A museum replica of the Seddon family homestead that once stood in Kumara has been suggested for the historic site.

The concept was broached late last night during the long weekend of festivities in Hokitika and Kumara commemorating former New Zealand Premier Richard John Seddon's arrival on the West Coast 150 years ago.

Genealogist Maurice Payn - born and bred Kumara and whose grandmother was employed by the Seddons - said similar displays were found elsewhere in the country and were managed by a custodian on behalf of local councils.

The Seddon site, on the eastern outskirts of the township, is already a registered historic reserve. During the celebrations over Westland Anniversary Weekend, Heritage NZ unveiled a second interpretation panel at the site of the former Queens's Hotel, which was Seddon's first home in Kumara before he built the family home next door.


Ruins remain on the site of the house, which the family lived in until relocating to Wellington in 1895.

Mr Payn said photographs could help replicate the house.

Some items of interest could also be added, including a 140-year-old clock that was gifted to his grandmother, Joanna Scetterini and her husband Francis Payn, on their wedding day.

Jane Seddon, granddaughter of Richard John Seddon, above, says rebuilding the Seddon homestead in Kumara will
Jane Seddon, granddaughter of Richard John Seddon, above, says rebuilding the Seddon homestead in Kumara will "bring the town alive" by drawing on its rich history. Photo / New Zealand Herald Archive

Miss Scetterini was a housekeeper for the Seddons. Mr Payn said the premier also paid for her wedding.

The clock is still in Kumara, in the care of his brother Joe Payn.

Maurice Payn said the museum concept had been discussed among some of the Seddon descendants and he next planned to raise it with West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O'Connor before exploring funding options.

Jane Seddon, a granddaughter of Richard Seddon, said she believed it would go well on the site.

"I think it would be wonderful to have the Seddon house rebuilt," Ms Seddon said.
It would build on the work the community had been doing over the years to "bring the town alive", drawing on its rich history, of which the Seddon family was part.

- Hokitika Guardian