including the site of the old homestead and driveway, are of special significance as the second oldest rural estate in Otago. The stables as a residence are among the earliest in New Zealand and are the second oldest farm building still extant. Of special significance also is Suisted's nationality. It was 'a man with Swedish origins and Swedish skills who helped build this part of the country and province.'


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Seed, John

Seed, John (-1876)

Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

Earliest inhabitants

Traces of human occupation in the South Island date back to around 1250-1300. The first Polynesian arrivals in New Zealand soon settled on the eastern and southern parts of the South Island, where moa were found in large numbers.

In addition to the attraction of moa, according to Edward Shortland, the desire to possess pounamu 'seems to have been the chief inducement which urged large different times, to invade the country of Ngatimamoe, who had become celebrated as possessing this treasure...'. The Ngatimamoe retired further south and eventually formed alliances. They identified themselves as Ngai Tahu, and also with that tribe's predecessors, Ngati Mamoe and Waitaha.

By the time of European settlement, moa were extinct and Maori were clustered on the coast. Key coastal settlements were at Shag Point, Waikouaiti, and Huriawa (the Karitane Peninsula).

European sealers began arriving in the 1790s and whalers in the 1800s. Both intermarried with local Maori. In the 1840s, there were European visitors, such as Edward Shortland. Johnny Jones took up land at Waikouaiti in 1838 and in 1840 established the first European settlement in the South Island. Just north of Waikouaiti, more land was taken up in 1848 by Otago's second founding father, Charles Eberhard Suisted.

Charles Eberhard Suisted (1810-1860)

'He was such a host, never dull, full of life, wonderfully energetic and although so stout he never appeared so very out of the way as he was tall and upright as a dart. I remember him coming into the Printing Office one day and taking up a small cane chair to sit upon. I said 'Pray don't sit down upon that bit of a chair, you will break it with your weight.' He looked at me and sat down.'

Family legend depicts Charles Suisted as 'cheerful, energetic, generous and enthusiastic and 'a man before his time.' A contemporary wrote, 'He was a very large man, weighing 22 stone, and was, as a lady remarked, 'very tall across the shoulders'. Standing at just on two metres tall and weighing 140 kg (or six feet, six inches tall and 22 stone), he was indeed a larger than life character.

Carl Eberhard Sjostedt was born in Varmland, Sweden, on 12 May 1810, the son of Carl Eberhard Sjostedt and his wife Britta Juliana Ekermann (1782 to 1824). The family were wealthy, owning an important ironworks and residing in a large manor house at Bada. Following his parents' deaths, Suisted left home to study for the civil service, but instead took to the sea. In 1830 he left from Goteburg as an officer on board the Stirling. The ship voyaged for eighteen months to the East, also docking for three months in Portsmouth, England. It is of note that twenty miles from Portsmouth lay Goodwood, which was known for its horse racing and was one of the grandest private horse stables in England. Suisted had a lifelong interest in horses; perhaps begun when, as a young boy he regularly rode 100 kilometres to school. On 19 March 1833 at St Mary Le Bone, London, he married Lincolnshire born Mary Emma Richmond (1817 to 1860), whose father Robert Richmond (1792 to 1881) was a sea captain. Fifteen children, of whom twelve were boys, were born to the couple over the next 22 years. In 1836 the Suisteds, along with Robert Richmond and his wife Emma (died 1871), immigrated to Van Diemens Land, Australia. High English wool prices had brought about a boom in the settlement. The family flourished. Although the Suisted's first child, Emma, died in 1836 at six months of age, a healthy son was born in 1837, and christened with the anglicised Suisted spelling of the Swedish name. The Suisteds settled in the port of Launceston and joined the busy shipping industry between Van Diemens Land and Australia. Two shipwrecks later, however, Suisted decided on a change of career. In 1839 he bought the licence to the Steam Packet Hotel.

In 1841 an economic slump hit Van Diemens Land, and Suisted's profits. 1842 saw the Suisted and Richmond families sailing for Wellington, New Zealand, with little left to their names.

