Historic cottage a hidden treasure

By Amy Shanks


Its weatherboard exterior looks similar to so many other character homes on Napier Hill, but there is one major detail which sets Colenso Cottage apart.

The unassuming building, converted into luxurious boutique accommodation, is believed to be the oldest house in Hawke's Bay.

A fresh, light interior and modern touches give no clue to its age but early photos show it was one of the first structures to appear on the terrace, after being built by William Colenso in 1859.

Colenso - a printer, witness to the Treaty of Waitangi and notable amateur botanist and explorer - constructed the modest cottage to house his wife Elizabeth and baby daughter Frances, while their grand home was established next door.

While the main building had been largely re-designed by subsequent owners, Colenso Cottage was left in its original state.

present owner Katie Sewell said it had been difficult to trace the building's history.

"We did some research before we bought it. It [the cottage] is heritage listed, and being a property that's built before the 1900s it's also an archaeological site.

"I have got some wonderful original photos which show the cottage and the house next door and there is also some information, which we hang up for guests to read."

In two-and-a-half-years living at the property, Mrs Sewell had welcomed a number of visitors who were simply interested in learning more about the place.

Any money made from the accommodation was used to support local charities, she said.

"It's a very special place and that is reflected back into the community."

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a5 at 18 Sep 2014 17:42:57 Processing Time: 980ms