A Napier man has spent 18 months recreating the historic Duart House, but his is less than a metre tall and made of Lego.

Richard Catley was inspired to recreate the 133-year-old homestead after a visit to the grounds, but the house was not new to him.

His family and the last private owners of the home, the Greenwoods, were related. A Hugh Greenwood had even given the Catley family a loan to start the Ongaonga farm which Richard grew up on.

Lego was also familiar territory for Mr Catley with the replica his most recent creation in a "30-year obsession". He began by taking photos of the house from different angles, but Mr Catley hadn't realised the full extent of his undertaking.


"It grew to suit the scale - it's been pushed down, made bigger, the front has been pushed and pulled back. But, once I got the front wall and weatherboard in, I thought 'oh I can see how this would look'."

The most frustrating part of the build was being restricted by the parts available. "Sometimes I would be waiting for parts and I'd get too frustrated, so I had to put it away for a week."

When he couldn't find parts, like light-grey pieces for the roof, Mr Catley said he had to make some of it up, which meant looking in stores as far afield as Belgium.

Though the house was finished, Mr Catley said he wasn't, and had already ordered some Lego plant parts for the house's landscaping.

The Duart House Society Inc. committee member Debbie van Asch was wowed by Mr Catley's replica, and she said she didn't know he had achieved such a high level of detail using only Lego.

Duart House was built for the Mclean family around 1882, and later used as a primary school.

From 1926, it was rented and then owned by the Greenwood family, who gave it to the Havelock North Borough Council in the 1970s.

-The real Duart House is open to the public on the first Sunday of every month from 11.30am to 12.30pm. Those wanting to visit outside those hours should phone 06 877 6334.