Te Mata House, one of Hawke's Bay's most historic and exquisite homes, has been put up for sale after a mammoth three-year restoration.
The house is the first colonial homestead built in Hawke's Bay, and one of the last remaining residences of its type in New Zealand.
Owner Jacqueline Taylor said it had been an "honour and a privilege" to have had the opportunity to restore it, but expanding business interests and a possible return to Auckland meant it was time to move on.
"Renovating this beautiful home has been so rewarding. This grand old dame is now in excellent condition that will allow her to proudly stand for another 150 years or more."
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The house, on the outskirts of Havelock North, was built in 1854 by pioneering farmer John Chambers who had immigrated to New Zealand from England with his wife.
Over the subsequent decades Chambers set about establishing one of New Zealand's biggest pioneering farm dynasties.
The four-bedroom/three lounge Te Mata House is located beside the renowned Te Mata Estate winery – whose early vines were part of a 14-hectare vineyard developed by John Chambers' son Bernard.
At its zenith, Te Mata House was the homestead for a rural empire that stretched some 7284 hectares – from Napier in the north to the Ruataniwha Plains in the south, complete with the landmark Te Mata Peak mountain range at its back doorstep.
The farm block was so expansive that Te Mata House was used as an overnight stopping point for travellers.
The modernisation project means the 165-year-old building is now an astonishing example of colonial New Zealand architecture combined with state-of-the-art modern-home living features.
Aside from the imposing main dwelling, the list of historic structures surrounding the majestic two-storey wooden residence includes the original school house, which Chambers had built for his children to be taught privately, as there were no schools in the district, and now a children's art house.
It also includes the farm's original animal stables and barn which have been remodelled into an underground whisky cellar complete with a designer studio apartment flat above.
A solid-block room with original iron shutters over the window that once doubled as Havelock North's bank, and as a 'safe room' for the Chambers family in case of attack by marauding Māori warriors, is also included in the list.
Taylor said living in the house had been remarkable and it had been "wonderful to watch a full year of a vineyard in action".
"From winter frosts, to colourful displays of autumn, to a sea of green vines, and the excitement of the harvest."
She paid a special thanks to garden designer Paul Bangay, who was part of the restoration, who she said had created a "perfect synergy" outside.
Bayleys Hawke's Bay sales consultant Fiona Mackenzie said a 'labour of love' restoration project had reborn the 533-square metre house to look even more stately now than when it was first built.
"The home is surrounded by meticulously landscaped lawns, several hundred metres of limestone walls and steps - all overlooking rows of pristinely rooted Church Road chardonnay vines on the neighbouring property," she said.
All four double bedrooms on the home's upper level have their own ensuites.
Mackenzie said the property's unique heritage, substantial portfolio of out-house buildings infrastructure, technology-led fittings, its range of entertainment options, and designer gardens when combined together made it difficult to put a price-tag on for potential purchasers.
"As the first homestead built in Hawke's Bay, Te Mata House is inimitable.
"While there are other similar period homes around New Zealand, such as Highwic House and Alberton in Auckland built in 1862 and 1863 respectively, neither have been the subjects of such huge modernisation projects," she said.
"You simply can't replicate history on this magnitude, especially when compounded by the former bank vault, the classroom, and even the original fire escape trap door on the upper balcony which accesses a steel rung ladder below."
Sitting on some 2.2 hectares of land on two titles, Te Mata House is being marketed for sale by tender through Bayleys Havelock North, with tenders closing on February 11, 2020.