Vogel House, Cottage and Grounds

75 Woburn Road, Lower Hutt

  • Vogel House.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Imelda Bargas. Date: 1/10/2007.
  • Vogel House, northern elevation.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Imelda Bargas. Date: 1/10/2007.
  • Grounds.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Imelda Bargas. Date: 1/10/2007.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7757 Date Entered 27th June 2008 Date of Effect 27th June 2008


Extent of List Entry

Registration includes the land described as Lot 1 DP22396, Wellington Land District, and the buildings and structures known as Vogel House including the cottage thereon, and their fittings, fixtures and two chattels (eighteenth century grandfather clock and the photograph of Queen Elizabeth II). (Refer to Extent of Registration Map in Appendix 1 of the Registration Report for further information.)

City/District Council

Lower Hutt City


Wellington Region

Legal description

Lot 1 DP22396, Wellington Land District


The land and buildings collectively known as Vogel House, Lower Hutt, form a historic place of outstanding value due to their association with a number of historical figures, many of whom can be regarded as significant in New Zealand's history.

During the mid to late 19th century the land was owned (at different times) by notable New Zealand Company settlers who played important roles in the early political and social life of the young colony. It is very likely that one early settler family, the Kelhams, built the small cottage that still survives today as a gatehouse in the 1870s to 1880s.

During the early twentieth century the property changed hands a number of times, until James and Jocelyn Vogel acquired it in 1932. James Vogel was the grandson of Premier Sir Julius Vogel (1835-1899) and the great grandson of Premier James Edward Fitzgerald. Jocelyn Riddiford was the daughter of Vivian Riddiford of Woburn, Lower Hutt (1879-1934), and the great grand niece of Governor Sir George Grey. The Vogels commissioned Christchurch architect Heathcote Helmore (1894-1965) to design a house in 1933. Helmore's design for the newlyweds included elements of the then in vogue Colonial neo-Georgian style, popular with the well-to-do of New Zealand society of the 1920s and 30s. While the house was being built the couple lived in the cottage. In 1965, fearing that the property would be subdivided on their deaths, the Vogels gifted the house and grounds to the nation. At the time, much was made of the fact that the property had been gifted in the centennial year of parliamentary government in Wellington, given the role that the ancestors of the Vogels had played.

From 1966 to 1976 the property was leased for the Australian High Commissioner's residence. The exit of the High Commissioner in 1976 allowed the Government the opportunity to offer the property to the newly elected Prime Minister Robert Muldoon as an official residence. Muldoon was very happy to accept on the condition that the entire property would undergo a complete renovation, the latter being completed in 1980 by the Ministry of Works and Development. He and his wife Thea lived at Vogel House from 1977 to 1984, during which time they entertained a number of notable quests including members of the Royal family. In 1985 the new Prime Minister David Lange chose not to use the house as a residence, and the place became a popular venue for charity functions and entertaining visiting dignitaries.

When the Prime Minister's official residence shifted to Thorndon in 1990, Vogel House became available as a ministerial residence and continues in this role today. Douglas Graham (later Sir Douglas), the Minister for Justice and his wife Beverley lived in Vogel House for nine years from 1990. Cabinet member Jim Anderton, leader of the Alliance and Progressive parties and Deputy Prime Minister in the Labour-led coalition government from 1999-2002, and his wife Carole took up residence in Vogel House in 1999. The Andertons remain the occupants of the house in 2008, and have overseen restoration and renovation work to such a standard that Vogel House is intended to be used as a temporary residence for the Governor-General while Government House is being renovated and restored.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The land and buildings collectively known as Vogel House, Lower Hutt, form an historic place of outstanding value, for their association both with important public figures and significant historic events. Firstly it is associated with a number of New Zealand Company immigrants and their families, most notably the Kelhams of which James Kelham was a noted civil servant and politician during the early days of the colony. The cottage, which was lived in by Georginia Kelham remains a tangible link to this period in time and is considered to be one of the oldest house remaining in Lower Hutt. The association of the property with the Riddifords and Vogels and the use of the Vogel House as a diplomatic residence are significant in their own right, but the use, since 1976, as a prime ministerial / ministerial residence, gives the house very great significance. The most important occupant of the house was Prime Minister Rob (later Sir Robert) Muldoon, one of the most influential of all New Zealand political leaders. Muldoon was a strong and sometimes controversial prime minister, whose influence on the country's social and political direction was substantial. Muldoon and his wife Thea spent nearly seven years in Vogel House and greatly enjoyed the house. Other important political figures, ministers Doug Graham (later Sir Douglas) and Jim Anderton, (Deputy Prime Minster from 1999-2002), have also occupied the house for lengthy periods, further adding to the house's rich history.

