A majestic historic farming homestead converted into one of the South Island’s most luxurious homes has been placed on the market for sale.
Holme Station Homestead at the settlement of Maungati just south of Timaru is an imposing 1140 square metre colonial style residence sitting in the middle of 5.97 hectares of rolling countryside complete with mature English garden and native trees.
The name “Holme” draws on the founding family’s Celtic origins, and means “island of tranquility surrounded by water”, as the original 28,000 hectare station was bounded by the Pacific Ocean, the Pareora and Otaio Rivers. Today the name captures the essence of the peaceful sanctuary of the venue.
Built in 1912, Holme Station Homestead was one of the first houses in New Zealand to have electric lighting – using an innovative small-scale hydro system powered by running water dammed in a series of pools. The building which housed the pioneering hydro system is still standing in the property’s grounds.
Holme Station Homestead was completely refurbished and restored to its former glory during an extensive three year programme which was completed in 2005. Built in the Lutyens architectural style, the homestead is a sister property to the Royal Sydney Golf Course clubhouse in Rose Bay, Sydney.
The restoration programme has been to a five-star standard, and is complete in all respects, including substantial strengthening and insulation of the structure, extensive remodelling to open up what was once the servants’ quarters, installing a modern kitchen, completely rewiring the property, all-new water and waste water reticulation, installation of a diesel-fired water radiator central-heating system, reinstating the open fireplaces to a functioning state, and creating an indoor-outdoor flow to the surrounding landscaped gardens and grounds.
Structured over three levels, Holme Station Homestead consists of 10 bedrooms – eight in a super king configuration and two in a king single configuration. The residence has six full-sized bathrooms – three with period lion’s claw bathtubs.
The Holme Station Homestead land, buildings and accommodation business are being marketed for sale for $4million (including GST) through Bayleys Timaru. Salesperson Sue Morton said the land and building were being sold with all current period furnishings as chattels – ranging from the Italian leather couches in the library, through to slate billiard table in the games parlour.
The property has been rented on a self-catered basis, for a daily rack rate of $2,500 + GST. For the hosting of functions, weddings or corporate retreats, Holme Station Homestead’s banquet dining room and adjoining two lounges and games room can comfortably host up to 60 guests for dinner. Greater guest numbers have been catered for in marquees erected on adjacent extensive lawns and helipad.
Functions can be catered for through the venue’s substantial modern kitchen, or for larger events, external caterers have been used extensively.
Ms Morton said that while the stately residence had previously been run as a unique country retreat and function venue, it could just as easily be utilised as a private residence.
Holme Station Homestead traces its roots back to the early 1860s when a grand residence was built on the site by English pioneering settler Edward Elworthy. At its peak, the farm encompassed some 28,000 hectares – supporting a variety of sheep, beef, cropping and dairying operations.
When Edward Elworthy died in 1898, the original farm was divided among his three sons. Holme Station was one of the resulting blocks, and the farm was subsequently subdivided into smaller landholdings over the following decades.
In 1919, New Zealand’s first Governor-General, the Royal Navy’s Lord Jellicoe of Jutland, stayed at Holme Station prior to his vice-regal role to prepare a naval strategy document for the New Zealand Government.
Lord Jellicoe, the hero of the Battle of Jutland and described by Winston Churchill as “the only man on either side who could lose the war in a day”, brought his family, horses and wine to Holme Station, and enjoyed the world-class fly-fishing in the Pareora River, as he contemplated the naval defence of England’s most distant dominion.
Ms Morton said Holme Station Homestead’s location – within comfortable driving distances to Timaru, Christchurch, Lake Tekapo, Mt Cook, and Methven – enabled the property to operate as a ‘hub’ for multi-day recreational activities such as trophy deer hunting, salmon and trout fishing, mountain biking and hiking, skiing, and kayaking.
“As a result of having so much to do in the immediate vicinity, the property has been a magnificent sanctuary for the current owners, and a wonderful retreat for many visitors booking out the entire venue in a self-catering arrangement,” Ms Morton said.