Sources, albeit limited, indicate that Suisted was only the second Scandinavian to settle in New Zealand. Sten Aminoff lists circa 350 pages of Scandinavian immigrants prior to 1940. On this list Suisted is the second earliest immigrant. Scandinavians had visited these shores, but none settled. It appears that Charles Hopkinson was the first Scandinavian to settle here. In 1840 he settled in Dunedin as a hotel keeper, later turning his hand to runholding. No other Scandinavian settlement is recorded until Suisted's arrival in mid 1842. The major wave of Scandinavian immigration did not take place until the 1870s when an assisted immigrant scheme was established. By 1878 Scandinavians represented over one percent of the New Zealand population - the highest proportion it would ever reach. Scandinavians left a rich legacy, particularly in the agricultural and dairying industries. Suisted was to be a forerunner of these Scandinavian agricultural enterprises.

In September 1842 Suisted took over the licence of Barretts Hotel and soon made quite a reputation. In a report about the Press Dinner held at Barretts it was said that 'an overabundance of the good things of this life was provided for the occasion by Mr. Suisted, viz. the delicacies of N.Z. and the luxuries of the neighbouring colonies. It was as good, if not a better dinner than has ever been sat down to in the settlement.' Barretts became the civic meeting place and most important building in the settlement of Wellington for a time.

Suisted also continued his shipping connections and even became a manager of the Wellington Savings Bank. The wreck of the Tyne in 1846 saw the family's fortunes prosper as a 'second box containing 1000 sovereigns was recovered yesterday from the wreck of the 'Tyne' by Mr. C. Suisted...' It was said that this money ultimately financed Suisted's interests in Otago.

Although Suisted prospered, ongoing conflict between Pakeha and Maori began to affect the confidence of the Wellington settlement. Immigration slowed. Land claims remained unsettled. Early in 1847, Captain Richmond travelled to Otago. Reports must have been favourable. Yet, according to Suisted's son James, the final decision to leave Wellington was made, 'because of the disturbed state of the Maoris, and because of the earthquakes..I have heard my father say, that during those earthquakes the ground was almost in continuous motion for 35 days.' In 1848 Suisted travelled to Otago with Johnny Jones. The area had been surveyed by Frederick Tuckett in 1844 and land near Pleasant River came on the market the very week Suisted sailed in the Frolic. The locale did not suit everyone. Reverend Watkins greeted Mr Creed to Waikouaiti with the words 'Welcome Brother Creed to purgatory.' Suisted, however, must have been suitably impressed. On arriving back in Wellington he paid £200 for 550 acres of the land near Pleasant River.

After buying the Goodwood block, Suisted moved quickly to establish squatting rights further north over Kakanui, later Run 12, and Otepopo, later Run 13, stretching from the Wainakarua to the Awamoa Creek near Oamaru. An outstation was established at Waianakarua in 1848 and a shepherd was installed to look after the holdings. These were the first European farm buildings to be erected in North Otago, which was a significant milestone in the history of the district. When the new tenure system came into force Suisted made haste to legalise his position and the licenses to Runs 12 and 13, containing circa 50,000 acres (20,234 hectares), were granted in 1852.

Goodwood Run

As the first European to settle around Pleasant River, and the first to take up land in the North Otago area, Suisted was truly a founding father of the province. By importing workers to build and farm his properties, Suisted also helped populate the district with European settlers. In time, even the surrounding district adopted the name of his property.

Suisted named his property Goodwood. Historian George Griffiths suggests it was named for the Goodwood in Sussex, which was a noted horse racing centre and the name of the Duke of Richmond's estate, and also perhaps a nod to his Richmond in laws.

In March 1848, 500 feet (circa 152 metres) of timber, shingles and glass were shipped on the Perseverance to Goodwood. Captain Richmond sailed for Otago in May 1849 on board the Twins. 'Bobby's Head', a small landing place on the coastal boundary of Goodwood was named after him.

Using these supplies, as well as local timber, Richmond directed the erection of a cottage for himself and 'before the rest of the family arrived my grandfather had a new building erected which we afterwards called the barn, to receive them'. This structure, in which the family initially resided, later became utilised as the stables. There is only one piece of evidence which casts doubt on the reuse of the barn as the stables. Charles Kettle, Government Surveyor, drew a 'Working Plan of Survey of Block of land near Pleasant River Containing Mr Suisted's Grant' in August 1852. The plan shows 'Goodwood House' on the site of the now demolished homestead. There is, however, a barn drawn some miles away, westwards towards the coast, and there is nothing sketched on the site of the stables. NZHPT Archaeologist Matt Schmidt analysed this survey map and noted that the homestead and barn are both used as triangulation points. The site of the stables is not in line with a triangulation line. Schmidt notes that surveyors only drew in structures which were relevant to their triangulation points. This may explain why the stables do not appear on the plan.