Since 1976 (and probably prior to this when it was a diplomatic residence) the house has been visited and occupied by important state visitors, the most important being the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in 1977. Notable events such as state dinners and receptions have been held at the house.

Aesthetic significance or value

Vogel House has very high aesthetic value, as a picturesque house in a highly attractive setting. The house was built in what was already an established area of Lower Hutt. Attention has always been paid to the house's setting with a garden designed as part of the construction of the house and since then there have been various revamps of the garden.

Architectural significance or value

Vogel House is a fine example of 1930s domestic architecture and a good example of the work of the noted architectural firm Helmore and Cotterill, The practice made its name during the 1930s designing large houses for the wealthy and Vogel House is one of their best known works.

The cottage is an example of nineteenth century construction and design and has modest architectural value for that.

Social significance or value

Vogel House has high social significance. Over many years the grounds and main house have been utilised for charitable purposes, attracting large crowds of people, on one occasion nearly 12,000 people in one day. The house is well known for that reason and also for its high profile, particularly when it was a Prime Ministerial residence and the house was featured prominently in the media.

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

Vogel House and land on which it is sited has outstanding association with events and persons of importance in New Zealand history. Firstly it is associated with a number of New Zealand Company immigrants and their families, most notably the Kelhams of which James Kelham was a noted civil servant and politician during the early days of the colony. The cottage, which was lived in by Georginia Kelham remains a tangible link to this period in time. Vogel House is associated with the Vogel family whose descendant Julius Vogel was one of the most important politicians of the nineteenth century. Much was made of the fact that the property was gifted in the centennial year of parliamentary government in Wellington, given the role that the ancestors of the Vogels had played its formation.

The gifting of Vogel House to the Crown was a significant event that opened up the house for its later and most significant period of use. Its use since 1976, as a prime ministerial / ministerial residence, gives the house very great significance. The property has been occupied by a number of notable people, the most significant being Prime Minister Robert Muldoon, whose influence on the country's social and political direction was substantial. Other important occupants have included Prime Minister David Lange, and ministers Doug Graham and Jim Anderton, (former Deputy Prime Minister).

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

Vogel House has high community association as the house and grounds have been used for charity functions or art displays since the 1970s. These occasions have been well attended. On one open day 12,000 people came through the gates. The house remains in regular use for public events.

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

Vogel House is an important example of domestic architecture from the first half of the 20th century. It is the work of Helmore and Cotterill, an important architectural partnership, and demonstrates the skill of Heathcoate Helmore in designing large and elegant houses. The house has been extended and refurbished in a largely sympathetic way, which is testimony to the quality of the designers who worked on the house in more recent times.

The cottage demonstrates 19th century practices in design and timber construction and has technical interest for that.


It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category I historic place because of its outstanding historical significance.

For nearly 150 years (excepting a small interlude in the early 1900s) the grounds and subsequent buildings have been associated with figures important in the political history of New Zealand. In this respect it is the unique combination of Vogel House and the cottage that make this historic place particularly special. The cottage is considered to be one of the oldest houses in the Hutt Valley and was once the home of Georginia Kelham the wife of James Kelham. James Kelham was a New Zealand Company employee, who served in Wellington's First Provincial Government as well as represented the Town of Wellington in New Zealand's first parliament. The Vogels later used it for staff accommodation following the construction of the main house, and continued in this fashion following the gifting of the property to the Government in 1965. Its survival is linked to the main Vogel House.

From the mid 1970s Vogel House was the official residence of the Prime Minister, during which time Robert Muldoon, arguably the property's most notable resident, lived in the house. It was at this time the property underwent its greatest change in order to be a suitable place for its new purpose. Following the move of the official Prime Minister's residence to Thorndon in 1990, the house has occupied by a number of Ministers of the Crown.

