Nairn House

Maipito Road, Waitangi, Chatham Island

  • Nairn House, Chatham Island. February 2011.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Alison Dangerfield.
  • Nairn House, Chatham Island.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: V Morrell. Date: 2/09/2012.
  • Nairn House, Chatham Island. October 1991. Image courtesy of Pam Bain.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Pam Bain.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 5400 Date Entered 21st November 1991 Date of Effect 21st November 1991


City/District Council

Chatham Islands Territory


Chatham Islands

Legal description

Pt Kekerione 49 Te Wapu No.1 IH Pt Sec1 Kekerione etc.



Nairn House is the most notable and historic building surviving in Waitangi. It was built for Walter Hood, a Pakeha arrival who became a prominent farmer and trader. The house was built by William Baucke, who was a builder and craftsman on the Chathams, and who, in writing about his experiences, contributed much to the understanding of the Moriori lifestyle and language.

For many years Nairn House, as the grandest house on the island, was the accommodation for visiting VIPs - royalty, Governor-Generals, Prime Ministers, and others.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Nairn House is associated with Walter Hood and William Baucke, both notable figures on the Chatham Islands, and has social significance in the history of the Chathams, in being the accommodation for visiting VIPs.


A fine example of a 'grand' house of the 19th Century, and the last survivor of such a house on the Chatham Islands.


Nairn House has a cluster of associated buildings around it, including toilet, sleepout, safe, dairy, and others. Together these buildings all form an interesting group of domestic structures. They are part of a wider landscape setting of large trees and paddocks before the Nairn River.


Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description


The house was built by William Baucke, the Chathams-born son of the Moravian missionary Johann Baucke. The chimneys were later built by a visiting English bricklayer.


A two storeyed colonial house of the late 19th Century. The front elevation has a verandah and two dormer windows, with a wing extending to the north, with a bay window and gable window. The east wing was built first in 1882. It includes the hall, kitchen and dining room, which has previously functioned as a shop. An outside door opens into the store which was the storey above the shop. There are service rooms and a verandah in a lean-to on the south side.

The west wing, constructed in 1886, has a prominent bay window and decorated cable to the north. On the west elevation there is an elegant decorated verandah of six bays, two now filled in as a conservatory. Three regular half dormers above light three bedrooms on the top floor. The ground floor has two living rooms and a museum room.

The joinery is generally double hung windows of two and four lights. Doors are four-panelled with moulded architraves. Formal rooms have a vertical tongue and groove dado.

All timbers are kauri, machined in Whitianga and brought over to the Chathams. Very high levels of trade skills are shown in the carpentry and joinery of the house, in particular in the fretwork, window and door joinery, staircase and balustrade and finishing timbers.


Date unknown:

Two bays of north-west verandah filled in for conservatory.


Fourth bedroom on first floor created from roof space.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1882 - 1886

Construction Details

Kauri framing, plain and rusticated weatherboard, corrugated iron on roof, internal kauri panelling.

Information Sources

King, 2000

M King, Moriori: A People Rediscovered, Revised Edition, Penguin Publishers, Auckland, 2000

1991 Edition

King, 1990

M King & Robin Morrison 1990. A Land Apart - The Chatham Islands of New Zealand. Random Century, Auckland.

Other Information

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

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.