Tupare House

New Plymouth, New Zealand

The Tupare gardens are open every day and are free to enter, the house is open on a Friday at 11am and a guide will take you through for a free tour.

Here's my post on the gardens

Tupare Gardens

After walking around the fabulous gardens I had the impression that the house would also be rather grand. In the style of Carrick Hill in Adelaide, but that wasn't the case at all. The house is a lovely cosy family home.

The sitting room, there were some English tourists on the tour and upon entering the house, one commented on the 'New Forest' style, there were low ceilings with exposed beams, lots of dark wood. The owners travelled extensively in the U.K. after their marriage and collected ideas for their house as well as buying items for it.

The owner Russell Matthews argued with the architect who then left the project. The reason for the disagreement was this dining room table. It was too large for the room, so Matthews solution was the push out the window (practical man!) and the room became bigger! The architect was not happy and quit!

The main construction on the house happened from 1932 to 35, but the house took 12 years to complete and Russell Matthews used his construction gangs to work on it during  the winter off season. He made his money in bitumen (there's a lot of it at Tupare!) and the winter weather would often make laying the bitumen impossible.

The under the roof playroom, the Matthews had 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls, the doorway to this room is also child sized! After Russell and Mary Matthews died the house was given to the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust (which I gather is the New Zealand version of the National Trust found in Australia and the U.K.) Over the years their oldest daughter in particular, has donated many personal family items to the house, so it makes it more authentic when visiting it knowing these were the items the family owned.

The Matthews' bedroom with the dressing gown worn by Russell in his later life. I love the old telephone as well!

The Dutch style wardrobes in the main bedroom, with fabric in the doors. You could open the wardrobe doors and inside were some of the dresses that were owned by Mary Matthews and donated to the house by her daughter in recent years.

This was the younger daughter Jennifer's room, initially the 2 sisters shared a large room but as they grew older a wall was put up so they could have some privacy. The boys however, shared on the ground floor that led out into the garden. It's now an enclosed room but during the time they lived there, the doors to the garden were iron gates open to the elements! The guide's comment "They breed them tough in New Zealand!"

Having such a gorgeous garden surrounding the house, all the windows had lovely views.

The house in some of the information sites that I've read is called the 'Tupare mansion', which is not accurate at all. It's not very big, it's a nice representation of a family home from the mid 20th century of a family that had the money to design and furnish a home in the English style that liked from their travels.