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This house possesses a nobel appearance, without having an excess of ornament. It could be built for $8000, plainly furnished in the interior. It is drawn from a point eighty feet distance. Being in a diagonal course from the house, it would place the house about sixty feet from the front of the lot. The lot should be about seventy five feet front. Placed in such a position, on raised ground about six feet above the road it would have the apperance as shown here.

FIRST FLOOR: 1, vestible, 9 by 9 feet; 2, hall, 12 by 8 feet; 3, palour, 16 by 22 feet, 4 foot bay window; 4, library, 15 by 15 feet; 5, dining room, 16 by 22 feet; 6, sitting room, 12 by 16 feet; 7, kitchen, 15 by 15 feet; 8, out kitchen, 10 by 15 feet; 9, front porch, 10 feet ; 10, side porch, 10 feet.

SECOND FLOOR: 11, boudoir, 9 by 9 feet; 12, chamber, 16 by 22 feet; 13, chamber, 15 by 15 feet, 14, chamber, 16 by 22 feet, 15, chamber, 12 by 16 feet, 16 hall, 8 by 12 feet; 17 bathroom, 8 by 12 feet, 18, bedroom, 15 by 16 feet 6 inches.

This historic wooden house was built for Allan and Hannah McLean. Allan was a Scot who took up land on the banks of the Tuki Tuki River and accordingly became known as “Tuki” McLean to distinguish him from other McLeans in Hawke’s Bay. He married Hannah, the eldest daughter of John and Margaret Chambers of Te Mata.


The names of the builders of Duart are not known for sure but it is believed it may have been the Napier sawmiller and carpenter/joiner, Robert Holt, but it is possible that George Bee, the builder of St. Lukes Church, Havelock North and Henry Liley another of Havelock's earliest carpenters were involved.


McLean chose the name Duart after a castle owned by McLeans in on the Isle of Mull in Scotland, where the McLean family had lived in before coming to New Zealand. The design specified a tower with crenellations, surmounted by a flagstaff, to remind him of the country and people of his origins. In earlier days when Duart stood alone on the slopes of the Havelock Hills its tower was a landmark which could be seen from all directions.


The house was built of heart totara floated down the Esk River and from heart Kauri brought by ship from Auckland and rafted from a ship out in the Bay. The studs are heart kauri and the mock corner stones outside are solid totora. The floor has forged flathead nails and the dining room kauri panelling. During the 1931 earthquake three chimneys came down but the house remained intact.


It was thought originally that Duart was built in 1875, but further research has revealed that building began in 1882 and that Tuki and Hannah moved in with seven children early in 1883. Their last child, Nigel, was born at Duart House. Tuki Mclean lived in style keeping a carriage with two horses, a coachman and several riding horses. The size of the McLean family necessitated a spacious house, but the children also had some 150 acres of hill slopes upon which to roam freely, as no other house existed between Duart and Te Mata.


The tiny village of Havelock with its few shops, two churches, and a school was Duart’s closest neighbour. Tuki a rumbustious character, did not believe in the cultivation of gardens and insisted on allowing his sheep and horses to roam at will, browsing as close to the house as they chose. This was also similar to Duart Castle on the Isle of Mull, Scotland.


It was not until after her husband’s death that Hannah McLean, assisted by her children, was able to create a garden from the grassy slopes around the house. Before she died in 1914 Hannah had planted flowers and trees, many of which still survive. The Coronation Oak, planted on the accession to the throne of King Edward VII, is a notable example.


After Hannah McLean’s death, Duart was purchased by Mrs J Chambers and then leased to Mr and Mrs Crompton-Smith who established a co-educational school for primary school children in 1915, known as St Georges School. The girl boarders used the big rooms upstairs and one room downstairs, with a few beds in the verandah. The boys lived at Keirunga in the Chalet looked after by Mr and Mrs Tanner. Many of the day children rode to school on ponies. The brick garage (built in 1910) was used as a school house until it became to small and a large hall was moved from Hastings and added to the side of the house near the old kitchen.


When the school closed in 1920 the extra wing was removed and the house became a boarding house. Some internal modifications were involved but apart from the necessity of adding partitions, the house served well as a school. It was about this time, too, that the word “House” was added and since then the building has been known as Duart House. The school, named St. George’s, remained in Duart until the end of 1921.