The structure to house the family was built by the superintendent carpenter John Seed. Captain Richmond arrived at Goodwood accompanied by Seed, as well as brick maker, a blacksmith and six sawyers. The first phase of the build may have been simply one large room downstairs with a loft upstairs. The structural beams were pit sawn from local timber. Pre-sawn kauri, transported to the site, was used to clad the building. The walls were whitewashed and the floor was sandstone cobbles. It is also likely that the roof was entirely clad in corrugated iron, with one dormer window. Windows were also built on either side of the large entrance doors. A weathervane provided the final embellishment.

The first Goodwood buildings, then, were erected between Richmond's arrival in May 1849 and February 1850, when the family arrived on site. Even if only a temporary home, this structure appears to represent the second earliest extant residence in the South Island. It is second only to Johnny Jones' Matanaka at Waikouaiti. It may be also among the earliest 25 residences still extant throughout New Zealand. The missionaries are responsible for many of the earliest residences, located primarily in the Far North. Suisted's building is among a very few residences built by private individuals which remain standing. Furthermore, the structure may be the second oldest extant farm building in New Zealand. Geoffrey Thornton's research into farm buildings identifies none still extant which were built earlier than Johnny Jones' Matanaka (circa 1842). The next oldest stable is identified as Goodwood.

Once the Suisted family arrived in February 1850, building work began on the homestead, supervised by Edward Swallow, a Wellington plasterer. The homestead's simple yet stylish design was based on traditional Swedish principles. It appears to have been modelled on the kringbygd gård, a farmhouse typically built in four sections with living quarters and stables forming an enclosed yard. Suisted's one story house was built in a U shape, with a courtyard in between the two wings. Unlike the traditional Swedish design the stable was built some little distance away instead of providing a forth side to completely enclose the paved courtyard. The use of wood, however, was typically Scandinavian. Employing also the Varmland tradition of a pantry in the garret and storing large supplies of winter food in storerooms on stilts, Suisted built his storerooms in the attic at Goodwood House.

For the first time local totara and black pine were used as building materials. Lime for mortar was made from local limestone near the shore, and the bricks were burnt from local clay. This was a marked contrast to Johnny Jones' building methods of using imported materials.

Once completed, the house had 16 rooms, was circa 20 metres (circa 65 and a half feet) wide and stretched back toward the sea for 465 square metres (circa 1526 feet). The stud was high, since Suisted himself stood almost two metres high (about six feet, six inches), yet Goodwood 'gave the impression of being long, low and gabled'. The rooms had 'beautiful, tall, Georgian windows. Those in the living rooms would have been flooded with afternoon sunshine, and looked out over the rolling countryside. The double hung windows with their many small panes must have required an enormous amount of glass'. Large gabled rooms with square bay windows projected on each side of the veranda, while the veranda posts were plain and the bargeboards uncluttered by filigree or mouldings. Three French doors in the wide front hall opened onto the veranda and followed the same design as the doors in Barretts Hotel. It made a ballroom of sorts. As the Otago Witness described it in 1898, 'Mr Suisted had 'the largest house in the district, which was appropriate, as he was the largest man.' Contemporaries may have been awed by its extravagance. William Kennard believed that 'its cost cooked him and he never made a fortune.' Another contemporary, one of William Valpy's daughters, commented on the beauty of the site. They had a beautiful view of the ocean from the cliff on which their large mansion was built, and the nicely kept lawn was an additional charm. The homestead was completed in 1851. The family's first residence was now converted into a barn and stables. Suisted was passionate about horses and imported into Otago one of New Zealand's first thoroughbred stallions. He was a well known horse breeder of first-class stock and had a hundred or more. Horses bred at Goodwood were said to be some of the best Otago produced. Two horses in particular were Suisted's travelling companions - a dark roan mare called Violet and a powerful grey called Dick. He used two horses so as not to unduly tire one horse with his weight.

