Despite, or perhaps because, New Zealand is such a young country it hasn’t been particularly good at preserving it’s heritage, nor judging by the typical number and make up of visitors do Kiwis seem to be particularly keen to visit what there is remaining (at least in comparison with a typical National Trust property in the UK). It’s a shame as there are some wonderful places NZ Heritage has preserved for future generations, including these in Otago.
A significant place in New Zealand history as one of the farms that sent meat on the first refrigerated ship (the Dunedin) to Britain in 1882, revolutionising the New Zealand economy. One of a number of company owned farms, Totara was a huge and highly productive farm providing meat and grain for export.
Once part of the Totara Estate, now a well preserved (and operational on certain days) mill dating from 1865. It’s a complex machine, primarily of American origin, covering four stories, which seems to encompass four seasons, from a freezer in the basement to a hothouse in the loft. We had the place for ourselves for an hour, and were treated to a wonderful guided tour that brought the place to life.
Hayes Engineering Works and Homestead
Thankfully pretty popular now due to it’s location on the brilliant Central Otago Rail Trail, this is a fascinating snapshot of life in the late nineteenth century, where ingenuity and invention were critical to success in the remote farmlands of Central Otago. The Homestead is relatively flash but a late addition, for most of their life the eleven members of the Hayes family lived in a two room house made of mud.