Newspaper Article 2017 – Family farewells grand home

Family farewells grand home


It was 1917 and with a growing family, the Ormonds of Central Hawke’s Bay did what many others would have done – they extended their home.

But 100 years ago JD “Jack” and Gladys Ormond operated on a grand scale. They would eventually have twelve children so by 1920 their renovated Wallingford homestead had a dozen bedrooms.

Located 30 kilometres south of Waipukurau, the 1000-square-metre house also had its own schoolroom and a nursery wing.

Now, after 164 years and four generations of Ormond family ownership, the estate has been sold.

Jack’s father – another JD Ormond who was a Hawke’s Bay MP – first leased the land from Maori chiefs in 1853. He named it after his hometown Wallingford, in Berkshire.

The original homestead, built in the 1860s, was destroyed by fire in 1895 and replaced soon after by the grand home that would continue growing to accommodate Jack’s family.

The home and the surrounding 845-hectare sheep and beef station has remained in the care of Jack and Gladys’ descendants until now. It was sold this month to a former local, who fell in love with the homestead as a child.

Jack and Gladys’ grandson, Johnny, took over running Wallingford in the 1980s and lived there until his death in 2014.

Upon marrying his third wife, Jen, in 2005, the couple converted the home into a luxury lodge. It now offers 14 bedrooms able to accommodate up to 32 guests.

Jen continued to run the lodge after her husband’s death, until the family’s decision to sell.

“We’ve come to the end of the farming men in the family,” said Johnny’s brother, Mick.

Jen said she had loved her 15 years at the property and would be sad to leave. One characteristic of the house was that it was so large you could have two dozen people staying there without realising it.

The property had been bought by Gareth Dunkerley, an Auckland-based vet who grew up in Hawke’s Bay. Buying the homestead fulfilled a childhood dream, he said.

“As a kid, I used to go to the Wallingford sports meetings on the property. After one of the hunts, when I was quite young, John took me through the house and I fell in love with it. I thought one day I am going to buy this.”

After selling his veterinary practices in Auckland, Dunkerley and partner Chad Heberley had been looking for properties in Hawke’s Bay when real estate agent Sam Twigg mentioned that Wallingford might be coming on the market.

“I said ‘you’ve got to get me in the door, that’s my property’.”

The sale includes a significant amount of Ormond family memorabilia, and Dunkerley said the couple wanted to continue that heritage as well as further developing the homestead’s potential as a luxury lodge.

They take possession in June, after one last Ormond family gathering.

That reunion, over Queen’s Birthday Weekend, was expected to draw about 200 descendants of Jack and Gladys.

Mick Ormond said he was delighted Dunkerley was taking over.

“We’re only stewards of the land, and I know Gareth sees it in the same vein.”

Photo captions –

Jack and Gladys Ormond, left, with 10 of their 12 children in 1920. With each new addition to the family, the couple expanded Wallingford.

the homestead, which spans about 1000 square metres, once had its own schoolroom and a nursery wing.   PHOTOS:JOHN COWPLAND/ALPHAPIX

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Format of the original

Newspaper article

Date published

3 May 2017

Creator / Author

  • John Cowpland
  • Simon Hendery


Hastings Mail


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today


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