The historic Molesworth Homestead was formally reopened by Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage today, after an extensive rebuild following the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake.
Molesworth Homestead is one of the many historic building on the iconic station dating back to the 1880’s. Farm manager Jim Ward says the Homestead is the heart of Molesworth Station.
“The homestead has been our home for the last two decades. It is a pleasure to be here to celebrate this renovation and also to acknowledge the important role the Homestead plays as part of the operations on the farm.
“We will never forget the night that the earthquake struck and it was immediately clear to my wife Tracey and I that we could not stay in the Homestead which was badly damaged.”
Pāmu says they recognised straight away that repairing the Homestead rather than demolishing it was the appropriate path to take.
“Given our long standing commitment to the restoration of the land and improvements on the station it was a logical call for Pāmu to reinstate the homestead for future generations,” said Graeme Mulligan, General Manager of Livestock Operations for Pāmu.
Jim and Tracey Ward moved into staff accommodation while the extensive rebuilding commenced in 2017. The construction was undertaken by Hayward Construction Ltd who completed the renovations in what were often challenging conditions.
The Ward’s are now happily back home, and Jim says it was a great moment when they finally returned to the homestead.
“We have modernised the place quite a bit but the feel of the place is still very much the same, and in many ways it is like we have never been away,” said Ward.
Conservation Minister Eugene Sage acknowledged Pāmu for the commitment the company made to restoring the Homestead to its former glory.
At the reopening, Minister Eugenie Sage was joined by Department of Conservation staff, neighbours, Pāmu staff, members of the Molesworth Steering Committee (a ministerial appointed group that oversees management of the Station), people involved in the construction and iwi representatives.
Molesworth Station is New Zealand’s largest farm. It is part of the DoC estate, and is farmed by Landcorp Farming, now known as Pāmu.