There are a number of residences associated with New Zealand Premiers or Prime Ministers that have been registered by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust. A list of these residences is available appended to the Registration Report. Seven out of the nine residences identified as currently registered are Category I historic places.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Helmore & Cotterill

The partnership between Heathcote Helmore (1894-1965) and Guy Cotterill (1897-1981) began in 1924. Based in Christchurch, both men had attended Christ's College, served articles under Cecil Wood, and then travelled to England in 1920. On their way to England they stopped at New York, and due to a delay were able to travel to Yorkstown, Virginia where they saw examples of American Colonial architecture. In England Helmore worked for Sir Edwin Lutyens, who at the time was concentrating on Neo-Georgian buildings. Both of these events influenced the later architectural direction of Helmore and Cotterill, who, when they returned to New Zealand, began to design houses that were neo-Georgian in style but built from timber, like the American Colonial Georgian houses, rather than the English brick. Their partnership ended with Helemore's death in 1965.

Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is the original citation considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration. Information in square brackets indicates modifications made after the paper was considered by the NZHPT Board.

The Early History of the Cottage and Grounds

The land on which Vogel House is now located is part section 25, Hutt District. In 1853 a Crown Grant for this section was issued to Edward Daniell. Captain Edward Daniell (1800-1866) had been an employee of the New Zealand Land Association from 1836 to 1839. He arrived in Wellington in 1839 and was a member of the Committee for First Settlement, the first governing authority for the newly established New Zealand Company settlement. Within three years he had acquired over 120 hectares of property mostly in what is now known as the Wellington suburb of Ngaio. In 1848 Daniell and his family moved out to their estate in the Hutt Valley. In 1864 Daniell sold part of section 25 to Mr Cudby, who in 1865 sold it to Georginia Kelham, the wife of James Kelham.

James Kelham was an employee in the London office of the New Zealand Company. In 1842 he and Georginia immigrated to New Zealand. James established himself as an accountant, and was later appointed the first Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce (1856-1858). In 1853 he was elected to represent the Town of Wellington in the first General Assembly, and in 1856 he represented Wellington City on the Wellington Provincial Council. In 1864 James purchased section 21 in the Hutt District, adjacent to the land that his wife Georginia was to purchase a year later. When James retired the couple moved into a house named Tredenham that had been constructed on section 21. James died in 1882, leaving the bulk of his estate to Georginia. Georginia sold the house and section 21 in 1890, but retained section 25. It is likely that not long after James' death, Georginia went to reside in the small cottage now known as the 'Gatehouse' on section 25. It is not known exactly when the cottage was built but some features, such as the decorative elements over some of the windows, suggest that the cottage may date to the 1870s. She remained there until her death in 1893, after which her estate was left to Nina Riddiford, the child of Nina Olive Kelham, the Kelhams only daughter who had married Daniel George Riddiford in 1884. Two trustees managed the property on behalf of Nina Riddiford - the Reverend Thomas Fancourt of Johnsonville and William Fitzherbert. One month after Georginia's death, the estate was sold to George Albert Chapman.

Chapman sold the property in 1904 to Ellen Alexander, wife of William Alexander, a clerk of Lower Hutt. From 1914 John Wilson leased the property, until it was sold to Mabel Jaggen, the wife of Norman Jaggen, in 1921. The property was again sold two years later to James Arnold, Lower Hutt engineer. There is some evidence that Arnold operated a small chicken farm and dairy on the property. In 1932 Arnold sold the property to James Vogel.

The Vogels

James (Jim) Vogel was the grandson of Premier Sir Julius Vogel (1835-1899) and the great grandson of Premier James Edward Fitzgerald. In 1932 he married Jocelyn Riddiford, the daughter of Vivian Riddiford of Woburn, Lower Hutt (1879-1934), and the great grand niece of Governor Sir George Grey.

The couple extended the property by acquiring a small piece of land from St James Church, while an area near Woburn Road was 'a gift of a Mr Bunny' a man who Jocelyn Vogel would have known as an Uncle. The property was acquired to build a house for the newlyweds and was a gift from Jocelyn Vogel's parents - not as a wedding present but more as a place to live. The area was long associated with wealthy settler families, and in particular Jocelyn Vogel's family the Riddifords, whose large estate known as Woburn (established in 1855) was to eventually lend its name to the entire suburb. The Vogels' house was one of a growing number of large Woburn homes, many of which still exist today, although not necessarily with their original curtilages.

