Ahiaruhe

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Ahiaruhe.

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155

Ahiaruhe

 

Situated East of Gladstone on Ahiaruhe Rd. the northern blocks of the first Wairarapa blocks, was taken up by T.H. Northwood and H.S. Tiffen a surveyor for the New Zealand Company. Tifffen and a party of others left Wellington on 23/8/1854 and made the journey around the coast in 14 days, droving 762 ewes that were close to lambing. On the tortuous journey they only lost four ewes reaching Ahairuhe on the fifth of September 1845.  By 1854, statistical records show that Ahairuhe consisted of seven men, two women, one child, four horses, nine cattle, 2,750 sheep, with five acres under cultivation, and an annual rental of 48 pound paid. Although dissatisfied with Ahairuhe, in 1847 they extended the property across the river into the Tararua District, before moving to the Hawkes Bay. In 1853 Northwood sold his interest to Dr. J. Hildebrand who also had land in the Rangatieki.

Even though the license for Ahiaruhe was issued to Northwood then sold to Hildebrand, it started to be broken up very early. In 1858 Samuel Oates took up 800 acres, planting some gum trees by the homestead, that are now similar in size to Greytown's historic trees. 1861 saw the northern and southern blocks totalling 6,787 acres sold. Hildebrand defaulted in his obligations to Northwood in 1864, forcing Northwood to sell his remaining interests to Robert Wilson who was a brother in law of Hildebrand, who by 1874 had interests in Ahiaruhe, Bush Gully and Dry River. Henry Bunny and Vennell leased the northern block in 1871, with Bunny purchasing 4,891 acres in 1874 for 5,196 pounds, immediately selling 2,900 acres Robert Grant for 6,700 pounds. The remaining nearly 2,000 acres stayed in the Bunny family. On the death in 1919 of Henry's son H.R. Bunny the estate plus an additional 1,000 acres was valued at 67,000 pound. During the 1920s Archie Bunny sub-divided the now diminished Ahiaruhe into 14 lots, with only three reaching the reserve, the balance went in for a ballot for returned servicemen. John Hutchinson worked for Bunnys from 1921 as sharemilker and his wife a cook/housekeeper. They lived in a cottage adjacent to the homestead, then later moving into a new house known as Hagley House up the road at Hagley's Hill. Bruce Speedy had purchased Ahiaruhe in 1925-6, making many alterations and changes to the homestead to resemble his parents Burnview in the Hawkes Bay, adding a turret, leadlight windows, changing the roofline and front façade, and adding a tennis court on the front lawn. Hutchison moved to McMaster's at Pirinoa in 1927.  After he left the dairy herd was then dispersed when the dairy factory was closed and sheep farming took over under manager Jack Wright who lived in the cottage. The Ahiaruhe woolshed was unique in that it had upstairs shearers' accommodation. In 1934 Neil Speedy married and lived first at Waikaremu which was part of Ahiaruhe. He later purchased Ahiaruhe from B. Speedy's estate, and further sub-divisions took place, including the 1,000 acre Omakuri. The 1942 earthquake saw considerable damage including a chimney collapsing through a room where Cynthia and Kaye Speedy were sleeping. The leadlight windows and the turret were also damaged. In 1956 a large in-ground swimming pool was added.

Mike Murphy purchased Ahiaruhe in 1971, building a large 20m x 12m shed in 1989, later selling to his son John in 1992, who sold off 200 acres of bare land with the woolshed on to Chris Slater, retaining 25 acres as the homestead block. 1993 saw Steve and Lindy Lamb purchase Ahiaruhe, selling in 1994 to Hugh and Linda Kjestrup who have planted an olive grove of 550 trees and carried out major kitchen renovations including a wood burning range and radiators downstairs. Remnants of 1880s newspapers lining the old maid's quarters above the kitchen still remain under the altered roofline. The old cottage where the cowman and his wife the cook and housekeeper lived still stands close to the homestead, and the old dairy factory and school still remain at the end of Ahiaruhe Rd.  Greg Barnett and Fiona McKnight purchased Ahiaruhe in 2003 with stated intentions of maintaining and restoring as many of the property's historical features as possible

 

NOTE: The information contained here is a result of Des De Stefano's own research and was current at the time he was working on the project.