Renovations involved building stalls for the horses. Six graceful arches of wooden filigree sprang from the posts supporting the loft to create eight stalls. These stalls were divided by dressed timber capped with a circular rail. The arches incorporated Swedish details in the wooden filigree - 'the delicate woodlace shows a cool north European elegance rather than a Victorian lumpy extravagance.' They were decorated in traditional Swedish red and blue paint, which is still visible in places. The incorporation of Swedish design, still visible in the stables, is probably unique in New Zealand. Even in the Scandinavian settlements around Dannevirke and Norsewood there are very few remaining examples of Swedish construction. Morevover, these were not constructed until the 1870s, when assisted immigration began, and the buildings do not appear to exhibit Swedish detailing.

The central loft area had three rectangular openings added to the floor. Hatches over the openings, two of which are still visible, could be lifted to allow hay to be pushed down to the horse stalls below. Beside the lean-to a large rectangular water tank was placed six feet (about 1.8 metres) down in the ground to provide water for the horses.

Notably, it is likely that during this conversion to stables that the second building phase took place, with wings on both sides and a lean-to added to the central structure, effectively wrapping around on three sides. During alterations, then, smaller rooms were added to effectively wrap around on three sides of the central area. There was an internal door to each room, as well as external doors with panelled windows on either side. Each wing included a fireplace, which indicates these rooms may have been used as bedrooms for groomsmen or other farm hands. In the west wing stairs were built. The loft also gained rooms on either side of the central space. The westerly room contained a door opening out to the cathead. The east wing included a ceiling of narrow beaded boards. The floor of this room no longer exists. Dormer windows were added to each of these rooms. The central dormer had a door and a cathead for loading fodder into the loft while the other two were glazed to admit light. Lysaght corrugated iron was used on the roof.

A lean-to at the rear was also added, with a large central space and rooms on either side. The central area also included probably six stalls for horses, although it appears that none of the Swedish details were added to the supporting posts. The addition of the lean-to also entailed changes to the roofing structure on the south side. From examining the rafters, it seems that additional rafters were added to support roofing tiles, as opposed to the original corrugated iron. The roof also angles away from the bottom of the original rafters as it slopes into the roof of the new lean-to. The roof of the lean-to and south side was constructed of pan iron sheets. Flat iron sheets, hand galvanised in zinc, formed a large tile, which incorporated a roll to overlap the adjoining sheet at the side. This process was invented in 1837 and was certainly unique in Otago at the time. Pan iron was not manufactured in New Zealand until the early 1860s. This pan iron roof is also the only extant use known of in a farm building in the country.

The stable was built to a very high standard. Contemporary, David Monro described it as 'the best that he had seen in New Zealand'. Other utilitarian structures were also built in this period. Frederick Mieville noted on his arrival in 1851 that Goodwood had 'a good many outbuildings and cottages' and was pleasantly surprised at their excellent quality. Among these were the gatekeeper's lodge and gatehouse, which were further examples of intricate Swedish detailing. These structures were likely built around 1851 and certainly before Suisted's departure in 1856. Their exteriors showed Swedish embellishments, indicating Suisted's influence . These buildings were on land which eventually became part of another farm and were demolished probably during the 1980s.

Both the homestead and the stables had magnificent views of the sea to the south and rolling hills to the north. Suisted also planted many trees, including blue gums, to improve the native landscape. Large lawns were laid out and a fine garden was planted to the south of the homestead. Ornamental and fruit trees were brought from England, and geese and bees from Wellington.

A number of visitors availed themselves of Goodwood's renowned gracious homestead and beautiful grounds - the Valpy family (prominent Dunedin settlers), Walter Mantell, Johnny Jones, Bishop Selwyn, and the Creed family. The family were famous for their hospitality. Goodwood was quite a house of call for everyone. Mr Suisted was too good natured, such a host! No traveller was ever turned from his door without a welcome. In fact, his good nature was imposed upon and Goodwood was made a house of call as if it was quite an understood thing.