The Vogels commissioned Christchurch architect Heathcote Helmore (1894-1965) to design the house in 1933. During his early career Helmore was articled to Cecil Wood and later Edwin Lutyens in London. After World War One he settled in Christchurch where in 1924 he joined in partnership with Guy Cotterill. It was a partnership that was to last until Helmore's death in 1965. Helmore and Cotterill gained a name for themselves for designing elegant houses for both the wealthy of Christchurch, particularly in the Papanui-Fendalton area, but also around the country, including Wellington and the Wairarapa. Both partners favoured the Colonial neo-Georgian style, but also utilised other styles such as Spanish Mission and Art Deco.

Carpenter Walter [Verran Dyer, of the firm Dyer and Halse] built the house and while construction took place, the couple lived in the cottage which had been renovated for their use. According to an article in the Weekly News, [Dyer] was the first person to receive an honorary degree from Massey University, and when he retired from the building trade he entered public life and was for many years chairman of Massey's Board of Governor's.

Helmore's design for the Vogels drew upon elements of the architect's preferred Colonial neo-Georgian style, popular with well-heeled New Zealanders of the 1920s and 30s, as well as English Domestic Revival architecture. When completed the two-storey house had over 15 rooms with a large entrance hall leading to a terrace overlooking the garden and a large dining room and living room on either side. There were rooms for servants and, probably quite novel for the time, a built-in double garage. Helmore continued his association with the house, as he was later to advise the Vogels on the redecoration of the dining room.

Surrounding the house was a formal garden that had been laid out by Arthur Porter from 1933 to 1940. At the time the house was built there had been only two or three trees around the cottage. A number of trees and shrubs were brought from the Riddiford estate at Woburn located in the area on the western side of Woburn Road and now substantially occupied by Hutt Valley High School and suburban developments. The cottage (today also referred to as the gatehouse) was used for the accommodation of domestic staff.

James Vogel took over an importing company in Lower Hutt. In 1937 he was elected to the Hutt Borough Council, from which he took a leave of absence during World War Two. During the war he served in the Middle East and was eventually promoted to lieutenant colonial, receiving an OBE in 1944. Following the war Vogel continued his business but also participated in the local community. He served as a Hutt City Councillor, chairman of the Transit Housing Citizens' Committee, a member of Hutt Valley Technical College board of managers, chairman of the local Air League branch, president of the local Returned Services Association and the Horticultural Society. In the 1946 national election he unsuccessfully ran against Walter Nash for the Hutt seat. He was also commissioner for the Hutt Valley and Bays Boy Scouts (1937-1949).

In late 1963 to early 1964 the Vogels decided to give the house and grounds (including the cottage or gatehouse) to the nation. Contrary to later reports the initial offer did not come with strict conditions for its future use. Instead the Vogel's offered the house for visiting VIPs 'but this is in no way an arbitrary condition if there is another use for it.' One of the reasons for this was to save the house from the bulldozers, as had been the fate of Riddiford family home of Woburn. As a condition of the gift the property, which was handed over fully furnished, was to remain intact. The government accepted the offer on 13 July 1965 with one of the conditions being that the Vogels could remain in the property until their deaths. There was to be no binding condition of use but the Vogel's were assured that the property would ‘as far as reasonably possible will be kept as an entity for public purposes.' During these discussions, Prime Minister Keith Holyoake and his wife Norma were entertained at least once at the Woburn Road house. The ‘Original Deed of Gift' was signed on 7 September 1965, and a ‘Original Supplementary Gift' was signed on 14 December 1965. The deed of gifts included a number of chattels including a painting by Goldie and two paintings by Barraud. Special legislation had to be passed to exempt property from any estate, gift or tax duties. This was done through the Finance Act of 1965. In the second reading of the bill the Minister of Finance H R Lake stated:

The gift which is subject to the life interest of the donors, has been prompted by the desire of Mr and Mrs Vogel to leave to the people of New Zealand their home in which they have lived since their marriage, as a recognition of the long and happy association which both their families have had with this country since its pioneering days. Both the Vogel and Riddiford names have been well known and respected from the earliest days of the colony, and the home of Mr and Mrs Vogel when it vests in the Crown following their life interest will always be a reminder of to the people of New Zealand of the influence those two pioneering families have had on the growth and development of this young country. The gift is not subject to any restrictive trusts, but Mr and Mrs Vogel have expressed the wish that, if possible, the property should be kept intact, as an entity, for some appropriate private purpose.

Much was also made of the fact that the property was gifted in the centennial year of parliamentary government in Wellington, given the role that the ancestors of the Vogels had played its formation.

