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Slice of Greytown history for sale

An historic home built by a founder of the first Maori Parliament at Papawai is for sale in Greytown. PHOTOS/FILE

An historic home with links to the first Maori parliament and Katherine Mansfield is for sale in Greytown.

The home at 46 Kuratawhiti St was built in 1891 by Hamuera Tamahau Mahupuku, who was involved with the establishment of the first Maori Parliament at Papawai in the late 1890s.

It was later owned by Hamuera’s niece, Maata Mahupuku, who was a close friend of Katherine Mansfield. She appeared in several Mansfield’s novels, leading to her becoming well known within New Zealand literary circles.

Mahupuku was born in Greytown in 1890 and attended school in Wellington, after which she moved to Paris and then London.

She moved back to New Zealand in 1906, where she inherited the house and lived there for about 30 years.

She moved to Bulls in 1940.

Carol Price and Abe David bought the house 18 years ago as a family home after driving by one day and seeing the ‘for sale’ sign outside.

Price said that the house had been on the market for a while and had needed some urgent restoration work.

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“We loved the outside, but the inside was a bit scary as it needed a lot of work.”

She said the floors in one of the bathrooms had sunk in and the water was up to their ankles.

Price said they had carried out work to much of the house to bring it back to a good condition and considered it a ‘real family home’ that has seen their daughter’s marriage and many bar mitzvahs.

“It’s a really good party house,” she said.

The property, which has heritage protection status, is considered one of Greytown’s most important historic landmark residences and sits among several historic homes.

“It’s important to Greytown and people should know about it. Greytown doesn’t have many historic buildings and people don’t really know it’s here.”

The house was bought about 1942 by the Thompson family after sitting empty for several years, and they carried out work to establish the English-style gardens that wrap around the building.

“When the Thompsons planted the garden in the 1940’s they did it in an Edwardian style,” Price said.

Features of the garden included an ‘ancient Judas tree’, plenty of vegetables, and a small pond complete with several ducks.

A tree planted by Maata to commemorate the birth of her daughter was considered historic and had its own plaque, but had grown so large that it was assessed to be a danger to the building and had to be cut down.

The tree, the enormous stump of which still remains, was just over 100 years old.

Unlike other historic houses on the street, 46 Kuratawhiti St remains very much original. The most noticeable change would be a subdivision of the land, the back of which was sold just before the covid-19 pandemic.

The house also included buttons by the fireplaces in each of the rooms, which would have been used to ring a bell to signal the help.

“As far as the history of the house goes it’s really interesting,” Price said.

Maata’s neighbour Henry Stratton Izard, a solicitor and former mayor of Greytown, embezzled much of her money, for which he was eventually sent to prison.

While it is unclear how much of the money was recovered, Maata retained ownership of large amounts of land.

Izard’s former house, which sits next door, still stands but has had plenty of renovation work over the years.

The home is estimated to be worth $2.07 million, according to realestate.co.nz, and is up for tender.

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