Whether you love it or hate it, this house has gone down in history as a part of the iconic rural Hawke’s Bay landscape, as the deteriorating 1930s weatherboard house at Poukawa always catches the eye of those entering or leaving Hastings via State Highway 2.
Over my 23 years of life, the iconic small two-bedroom house on the small hill east of the highway has been there to see me off on safe travels and welcome me home and has done the same for many more for much longer.
I would have to say my interest in the little house outside of Hastings stems from my mother’s small obsession with it.
Without fail, she would always point it out on our road trips to visit family in Dannevirke and further up the North Island, always checking to see how it was doing.
My mum’s love for the house, which has been slowly falling apart longer than I have been alive, has made it a landmark for my family, so much so that my brothers and I now refer to the house as “Mum’s house”.
While Mum absolutely loves the house, she can’t pinpoint exactly why.
She said, “I’m not sure why I like that house, there is something peaceful about it and I can imagine the life that has been lived there.”
Most Hawke’s Bay locals have a soft spot for the crumbling house, I would even go as far as saying it would be the most photographed house in the region.
However, I know someone who really doesn’t understand the admiration behind the old structure. My boss isn’t a fan of the old house on the hill and said she thinks it’s creepy.
She added, ”Blank, gaping windows, a bleak look about it, I can just sense the spiders and centipedes that have colonised the house, and it has always made me wonder - why was it abandoned? Why did nobody want to live there? Was there a tragedy there? It gives me the shivers - no, I’m not a fan, although I know I’m in a very small minority.”
Whether you are a fan or not of the house, it will be a little sad to see it go, when it eventually does.
Sadly after the bad luck with bad weather Hawke’s Bay was hit by this year, I fear the house loved by many doesn’t have long left.
The once strong structure has definitely seen better days, with this year’s harsh weather blowing right through the old timber frame, slowly bringing it down to its knees.
Every few months someone will post on Facebook a photo of the house, every time the house looks a little more fragile than the last one and the comments are full of people sharing their love and memories of the unofficial Hawke’s Bay landmark.
I have shared my love of the old house on the hill in Poukawa, now Hastings Leader would love to hear from those who lived in the house or have had experiences or memories with the property.
We encourage readers to write their own story as a letter to the Hawke’s Bay community editor.
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