The heart of the Gardner family
Mataia (pronounced Ma-tie-ah) Homestead is the heart of the Gardner family who have lived and worked on the surrounding land since it was purchased off local Maori Chief Hori Te More Totara
In the beginning
Mataia Homestead was built in 1891 by John Gardner II for his wife Louisa and their 9 children. Over the ensuing years it housed generations of the family as they broke in the surrounding land for farming.
In 1989, following years of neglect, the house was restored from the ground up to water-proof stage, in time for its centenary celebrations in 1991. Final cosmetic renovations were completed in 2008 when the homestead was opened to guests for the first time.
Up until 2005 the house sat in the middle of a paddock, framed by a single line of century old macrocarpa trees and an entrance way of pin-oaks. The surrounding 5ha of gardens have been a labour of love, established and maintained largely by a crew of family and volunteers and are recognised as a garden of significance by the NZ Gardens Trust.
Your hosts today are Jenny and Shane Hood. Jenny is the 6th generation of her family to live and work on Mataia, growing up in the Farm Managers house while her mother and father ran the family farm for 30 years. Shane grew up just over the hill in the small village of Kaipara Flats
Mataia restoration project
One of the unique aspects of Mataia is the fact that it includes a large-scale private conservation project. Made up largely of coastal native forest margin and salt marsh wetland, the area boasts populations of several rare species and a large number of other native bird species.
As well as caretaking the homestead and cottage for the family, Jenny and Shane also run the surrounding farm as a sheep and beef finishing unit. Both love spending time in the outdoors with their two children Ella and Olivia who will be the 7th generation to grow up on Mataia.