As the Government did not expect that the property would come into their possession for a number of years, little thought was given to the future use of the building. At one point there was an idea that the house and grounds could be turned into a New Zealand Administration College, the extensive grounds providing ample room to construct the necessary buildings. However, in 1966 the Vogels decided to leave the house for family reasons and retire to their residence in the Marlborough Sounds. This left the Government searching for a use for the property.

The Vogels suggested that the Australian High Commission, who were looking for a temporary residency, would be a suitable tenant, and by mid 1966 the Government had entered into discussions with the Vogels over this proposed new use for the building. The Australian High Commission were known to be keen to secure the Vogel property as it adjoined the temporary American Embassy. The Americans were not the only foreign delegation in the neighbourhood - the United Kingdom Trade Commissioner lived at 22 Myrtle Street, a property which backed on to the Vogel Residence and had loaned from the Vogels a piece of land on the boundary of the two properties. Due to the change of use the Vogels took the opportunity to change the deeds of gift - this time many of the chattels, which were to be gifted to the Government, were now regarded as on loan. A new deed of gift was signed on 15 November 1966. The Vogels left the property on 30 November 1966.

The Australian High Commission

The first Australian High Commissioner to take up residence at the Woburn Road property was Sir Edwin Hicks. He and his wife, Lady Hicks, lived in the house until 1971 when a new high commissioner, Dame Annabelle Rankin, was appointed. On taking up the appointment, Rankin asked that a number of changes be made to the residence. These changes included the extension of the dining room by 2.74 metres towards the main lawn, the provision of a fire escape from the High Commissioner's bedroom, the replacement of a kauri bench in the kitchen and the construction of a canopy above the main entrance. The work was supervised by the Ministry of Works and mostly undertaken by T. W. Tregaskis and Company. The renovations (minus the fire escape, which the High Commissioner later asked not to be built) were completed in December 1972 and cost $12,595.96. Later, in 1973, a large brick entrance gate was built, again at the request of the High Commissioner, to improve the security of the grounds.

The last High Commissioner to live at the Woburn Road property was a Mr Moodie and his wife. They lived in the property until June 1976 when a new residency was completed in the Wellington suburb of Khandallah. As the Australian High Commission tenure drew to a close, thought was given to a new use and in particular the occupation of the house as a prime ministerial residence.

The Prime Ministerial / Ministerial Residence

The idea that the Woburn Road property would be suitable for a Prime Minster's residence was suggested at the time the Vogels handed the house over to the Government by way of deed of gift. At the time Prime Minister Holyoake did not require the property, and later Prime Ministers were not considered due to the lease agreement with the Australian High Commission. The exit of the High Commissioner in 1976 allowed the Government the opportunity to offer the property to the newly elected Prime Minister Robert (Rob) Muldoon (later Sir Robert). Muldoon was very happy to accept on the condition that the entire property would undergo a complete renovation. These renovations included the construction of a self-contained flat above an extended study and garage, the rearrangement of the remaining bedrooms to create guest and family suites and the provision of a conference room downstairs with associated cloakrooms. After discussions at Cabinet level and involving the Leader of the Opposition, it was decided that the project was too expensive to be undertaken all at once and that the work would be undertaken in two stages with the essential work being carried out first.

The first stage of the work commenced in August 1976. This involved the construction of the flat, the extension of the study to provide a conference venue, refitting of the kitchen and redecoration of the dining and reception areas. The latter was undertaken in expectation that the Queen would dine at the house on her visit to New Zealand in 1977. This redecoration included a complete refurnishing of the house as there was very few furnishings left and those that remained were in need of replacement. The only items that were identified as having any value were the eighteenth century grandfather clock that still stands in the entrance hall today, and a clothes press. The Ministry of Works supervised the work and the principal contractor was O.V. Smith Ltd. of Lower Hutt. The entire cost of the first stage of the work was $129,064.87.

In 1977 consideration was given to the future of the cottage. Three possibilities were proposed: maintain, restore or demolish. At the time the Muldoons' housekeeper occupied the house. Initially it was decided to undertake repairs including repiling and reroofing. A carport was added to the side of the building in 1978. In 1979 the shed behind the cottage was demolished to make way for a staff lunchroom and toilets for the public to use during garden parties. This work was completed by January 1980. The following year $16,000 was spent on renovations to the cottage.

Stage two of the work on the main house commenced at the end of 1978 and involved renovation of the bedrooms and the modification of the downstairs kitchen, servery and staff accommodation. A new bedroom was built in the roof space above the original maid's quarters and a porte-cochere added to main entrance. All the work was undertaken under the supervision of Ministry of Works and Development architect, John Rowe and cost c.$250,000.

