Letter to Duncan MacIntyre About Stoneycroft 1967



208W Lyndon Road,
Hastings, N.Z.

2 March 1967.

Dear Duncan,

Enclosed is an official letter about Stoneycroft.

Joyce and I feel that the home should be preserved as an example of one of the oldest houses in Hawkes Bay; and for that matter, in New Zealand.

With the increased rating I can envisage that it may become impossible for us to hold this property in its present state. The enquiries Joyce has made to date tend to indicate that the Historical Places Trust has little “teeth” in its decisions.

I intend to do my damnest to stop any property speculator in the future from destroying this house, which is in good condition after nearly a century. I can imagine someone, after my demise, pulling down the house, selling the kauri and totara, and getting a fabulous sum for the land.

All this may seem silly to you, but I think not, as you have the same love of New Zealand that I have, and you and I have both risked our lives for this country.

I feel that the house and some 3 or 4 acres of land with the trees should suffice for our purpose.

With kind regards,

Yours sincerely,



208W Lyndon Road,
Hastings, N.Z.

2 March 1967.

The Hon. Duncan MacIntyre,
Parliament House,

Dear Sir,

Stoneycroft, Hastings.

I am writing to you in an official capacity as Minister of Lands, as the Member for the Hastings Electorate and as XX a person who might be interested in preserving the house from an historical aspect.

Unfortunately the original titles to this property were destroyed in the Hawkes Bay earthquake of 1931 and to date we have been unable to discover when the house was built.

In “The cyclopedia of New Zealand.” published in 1908 a photograph of the house is depicted on page 476 under the title: – “Stoneycroft”, the residence of Mr. N. E. Beamish.

In a modern book of New Zealand the house is described by Kenneth Melville as one of the few remaining examples of early Colonial architecture. A photograph is included.

It appears that the house was originally built by Mr. William Birch about a century ago. The land I think was bought from Mr. J.N. Williams, who at that time owned Frimley.

I purchased this property, comprising some 21 acres, in 1954 when it then lay in the Hawkes Bay County. A few years later, despite objections on my part, half of the land was taken by the Hastings City Council.

It has been the purpose of my wife and myself to restore the house and grounds fitting to one of the oldest homes in Hawkes Bay. We propose to offer this house with an appropiate [appropriate] area, including a number of fine trees planted by Mr. William Birch with the advice of Mr. Guthrie Smith, to the historical trust board.

I should be very grateful for your advice on this matter and I should appreciate any help you could afford me with the concerned authority.

Yours faithfully,

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2 March 1967

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