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Keirunga Homestead refurbishment paves way for community use

SC Keirunga Homestead 41 Medium

A recent refurbishment of Keirunga Homestead has secured the heritage building for the future, and made it more suitable for community hire.

During the Reserve Management Plan process in 2020, the Keirunga Arts Society asked Council to update the building that is protected under the District Plan to enable it to be used by the community, as well as continue as a creative hub.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said it was a valuable investment in preserving and enhancing this special place for current and future generations to enjoy.

“We recognise the rich history this building holds, both in its architectural features and the people associated with it and the Havelock North and wider Hastings community.

“The society’s aspiration to make this building available for community hire led to this refurbishment creating a stunning venue which is now available for our whole community to use, as well as continue as a creative hub.”

Built in 1907 the building was originally owned by Reginald and Ruth Gardiner, until Charles Tanner bought it in 1910. It changed hands again in 1929 when George Nelson and wife Elizabeth purchased the building and land and began the transformation of the surrounding grounds into a stunning park inspired by George’s love of Kew Gardens in England.

George and Elizabeth gifted Keirunga Gardens, including these buildings, to the Hastings Borough Council in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Architecturally the building embodies the Arts and Crafts style - defined by simple design, beauty and stunning craftsmanship.

In 1966, the Keirunga Gardens Society was founded - with Elizabeth Nelson as patron, and the society has leased the homestead and nearby cottage ever since.

Together with necessary repairs, the latest improvements include a new entrance that is also wheelchair accessible, better fire protection, an efficient heating system; updated lighting; new bathrooms and plumbing; updated kitchen; heritage-appropriate finishings; and a refreshed garden with heritage-appropriate planting.

All work was undertaken with guidance from a conservation plan prepared by Matthews & Matthews architects.

Keirunga Arts Society board chair Chris Moore thanked council, and the society and board members who had put a lot of work into restoring the homestead.

“It now has the potential to become one of the premier function venues in Havelock North and Hawke’s Bay.”

The venue is available for small to medium functions and events including weddings, family celebrations, informal social occasions, retreats and corporate events. 

People can book the venue through the Keirunga Arts Society – for more information and contact details for booking see this page of our website.

24 January 2024

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