Rob and Thea Muldoon moved into Vogel house at the beginning of 1977 and lived at the Woburn Road property for nearly seven years. During this time the property became officially known as Vogel House. The Muldoons entertained a number of people of note including the Queen and Prince Philip (1977) and the Prince and Princess of Wales (1983). The Muldoon's younger daughter was married in the garden. The downstairs facilities provided a suitable venue for confidential conferences, particularly at budget time. On one occasion there was a conference on the Closer Economic Relations (CER) Trade Agreement attended by Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Doug Anthony. During the Muldoon era local charities would use the lawn of the house for fundraising and horticultural and garden societies also visited the property.

Muldoon was a keen gardener and was particularly keen on orchids, which he reputedly used to grow in the flower room under the stairs of Vogel House. Another space well used by Muldoon was the study in the upstairs flat. It is said that Muldoon used this room to write his speeches. In later years Muldoon said of Vogel House:

'I always used to get back there by midday Sunday and found it very very comfortable. I'd walk around the garden, do my cabinet papers, tape a speech or two, something like that you know - I developed quite an attachment to the place'.

It was about this time that the New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT) became interested in the cottage. By this stage it was recognised that the building was one of the oldest remaining structures in the Lower Hutt area. In recognition of its architectural and historical significance the building was classified ‘C' under the Historic Places Act 1980.

In 1981 the Vogel family requested that the remaining chattels be returned to the family. (A number had already been returned at the request of Jocelyn Vogel when the house was used as the Australian High Commission.) The only notable chattel that was left in the house was the grandfather clock, which is currently located in the main entrance hall.

In 1983 Jocelyn Vogel visited the house (her husband had died in 1971). While there she inspected a scarlet oak that had been planted in the grounds of the house to commemorate 50 years since the commencement of the building of the house by the Vogels.

In 1984 National lost the snap election to Labour, and Robert Muldoon's nine years as Prime Minister came to an end. Many commentators regarded Muldoon as one of New Zealand's most formidable but divisive leaders. He was certainly Vogel House's most notable occupant.

The newly elected Prime Minister David Lange lived in the property only very briefly. He moved into Wellington after a few months, preferring to live closer to Parliament. However, he did on occasion entertain dignitaries at Vogel House. Vogel House and grounds also continued to be used as a venue for charity functions. In 1986 it was used for an exhibition of antique and architectural drawings entitled Past Tense, held as part of the International Festival of the Arts. During the exhibition Jocelyn Vogel again visited the house along with more than 10,000 members of the public. In 1990 National won the election. At this time the property was placed under review. The new Prime Minister James (Jim) Bolger did not require the property as a residence as the Prime Minister's Residence in Thorndon [Register No 1371 Category I] had recently been renovated for a Prime Ministerial residence. Vogel House was then offered to Douglas (Doug) Graham (later Sir Douglas), the Minister for Justice. Doug Graham and his wife Beverley lived in Vogel House for the next nine years. During this time Mrs Graham somewhat controversially converted the formal garden into a cottage garden. The Grahams also oversaw the removal of the brick wall from around the patio and the retiling of the patio with slate.

In 1999 the Grahams moved out and the house was offered to cabinet member Jim Anderton, at the time leader of the Alliance party and Deputy Prime Minister in the Labour-led coalition government from 1999-2002, who took up residence there with his wife Carole. The following year the Andertons opened the house to the public and over 12,000 visitors came through the gates. From about 2002 the Andertons instigated a programme of restoration to address areas of disrepair, and the house was gradually renovated, including work on the upstairs flat and main kitchen as well as the roof and exterior. In addition Mrs Anderton, a garden and landscape consultant, undertook to restore the formal gardens using the original landscaping plans. The Andertons remain the occupants of the house in 2008, and have overseen the restoration and renovation work to such a standard that Vogel House is intended to be used as a temporary residence for the Governor-General while Government House is being renovated and restored. The cottage is no longer used for staff accommodation and is currently rented. It was completely repiled in 2007.

Physical Description


Vogel House is located not far from the Hutt City's civic centre, which includes The Lower Hutt Council Buildings, War Memorial Library and Riddiford Gardens [Register No 7520]. To the west Vogel House shares a common boundary with St James Church [Register No 7520]. The Ohapu River (Black Creek) delineates the north-eastern boundary of the property. The eastern boundary is shared with a number of houses, including the Hutt Club.

