An elevated Patutahi lifestyle property with links to the Waiapu bishopry, the aftermath of Cyclone Bola, watching Rocket Lab's launches and a small accommodation business is on the market for sale.

Built in 1914 by Herbert Williams, the sixth Bishop of Waiapu, the eight bedroom double-storey house on 1.9 hectares at 363 Wharekopae Road, Patutahi, Gisborne, has character and an interesting history.

Believed to orginally be a pa site before European settlement, the property was likely to have been part of a large farm earlier in its history. Most of the land surrounding the property in a horseshoe is owned and farmed by earlier owners.

Barry and Katy McLaughlin, who are the fifth owners of the property, bought it 12 years ago and have carried out extensive renovations to the house and gardens, which were needing attention when they took over.


The spacious house with generous rooms has two tastefully modernised bathrooms and kitchen and two refurbished living rooms, an office plus additional storage room, a billiard room and a new roof. Decks wrap around both levels with views overlooking the surrounding flats to Young Nick's Head and beyond.

A pool was also installed duirng the renovations and the gardens revitalised and replanted to reflect what would have been there in the past. About one third of the property is taken up by the gardens and the rest of the land is used to graze sheep and keep chickens.

Now on the market as the McLaughlin's contemplate more travel when they downsize, it is being marketed for sale by auction on December 13 through Bayleys Gisborne salespeople James Bolton-Riley, Stephen Thomson and Simon Bousfield.

Mr Bolton Riley said one of the property's myriad features are the park-like grounds, with manicured lawns and an assortment of plants and trees, including 100 year-old peach trees as well as apple, apricot, almond, macadamia, avocado and plum species.

Some would go back to the original owner, Bishop Herbert Willams, who followed his father Leonard, the third biship and his grandfather William the first Bishop of Waiapu into the Anglican Church. William Williams led missionaries in translating the Bible into Maori and he also published an early dictionary and grammar of the Maori language, which his son Leonard carried on.

Grandson Herbert published the fifth edition of the dictionary, updating the work of his father and grandfather and along with Apirana Ngata he campaigned for the the study of Maori language to become a university degree subject, which was granted in 1928.

During 1988's devastating Cyclone Bola, the property became a sanctuary for affected residents who had been living on the flooded flats where several roads and bridges were destroyed. The house was full and locals say people even camped on the property's lawns.

Recently, the property's upstairs balcony has become the perfect viewing platform for Rocket Lab's rocket launches from Mahia Peninsula and over Young Nick's Head. The peninsula is about 40 kilometres away as the crow flies.


Mrs McLaughlin said the rocket launches are spectaular and like watching history in the making. Anther launch is due within the next two weeks.

"It can happen at any time in those two weeks but a countdown is on Rocket Lab's website so people who want to view it don't miss out."

The McLaughlins have also used the property as a small business, renting it out for about 20 days a year while the are on holiday. It has been used by families for weekend birthday parties and other celebrations, people going to Gisbone's renowned new year Rhythm and Vines festival and other festivals, bands and people just wanting a weekend away in a relaxing haven away from their everyday lives.

Mrs McLaughlin said the property would be suitable for a range of options - including families with young children or a retired couple looking for a small accommodation business.

"We did no advertising and the business could be easily ramped up – the potential is there."

Mr Bolton-Riley said an accommodation business would be easy to run from the eight-bedroom house.

"There are plenty of rooms and facilities to make either a successful Airbnb or other types of accommodation."

At the rear of the house is a secure two car garage, while a sizeable pump shed near the pool also doubles as a tool shed.

Supplying water for an accommodation business would not be a problem as the property has about 65,000 litres across three tanks and heating includes both gas and electric. Two separate septic tank systems are on the property, while a separate bore supplies additional water used for the garden and stock water troughs.

The property is divided into three main paddocks, with stock fencing and an open bay shed incorporates a horse stable and room for the ride on lawn mower and tractor.

Patutahi is a small settlement near the Waipaoa River, only a 15 minute drive from central Gisborne. It hosts the historic Patutahi School, sports club and the local nine hole golf course, a favouite wthin the Gisborne community.