Goodwood Run proved rich and fertile. Suisted had 74 acres (circa 30 hectares) in crop, including wheat, oats and potatoes. He also exported eighteen cases of cheese to England in 1854, which may have been New Zealand's first cheese shipment to Europe. Agricultural produce was exported to Sydney but in 1856 the price for grain fell. Fortunately Suisted's wool exports doubled and it was on this source of income that he largely depended. Johnny Jones had initially lent Suisted £4000 to stock his runs, as well as acting as agent in the transport and sale of the wool and produce from Goodwood. Within five years, the debt was repaid. Suisted introduced quality stock, particularly Shropshire sheep, an English Downs breed. He also imported cattle. By 1852 he had nearly 200. By 1856 the runs were carrying 9000 sheep and more than 100 horses. When the stock was eventually sold at auction, they returned double the amount he had paid.

Suisted was aware that although wool prices were high, they could just as easily drop. There was also no secondary schooling offered in Otago; a 'proper' education could only be found in Europe. The decision was made to leave Goodwood. In November 1856 Suisted sold the property to Jones for £3720 - a good profit since he had paid £200 eight years previously. Jones put his son William in charge.

Suisted then leased land at Tumai, near Waikouaiti, from Jones, where he left his parents in law and the younger boys. By April 1857 he had sold most of his property interests. In June 1857, after a 'rowdy' dinner party in Dunedin to farewell them, the Suisteds left on a world tour. They arrived back in New Zealand in January 1859. In June the Suisted family left Otago forever. They were bound for Suisted's newest enterprise the Equator, a large hotel on Wellington's waterfront. Six months later Suisted was bankrupt, his wife was dead, and he was suffering from his last illness. He retired to Karori, awaiting his oldest sons return from school in England, but died before their return. Both Mary Emma and Charles were buried in Bolton Street Cemetery. Emma and Robert Richmond brought up their grandchildren on the fifteen acre property in Karori.

The latter years

Goodwood was initially run by William, Johnny Jones' son, but later rented to tenant farmers by the Jones' estate. There is little evidence to indicate what changes may have been made during this period of ownership, although in the stables it appears that during the 1880s a wall was added in the north facing central area to create another small room. The only changes recorded are those evidenced by the structure itself. Future conservation on the Stables is likely to reveal more about the evolution of the structure.

The township and district of Goodwood, which adopted the name of Suisted's property as early as 1851, continued to grow. The main railway line ran close to the coast and travellers were carried through the district. It remained a centre of rail activity for many years, although nowadays there is little to see.

Renting the Goodwood property became uneconomic for the Jones' family during the 1930s Depression. The property was sold to the neighbouring Preston family, who cut down many of the old trees and demolished the house, rather than bear the cost of upkeep. The timber was sold to an Oamaru dealer who, it is said, used it to build five smaller houses.

After World War II the Government bought the property to provide resettlement farms for soldiers. Guy Kensington was given the Goodwood homestead block. The Kensingtons used the stables as a barn to store hay and farm machinery. The dormer windows were removed about 1960 and covered with corrugated iron. The wall was also removed between the east wing and the central space of the lean-to.

In 1977 the Ministry of Works inspected the stables and did some restoration work. After a heritage covenant was negotiated with the owner in 1986, the Ministry of Works and Development were retained again to carry out a restoration on the building. They matched new materials with the original and were careful in their methods of construction. Extra pan tiles were constructed. New timbers were date stamped and matched with originals for type, texture and quality. Colours were matched with the original paint. Work continued intermittently, but by 1989 all weatherboards were repaired, painting of the interior was completed and all window sashes were glazed. All that remains now as a testament to Suisted and his Goodwood Run are a tired barn, some tall old trees, the empty site of the homestead and some of Edward Swallow's bricks scattered in the grass.

Physical Description


The original farmstead site is approached by a gravel drive which runs passed the modern farm house, and along to a closed gate. Through the gate, a track leads up a steep hill to the former Goodwood farmstead site. To the south there are unimpeded panoramic ocean views, with high rugged cliffs overlooking the sea. To the north are a stand of blue gum trees and fine arable country rolling for miles back to the hills. To the west is the beautiful and peaceful estuary of Pleasant River. It is an impressive site and the homestead occupied a commanding position. It was placed to take full advantage of magnificent ocean views looking towards 'Bobby's Head', Captain Richmond's original landing site.

