Mansion House

Mansion House Bay, Kawau Island

  • Mansion House, Kawau Island. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Stu Newby. Taken By: Stu Newby. Date: 21/04/2014.
  • Mansion House, Kawau Island. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Jonty Crane . Taken By: Jonty Crane . Date: 30/01/2016.
  • Mansion House, Kawau Island. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: PhillipC - Wikimedia Commons. Taken By: PhillipC. Date: 24/07/2006.
  • Mansion House, Kawau Island. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Jonty Crane . Taken By: Jonty Crane . Date: 30/01/2016.
  • Mansion House, Kawau Island. Interior.
    Copyright: Department of Conservation.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 8 Date Entered 23rd June 1983 Date of Effect 23rd June 1983


City/District Council

Auckland Council


Auckland Council

Legal description

Lot 2 DP 39418 Kawau Is Hist Reserve


This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. The following text is the original citation considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

When Sir George Grey purchased Kawau Island in 1862 he had just returned to New Zealand for his second term as Governor. However it was not until 1870 when he went to live on Kawau with his niece that he began transforming the island into the great estate it later became.

Grey employed Frederick Thatcher to extend the square twenty year old former mine manager's house. Thatcher added a very large new wing with a long verandah and sweeping bay window. The distinctive double verandah arrangement around the large bay at the front of the house was added in 1890.

Inside the house, the large drawing room is filled by Grey's impressive collection of tribal artefacts and heirlooms and part of his priceless collection of rare books later bequeathed to the citizens of Auckland. It was in this room Grey entertained invited guests and excursion parties. Many of New Zealand's most important citizens stayed at the Mansion House which Grey surrounded by extensive gardens of imported trees and plants where an array of exotic animals roamed.

When Grey sold the island in 1888 to retire in Auckland he had turned it into a veritable paradise, with the Mansion House being the central attraction. The house was run as a hotel until 1967 when it was sold to the Government for inclusion in the Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park. The house was reopened in 1979 after extensive renovations.

Finally, as a monument to the vision and zeal of one of New Zealand's most important figures the Kawau Island Mansion House is of the utmost importance.


Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1846 -

Other Information

NZIA National Architecture Award Winners 1986

Category: Conservation

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.