Original Filename: Tonawhai_074.jpg ( not available for download )






Situated east of Masterton on the Castlepoint Rd. at Bennets Hill, down a ¼ mile drive it is seldom seen. The 468 acre property was originally part of Joseph Bennet's Otahuao property of 1860. Otahuao over many generations was run by the Bennet family, sold out of the family then bought back into the family by C.J. Bennet. It was eventually divided amongst four family members who drew lots for their share, with Beatrice Hannah Bennet drawing a lot named Tonawhai (meaning Her Share). Harry Coom had married Hannah and farmed Flat Spur at Makuri, where son John was born in 1917. They lived there until 1927 when Harry bought a property at Upper Plain, travelling out to and staying at Makuri during the week returning at weekends. In 1927 Beatrice inherited the 468 acre Bennet's Hill property, and by 1929 a striking house designed by Grey Young of Morton Young and Co. based on the style of Lutyens a notable English architect, had been built. The family then lived at Tonawhai until Harry was ready to retire. He then built a house in Cole St. and son John bought the property in 1945 on his return from overseas service during the war. The farm was sold in 1980.


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.