The stable lies at the top of the track through the closed gate. It is a large gabled timber frame building, with a full length lean-to at the rear. It is clad in plain weatherboards, painted red. Much of the original weatherboarding and roofing remains. The roof on the front of the stables is corrugated iron. Patches of iron show where the dormer windows once were. The roof of the lean-to is pan iron tiles.

The doors have been removed and the front of the building is now open. Inside the central stable area, the posts supporting the loft are chamfered and are turned at the top to form capitals at the springing of the arches. The spandrels are decorated with fretwork. Traces of red and blue paint still remain; as do the vestiges of whitewash. There are also traces of newspaper (1882) on sections of the wall. Ghosting on the wall next to the newspaper indicates that an interior wall was probably erected to create a small room. It has since been removed. Ghosting also indicates the position of eight stalls. Although the floor is covered with hay and debris, remains of the sandstone cobbles can be seen at the entrance. There are two windows on either side of the doorway.

On each side of the central stall area are small rooms. Both contain an interior door to and from the central space as well as an exterior door. There are windows on either side of each exterior door. These are smaller and lower than the windows in the central space. It would appear from the exterior walls that both rooms once contained a fireplace. The east room is filled with farm supplies and is almost inaccessible. The west room contains household detritus. It also includes the stairs to the loft. The loft area is also divided into three areas. They are empty. The stairs enter the eastern room. It includes a door which would have opened to the cathead. It also includes a grain shoot in the floor. Hatches can be seen in the floor on the central loft. Hay would have been dropped through these hatches to the horses below. The west room has no floor.

The lean-to at the rear also had three rooms. The west room no longer has a dividing wall, although ghosting indicates its original position. A door is lying on the floor and may have been the door between the rooms. The west exterior wall contains a long narrow window.

The central space of the lean-to contains farm machinery. The rear wall, although partially hidden by machinery, shows ghosting indicating the past presence of stalls. The east room is largely inaccessible and is filled with farm supplies. The doors to the lento have been removed. Unlike the posts supporting the loft at the front of the stables, the posts in the lean-to are not decorated.

Several metres from the rear elevation is a small well covered by an iron plate. Beside the west room of the lean-to is a water trough. Several old bricks litter the site.

It is also possible to ascertain the line of the old driveway which leads in an easterly direction from the stables to the site of the homestead. The site of the house is quite discernable. The outlines of the foundations may be clearly read on the empty site, including the bay windows. It appears to lie in exactly the direction indicated by written sources. Bricks from the house are lying around the site as is other detritus. Archaeological excavations are likely to provide ample evidence relating the house. To the south of the homestead site are the remains of a garden. Although much overgrown, there are clear indications of organised plantings. This garden was presumably created during Suisted's occupancy as sources indicate that visitors enjoyed the gracious homestead, its large lawns and the gardens with ornamental and fruit trees imported from England. Suisted also planted many trees, including blue gums, to enhance the native landscape.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1851 -
Homestead finished. Temporary residence converted to stables.

Homestead demolished

1986 - 1987
Ministry of Works and Development carried out a restoration on the building.

Original Construction
1849 - 1850
Temporary residence is built

Construction Details

Weatherboard, Pan iron tiles, Corrugated iron.

Completion Date

25th August 2009

Report Written By

Susan Irvine

Information Sources

Pinney, 1981

R. Pinney, Early Northern Otago Runs, Auckland, 1981

Thomson, 1998

Jane Thomson, (ed)., Southern People: A Dictionary of Otago Southland Biography, Dunedin: Longacre Press/Dunedin City Council, 1998.

Thornton, 1986

Geoffrey Thornton, The New Zealand Heritage of Farm Buildings, Auckland, 1986

Lyng, 1939

Jens Lyng, The Scandinavians in Australia, New Zealand and the western Pacific, Melbourne, Melbourne University Press, 1939.

Moore, 1978

C.W.S. Moore, Northern approaches : a history of Waitati, Waikouaiti, Palmerston, Dunback, Moeraki, Hampden and surrounding districts, Capper Press, Christchurch, 1978.

Other Information

A fully referenced registration report is available from the NZHPT Otago/Southland Area 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.