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Pioneer’s homestead and farm sale ends six generations of family ownership

Tags: Hawkes Bay Rural

A pioneer’s homestead residence and farm which has been continually occupied by members of the same family for six generations has been placed on the market for sale – ending some 145 years of ownership.

Hilton Station Homestead on the outskirts of Havelock North in Hawke’s Bay was built by colonial settler Robert Henry Mackenzie in 1871 and has been passed down throughout the generations from father to son ever since. Robert Mackenzie arrived in New Zealand with his family from England in 1854, aged eight.

Over the centuries, the property has hosted three Mackenzie family weddings, as well as multiple home-births during the late 1800s and early 1900s, family wakes when the ever-expanding Mackenzie clan would return from the far-flung corners of New Zealand to commemorate the passing of their own.

The farm was named Hilton Station after land owned by Robert Mackenzie’s ancestors dating back to the 1300s in Scotland and the seventh baron of Kintail. The Christian name Hilton is also carried by one of the sons of the property’s present owners. The property was originally broken in by Robert Mackenzie as a 728 hectare sheep and beef stud farm.
Now Hilton Station Homestead current owners Heather and Paul Mackenzie – the great-great-grandson of Robert Mackenzie are selling up the legacy property. Neither of the couple’s sons are interested in farming, and both Paul and Heather wish pursue other interest.
The 452 square metre five-bedroom/two-bathroom homestead on an elevated hill overlooking 3.5 hectares of land is being marketed for sale by tender through Bayleys Havelock North. Tenders close on November 17. Also up for tender is the adjoining 502.5 hectare main Hill Station farm with its own secondary residence. The two Hill Station offerings can either be bought individually, or together
Bayleys Havelock North salesperson Tim Wynne-Lewis said Hilton Station Homestead still retained many of its original features dating back to 1871 – including an unusual coffin-shaped cast-iron bathtub, and a huge birdbath on the front lawn.
“It’s incredible to think that the towering oaks, cedars and macrocarpa trees now encircling the homestead lawn would have been planted by the home’s current forefathers.
“Inside, the home’s colonial decor has remained relatively unchanged – from the high vaulted/wood ceiling hallway, the native timber grand sash windows, and three open fireplaces, through to the large ‘farmhouse’ kitchen and the billiards room reflective of bygone eras.

“Outside, the wrap-around deck under the verandah is all original… but I’m guessing the in-ground swimming pool outside was added some time in the past generation. Evidently, it was one of the first fiberglass pools to be built in Hawke’s Bay back in the 1970s – and it’s still in excellent condition today, although it needs a bit of a paint refresh."
Reminiscent of a bygone era when the homestead regularly hosted social events in the province, the manicured grounds of Hilton Station Homestead come with a grass tennis court which doubles up as a social-grade cricket pitch – capable of holding function marquees.
The Mackenzie family are prominent in the New Zealand international representative polo scene – with four generations playing for their county. At one stage, six or more Mackenzie men could be seen playing polo for the Hawke’s Bay representative team on the same day.
Mr Wynne-Lewis said Hilton Station listing represented a rarely-seen opportunity for someone to purchase a significant historic property on the outskirts of Havelock North.

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