On the southern boundary two gates, a main gate and a smaller gate mark the entrance to the property. The main gate consists of a pair of framed and ledged redwood gates sheathed with vertical tongue and groove (T&G) set between two large brick piers. The smaller adjoining matching gateway is for the cottage or gatehouse.

From the cottage it is a short drive along a gravel driveway lined with flowerbeds to the main house. The garden features a number of mature trees, many of which are believed to date to the building of the Vogel House. In front of the main house (the northern elevation) there is a large area of lawn that slopes down towards the Ohapu River. At the far edge of the lawn is a tree planted to mark 50 years since the construction of Vogel House and the laying out of the garden. At its base is a plaque commemorating the event. To the left of the main house is a brick feature wall and a line of trees beyond which is another lawned area and the cottage.


The cottage is a one and a half storey timber framed building. It is built to a rectangular plan and has a steeply pitched gable roof that features finials at each end. At the rear of the cottage (north end) there is a single storey lean-to with a central, slightly recessed back door.

The main entrance is up three wooden steps and is approached through an ornate, gabled porch. There are windows to the right and left of the porch, the right hand one being double-framed and featuring a label stop above it. Above and to the right of the porch, immediately below the eaves, is a centrally placed, miniature sash window. The south-facing gabled end of the building has two windows, one above the other. The lower is double-framed, with a label stop; the upper is a single-framed and plain. The east facing main wall has a single window at the ground floor level. At the first floor level the window is of patterned glass, with coloured panes in the rectangular surround. The lean-to wall on this side contains a modern, timber framed window. The gable on the north end of the house has two windows at the first floor level.

Inside the cottage there are seven rooms: three downstairs and four upstairs. The lounge at the south end runs the full width of the cottage and has two sets of windows. The stairs are located adjacent to the lounge, and to the north-east is a smaller room which was probably the original dining room. At the north end of the building is a large kitchen which runs the full width of the building, and has a pantry and a laundry towards the back door and off to the left respectively.

The stairs are relatively wide and are not steep. They have turned newel balusters and ornate newel posts. The four rooms upstairs are of various sizes. The largest room is the master bedroom, which is located immediately above the lounge. Another room has been modernised as a bathroom.

The whole cottage retains wide skirting boards, architraves around the doors and windows, four-panelled doors and door furniture. Most of this is in original condition, although heavily painted over. Some original window catches remain. Ceilings have been relined using a textured material, with brown-painted timber battens (probably during the 1950s). It is unclear whether the ceilings were lowered when this change was made. (Based on a site report by Geoff Mew, October 2003.)

Main house - Vogel House

Vogel House is a large, two storey timber structure designed in a mixture of Colonial neo-Georgian - the steep roofs, dormered windows and louvered shutters - and English Domestic Revival architecture in the manner of English architect Edwin Luytens early houses, whose work heavily influenced Helmore and Cotterill. The latter was characterised by the elaborate massing of the house's gabled wings, the tall chimney stacks and flared roofs.

The southern elevation features two two-storey gables that project out from the main body of the house. The gables are flared and at the end of each side of the gables is a decorative bracket. Narrow louvre windows add a decorative element to the apex of each gable. The main entrance is situated between the wings. A large timber porte cochére over the entrance way mimics the apex of the gables. The area beneath the porte cochére has been recently tiled (the tiles matching those on the terrace of the northern elevation). The main entrance is a double door above which is a skylight featuring a sunburst motive. The multi pane windows are generally sash (double or single), the most notable exception being a long window to the west of the main entrance that provides light to the stairwell. A number of the windows have decorative shutters. At the eastern end of the northern façade, and set back from the eastern main gable, is a smaller gabled structure, containing the service entrance to the kitchen area. A wooden screen hides this area from the view of the main entrance.

The western elevation features two gables: a larger northern gable being at the end of the main body of the house, and a smaller southern gable being the service area. The other notable elevation is the northern elevation. This elevation features a two-storey gable that projects from the main axis of the house. The gabled section includes two dormers, one on either side of the gable roof. French doors on the first storey of the gable lead to a Juliet wrought iron balcony. Below this is a bay window with a flared roof. The middle of the elevation features a tiled terrace with French doors leading from the entrance hall to the terrace. French doors also lead from the dining room extension to the garden. There are also two dormers projecting from the main roof.

