Tagata Pasifika

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Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Much-loved South Auckland heritage building undergoes restoration

The Nathan Homestead was built in the 1920s and at one stage was a council administration building. Photo: Supplied
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Local Democracy Reporting | Free Public Interest News Service

By Torika Tokalau of Local Democracy Reporting

A much-loved heritage building in south Auckland, home to a popular community hub, will soon close as it undergoes renewal works for a year.

Nathan Homestead in Manurewa will temporarily close from June 30, for approximately 12 months, so work can be carried out on its restoration and seismic strengthening, as part of Auckland Council’s renewals programme.

The homestead was used for arts and community events, including pottery, exhibitions, visual arts classes and jewellery making.

It was also home to a cafe that brought people together during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Manurewa Local Board chairperson Matt Winiata said the renewal works would ensure the historic building remained for many years.

“Nathan Homestead is much loved by the local community,” Winiata said.

“It’s important we take action now to carry out enhancements so this taonga can be used and enjoyed by locals and visitors for years to come.”

The two-storey Nathan Homestead was built in the 1920s and was once used as council administration buildings before being developed into a a community and cultural centre.

Under the Auckland Unitary Plan, the homestead is deemed category A: a significant historic heritage place.

It features five prominent brick chimneys, a perimeter of unreinforced masonry (URM) walls, along with a timber mid-floor and timber truss roof structure.

The homestead underwent a detailed seismic assessment in 2017, with subsequent revision in 2020 and was categorised as earthquake-prone.

“The board is excited that the much-needed work will bring it up to current building safety standards, especially now as the homestead celebrates its centenary in 2025.

“I’m especially pleased that a lift will be installed in the building, which will allow people with mobility issues greater access to the homestead and the chance to enjoy all it offers, marking a wonderful 100-year birthday gift to the building and for the community.”

He said a centenary celebration for the whole community would mark its reopening in 2025.

Auckland Council said while the homestead was temporarily closed, the theatre and outbuildings would be used to accommodate events, programming and community groups.

They were working with all affected groups to finalise locations and timetables.

Hill House Cafe co-owner Peter Matvos was upset when they were told they had to close temporarily for the renewal works.
[Hyperlink: https://www.stuff.co.nz/nz-news/350185606/south-auckland-community-fight-keep-heritage-building-open]

He felt the news caught them off guard, despite prior assurances of a comprehensive plan.

Matvos and his business partners opened the cafe right before the first Covid-19 lockdown, and helped keep the community connected during the pandemic.

“Our business is a community … this is a community cafe.“

They’ve moved the cafe to the Pah Homestead, at Hillsborough.

Local democracy reporting

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