Newspaper Article 1998 – Charm of past for sale

Charm of past for sale

By Kate Taylor

A dovecote, kauri timber and a charm of last century are features of Waipawa’s oldest house, The Pines.

The 140-year-old house, on the corner of Rose St and Ruataniwha St (Tikokino Rd), has been offered for sale by Anna Natusch, who has lived there for about three years.

In its early days, The Pines was home to Waipawa doctor Alexander Todd who used homing pigeons to communicate with his patients.

Built in 1858 from kauri timber, the cottage, with its feeling of history, is now part of a Hawke’s Bay Heritage Trail.

The entrance to the cottage is through a shady little verandah, into a hallway lined with wood panelling.

To the right is the lounge, with original timber ceiling, floor and fireplace. This room has been extended to fill in part of the verandah, which used to stretch right along the front of the cottage.

To the left of the front door is the dining room, which has French doors onto the verandah. Original timber floors lead into the kitchen area which has an old-fashioned food safe and a replica Waterford Stanley coal range.

A narrow staircase leads upstairs to an area with sloping ceilings which is divided in two.

One side is naked timber, while the other side has been wallpapered.

Back downstairs, the last room in the original part of the house is a small bedroom.

An extension has been built at the rear of the cottage, adding a bathroom, master bedroom (with ensuite) and a laundry. It has all been designed to fit in with the original house.

The property is 6336 square metres. The land to one side of the cottage is relatively new garden, all organic, with grapes, rhododendrons and old-fashioned roses.

There are half a dozen big old trees, several of them 100 year old oak trees. There is also a wooden gazebo at the front of the cottage. A paddock out the back, complete with dam, is home to several coloured sheep, some hens and geese, and a dovecote, inhabited often by sparrows as well as doves.

The original dovecote, built by Dr Todd about 120 years ago, was bought by the Hawke’s Bay Agricultural and Pastoral Society in 1963 and stood for many years in the Waikoko Gardens.

Dr Todd’s system of communication was ideal for a practice that reached from Pakipaki, near Hastings, to Herbertville, east of Dannevirke.

When he visited patients in his sprawling practice, he would take a pigeon with him. The patient was told to free the bird with a message for Dr Todd if urgent follow-up treatment was necessary.

The replica dovecote was built by Waipawa Rotarians in 1991. Trainees from a Salvation Army woodwork course made the pigeon boxes.

Because the cottage is part of a Heritage Trail, owner Anna Natusch said visitors were always welcome.

She has said in the past “if the gate is open, so is the garden”.

The garden has been worked on by a number of unemployed people wanting to make money when there was no seasonal work.

Heatha Edwards, Harcourts Regent Realty CHB Ltd. said the property had been put on the market at $199,000 (negotiable).

The government valuation on the property is $125,000.

Ms Natusch said she wanted to sell the house to someone who would love the history of the place as much as she did.

“I’ve tried to leave it as original as I can. Since it had become part of a Heritage Trail it has really come into its own.

“I very much hope it will be sold to someone who shares it with the general public. I do every day. I don’t expect that, but for a week or so here and there,” she said.

“This is too valuable to be selfishly had. We should share out [our] heritage. I don‘t think its good enough to restore something and keep it to yourself.

Photo captions –

The Pines, Waipawa’s oldest residence, was built in 1858.

Past pigeons at The Pines were Dr Todd’s method of communicating with his far-flung patients. These new boxes were built by woodwork trainees at a Salvation Army course.

The replica of Dr Todd’s dovecote, replace by Waipawa Rotarians in 1991.

The Pines owner Anna Natusch hopes the house’s buyer will love its history as much as she does.

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Business / Organisation

The Pines

Format of the original

Newspaper article

Date published

13 January 1998

Creator / Author

  • Kate Taylor


The Hawke's Bay Herald-Tribune


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today


  • Heatha Edwards
  • Ms Anna Natusch
  • Doctor Alexander Todd

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