Through the main entrance is a small lobby, divided from an entrance hall by two glass doors. Directly opposite this lobby are glass doors out to the terrace and the garden beyond. The entrance hall features a fireplace to the right of the main door. Along the left wall is the eighteenth century grandfather clock given to the Crown by the Vogels.

In the far right corner of the hall is a door leading to the dining room. This room features a large table capable of sitting twenty people. There is a fireplace (which backs onto the hall fireplace). French doors leads out to the terrace. A further door leads to the kitchen area. In between dining room and kitchen area is a small secure room with a heavy door which would have been used storing items such as silverware.

The kitchen features an island bench top. Part of the wall of one of the original storerooms has been removed to allow space for two refrigerators. The doorframe remains. From the kitchen access is gained to the servery. Beyond the kitchen is what was once the maid's sitting room. The fireplace has been blocked. A sliding door opposite the entrance to the maid's sitting room leads to a small room that now contains the water heater. Beyond these rooms is a door leading to the back porch area, where the laundry and two smaller rooms, one of which is the outside toilet, are located.

Returning to the entrance hall a door on the right leads to a large sitting room. Within the sitting room one wall has recessed shelves, while the far wall features a large fireplace and double hung sash windows that drop to the floor. The room features a portrait of the Queen Elizabeth II that was taken in that room.

Leaving the sitting room, the west wing of the house features the main staircase, under which is the flower room, with a cupboard space believed to have once contained the telephone.

Further along the hall are ladies and men's toilets and internal access to the garage. The garage contains a large beam that marks the original length of the garage, before it was extended to accommodate the upstairs flat. At the end of the hall is a conference room notable for the timber panelling which features on all four walls. Above the fireplace, and hidden behind the panelling, is a safe. At the end of the room is an alcove with shelving.

To the left of the upstairs landing is the entrance to the private flat featuring a small sitting and dining area, a kitchen, and large bedroom from which there is access to a bathroom. There is also a room with no windows where the external light comes from a skylight.

To the right of the landing is a small lobby area lit by a skylight. A door leads to a large bedroom with ensuite bathroom. A private sitting room can be accessed from this room.

Returning to the lobby, another door leads to an area that contains timber panelled linen cupboards. Beyond this area are bedrooms, a bathroom, separate toilet, and large bedroom that occupy the roof space created by one of the gables.

Other outbuildings

There are two single storey outbuildings. The first is located near the kitchen area of the main house and contains a men's and women's changing pavilion, with a gardeners shed attached. A second outbuilding is located behind the cottage and there is also a public toilet facility completed in 1980.

(Based on a site visit by Helen McCracken with Imelda Bargas, NZHPT and Paul Romanos, DIA, October 2007.)

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1870 - 1880
Cottage later known as the 'Gatehouse' constructed.

Original Construction
1933 -
Construction begun on new house.

1972 -
Curved roof extension to the dining room of main house.

1976 -
Main house - [Stage 1] Conference Room (original study) and garage enlarged and extended further west. Separate apartment added by extending the bedroom above the garage. French doors and a wrought iron balcony added.

1978 -
Main house - [Stage 2] Bedrooms, downstairs kitchen and servery modified. Bedroom built in roof space above the original maids quarters on eastern end. Porte-cochere added to main entrance.

1978 -
Cottage repiled (possibly partially) and roof repaired.

1979 -
Construction of cottage carport. Demolition of shed behind cottage. Replaced with staff luncheon facilities and public toilets.

1980 -
Renovations to cottage.

1992 -
Brick wall demolished and patio covered with slate.

2002 -
Renovations to main house including self-contained flat.

2007 -
Cottage completely repiled.

Construction Details

Vogel House: Concrete foundations; timber floors (heart matai and jarrah) and main wall studs (redwood); lath and plaster walls and ceilings.

Gate House: timber-framed.

Completion Date

22nd May 2008

Report Written By

Helen McCracken, contributed to by Jenny May.

Information Sources

Cyclopedia of New Zealand, 1897

Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908, Vol.1, Wellington, 1897

Millar, 1972

David Millar, Once Upon a Village, a History of Lower Hutt, 1819-1965, Wellington, 1972

Scholefield, 1940

G. H. Scholefield, A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, 1940

Ward, 1928

L. Ward, Early Wellington, Wellington, 1928

Other Information

A fully referenced registration report is available from the NZHPT Central 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.