Ruatuna, historic home of our first locally born prime minister, has been restored lovingly to reflect 140 years of heritage

Celebrating a restored Ruatuna

by Andy Bryenton

Ruatuna, the Coates family homestead and birthplace of the first New Zealander democratically elected as prime minister, has undergone an extensive renovation programme and will be accessible for a rare public open day this Saturday, November 23.

“With the recent repairs and maintenance work completed, the open day will provide the perfect opportunity for people to visit this amazing heritage property,” says Heritage New Zealand assets manager, Natalie McCondach.

“Ruatuna has been cherished for generations of the Coates family and has remained mostly unchanged from its earliest times. It’s a treasure trove of stories and collection items spanning over 140 years.”

The Category 1 historic place, and the birthplace of Gordon Coates will be open between 10am and 4pm. Cared for by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Ruatuna is not usually open to visitors. Admission to the property will be free on November 23, however, and people will have the chance to explore the house and grounds.

Ruatuna has been completely re-roofed, and its sagging or broken supports and beams fixed. Visitors are encouraged to make a day of it, with a visit to the Kauri Museum, the Matakohe Pioneer Church, colonial-era cemetery and heritage rose gardens.