In 1926 the property was leased by Roger Greenwood and occupied by Roger and Dorothy Greenwood and their family, who eventually brought the property in 1936. During their ownership some alterations were made to Duart House, the most substantial being the addition of a new kitchen. The whole property was surrounded on three sides by trees but a big gale in 1936 blew down 30 gums and macrocarpa trees. The bare gully that was the horse paddock is now a native bush area planted by the Greenwoods with seadlings from the mountains.


 At a special meeting on the 5 July 1972 the Havelock North Borough Council accepted Miss Rosemary Greenwood’s offer to sell the property for use as a public reserve. In deciding to proceed with the purchase the Council paid very close attention to the arguments opposed to the purchase especially in regard to the cost of maintenance and loan repayments. The Council considered these concerns were far outweighed by the advantages such a valuable amenity on favourable terms. The Government Valuation of $38,000 was made up of $14,000 for the buildings and $24,000 for the land. The price to the Council was only $22,000 with Miss Greenwood lending the Council the full purchase price at 3% interest for twenty years.


Mr B. L. Chambers and other unnamed persons have made gifts amounting to $10,000 for the purchase and/or renovation of the property to allow public use. Council unanimously carried its resolution to purchase the property and acknowledged the generosity of Miss Greenwood and Mr B. L. Chambers. Following installation of fire doors and sprinklers,


Duart House has been used by a range of people. A Collectors Group, Ballet Group, Toy Museum, and the Institute of Cultural Affairs N.Z. Inc. eventually occupied the top floor and began using the ground floor as a meeting place for the community. The Government Valuation was $76,900 in 1976 and now has Rateable Valuation of $880,000 in 2014.


 The Duart House Society (Inc) was founded in 1985.

It holds a lease of the house and the reserve from the Hastings District Council, has charitable status, and its membership is open to anyone on payment of a token annual subscription.

(Apply to Hon Secretary, Duart House Society Inc, 51 Duart Road, Havelock North) 


Over the last 29 years the Society has almost totally refurbished the interior of the house, while maintaining the character of its day. Funds have come from hireage, special events, and applications to philanthropic enitities. The Hastings District Council maintain and enhance the exterior and the gardens. Mindful of the house’s Category ll status, the Society aims to care for the property along the lines adopted by Heritage New Zealand (previously the New Zealand Historic Places Trust)


The Duart House Croquet Club maintains a full-sized and wellmaintained lawn, at Duart allowing members to enjoy a pleasurable game in quiet and secluded surroundings. In 1990 a large area of lawn was leased by the Duart Croquet Club. A full sized croquet lawn and a practice lawn were established complete with irrigation and a fence. This was all paid by enthusiastic members who raised $20,000, the Hillary Commission gave a grant and Havelock North Borough Council assisted.


The Club was officially opened on the 10 February 1990 by Jeremy Dwyer the Mayor of Hastings District Council at that time. Over twenty members now play golf croquet (rather than association croquet). Club day is on Tuesday afternoons and a group of members play on Saturday afternoons. The Lawns are also occasionally hired out to businesses or groups who find having a fun game a pleasant way to socialize for a special occasion. In 2008 a Memo of Understanding formalised relationships between the Duart House Society and the Croquet Club.


Duart House and Gardens is planted with informal and formal gardens with perennial beds, woodland trees and a rose garden. The gardens also contain a notable tree, The Coronation Oak, planted by Hannah McLean in 1914, to commemorate the ascension to the throne of Edward VII. This tree requires arborist work every few years, as do others including the Caria (pecan) and a cluster of Elms. With some plantings over 100 years old Duart House and Gardens is one of, if not Hasting’s best “Garden Park”. Historic plantings create a framework for a range of formal and informal garden features


Duart House and Gardens have high cultural and heritage significance. The age of the building and mature gardens are rare and its occupants and historic use reflect the history of Havelock North. In addition Duart House’s museum collections and art collections increase a very valuable heritage and cultural significance. Duart House is protected under the Historic Places Act and trees of outstanding heritage value are protected under the District Plan


In 1985 a new development took place in the history of Duart with the formation of the Duart House Society whose aim was to care for the property along the lines adopted by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust in its care of Trust property.


The ground floor is used for meetings/ receptions and exhibitions, while the second floor has a display of pre-1920 furniture set out in various living style rooms.

The laundry and outbuildings host many interesting items ranging from a 1919 butter churn to a kerosene engine.

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