Newspaper Article 1990 – ‘Village’ landmark sold

‘Village’ landmark sold

When the new owners took possession of the old Hallet [Hallett] house in Te Aute Road, they not only acquired a home, but a piece of Havelock North history.

In spite of its plainness, the old house had become somewhat of a landmark for the older identities of Havelock, both because of it’s sole family inhabitant’s the Hallets and their predecessors, and because it was believed to be one of the oldest houses in the area.

Its last occupant was the colourful Nan Hallet until she died in 1988 at the age of 80, at which stage the place was boarded up for good.

Nan insisted of leading a frugal existence, preferring her “copper bottom” for cleaning her clothes, to a modern day washing machine, right up until she was in her late seventies. It was only then that she conceded to buy an agitator. She never owned an electric stove in her life and used an outside chain toilet, that although was only a small walk from the house, would have been considered quite an inconvenience by most elderly people.

The youngest of six children, Nan was of a similar age to her niece Phyllis (Phyl) Scott who lives in Havelock North today.

Phyl remembers…“She was a delicate young person, in a brace, because she had contracted TB in her late teens, but she was still as “tough as old Harry’.

“Various family members used to get at her to modernise the place because she could afford it, but she used to say she liked it as it was”.

Always watchful of the pennies, Nan never missed an opportunity to make a little money. She kept a number of chooks and used to sell the eggs, as well as the walnuts from two old trees she had growing in the back-yard. “Anything that was saleable she’d sell it!” laughs Phyl.

“She had a lot of friends though, and a very good neighbour”.

Nan’s neighbour

“Nan was quite a local identity, she was related to a good many people in Havelock,” says Mrs Farquharson.

“She was always being visited by people…Nan would prepare her hot meal of the day for eleven in the morning so that she would have time to spend in her garden before the visitors arrived.

“She had this beautiful old world garden. It used to be just a sea of daffodils under the old walnut trees, I think everyone in Havelock would have had cuttings out of that garden!

“She used to do pottery and she would paint…she was very with it”.

Photo caption – The old ‘Hallet’ house, no 26 Te Aute Road, Havelock North, is transported to its new location.

The Hallet house backed on to grounds belonging to the Havelock North Rugby Club and Nan had a long association with the club and took a great interest in rugby. On Saturdays, Nan would pass fruit through the back fence to the players at half time. A ‘Nan Hallet’ trophy is now awarded to “the most improved intermediate player” within the club.

Following Nan’s death and when Phyl and her family were cleaning out the old house, they learned a little more of Nan and her eccentric ways.

It seems Nan didn’t approve of the modern banking system either and had stowed away wads of notes in every nook and cranny she could find.

Phyl’s grandson Johnny, aged 12, must have thought he was on a treasure hunt, as with each mat that he kicked over and each shelf that he emptied, there was yet another $1 or $10 note to be found.

A small fortune of $3000 was collected after a day of rummaging. Johnny even found bundles of notes poked into the tips of shoes that Nan had bought but obviously never cared to wear.

“It was the most terrific day, we kept shrieking with laughter”.

The old house itself has seen its share of comings and goings with three generations of Hallets and eight Hallet children all born in the front room.

The original owners Enoch and Eliza (nee Bee) Hallet settled in the house when they were married. The couple had six children of which the last three, Doris, Eric and Nan were born in the house. Out of the older three Beatrice, Jane (Phyl’s mother) and Olive, both Beatrice and Jane, even after they were married and had left the area, returned home to have their children.

Nan, who never married, remained in the old home after her parents and her brother Eric, who also lived at home, had passed away. Later on, when Nan could no longer look after herself, she was moved into an old people’s home. Shortly after the shift, Nan ran away. “She wanted to be home,” says Phyl. “We shifted her to another old people’s home and then she was quite happy.”

Two years later, Nan also died.

Now, two years on again, the old house has been sold and was split in two and transported on Friday, August 3, to its new location on the Te Mata Peak Road.

Photo caption –

The marriage of Jane Hallet to Duncan Macdonald, November 4, 1908. The bridal party, (left to right) Alice Liley, Enoch Hallet, Jane Hallet (Phyl’s mother), Duncan Macdonald, Maria Macdonald, Cuthbert Carr, Charles Macdonald, Olive Hallet, has its photograph taken on the front veranda of the old Hallet house. All the doors in the home were made of Rimu and Kauri.

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House built after fire in 1898; relocated to Kereru

Format of the original

Newspaper article

Date published

August 1990


Hastings Leader


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