New Zealand Estate Dating To 1890 Proudly Displays Its Historic Roots

Front of the Estate
Built from solid granite, Claremont Country Estate is a New Zealand Category 2 Historic building of European Grandeur.

The evolution of a historic home informs its present in myriad ways.

Claremont Country Estate, classified as a New Zealand historic building, was built in 1890 for George Hampton Rhodes, a member of a prominent family that had extensive land holdings in Canterbury. Among their varied professions were livestock ranching, investment, manufacturing, shipping and politics.

At the time, grand estates centered on impressive homes were becoming a popular outward symbol of wealth among the colonial elite. The trend would continue for another two decades.

The property is about a two-hour drive from Christchurch International Airportand 15 minutes down the road from Timaru. (PQ PROPERTY INTELLIGENCE)

The Christchurch firm of Collins & Harman, known for their attention to detail, designed the mansion in the Victorian Free Gothic style with steeply pitched roofs, decorative gable caps and other carved ornamentation. The original bluestone walls, accented with contrasting Oamura stone or whitestone facings, remain today.

The property is surrounded by peaceful rural views, manicured gardens and lawns, fields for ponies, and forested areas. (PQ PROPERTY INTELLIGENCE)

Another formative chapter in the estate’s current appearance began in 1932, when the Catholic Marist Brothers took ownership. The homestead served as St. Joseph’s novitiate, and religious features were added including a detached chapel built in 1955, according to Heritage New Zealand.

A wrap-around porch provides the perfect vantage for taking in the verdant setting. (PQ PROPERTY INTELLIGENCE)

The role in local history that these two significant ownerships represented contributed to the property’s categorization as a historic place, as well as influencing its appearance.

The interior retains its detailed woodwork, moldings and trim. (PQ PROPERTY INTELLIGENCE)

A stained-glass double door entry leads to a central reception area. The ground floor contains a parlor with French doors that open to gardens and lawn, a library, a study, a billiard room and a commercial kitchen.

The billiard room has floor-to-ceiling windows with impressive views of the grounds. (PQ PROPERTY INTELLIGENCE)

Interior details include crown molding, wooden floors, wainscoting, carved-wood fireplace surrounds and tall ceilings.

A large breakfast nook lined with picture windows brings natural light into the den. (PQ PROPERTY INTELLIGENCE)

A sweeping staircase leads to the eight upstairs bedrooms. There are five bathrooms within the 1,360 square meters, or more than 14,600 square feet of living space.

There is 1,360 square meters, or more than 14,600 square feet, of living space. (PQ PROPERTY INTELLIGENCE)

Two more bedrooms, as well as a conference hall, are in the adjacent chapel building.

The grounds include manicured landscaping, fields and forested areas.

Anthony Morsinkhof of PQ Property Intelligence is the listing agent for 222 Mount Horrible Road, Timaru, Canterbury, New Zealand. (PQ PROPERTY INTELLIGENCE)

Anthony Morsinkhof of PQ Property Intelligence is the listing agent for 222 Mount Horrible Road, Timaru, Canterbury, New Zealand. The asking price is NZD 5.5 million or about US $3.58 million.

The asking price is NZD 5.5 million or about US $3.58 million. (PQ PROPERTY INTELLIGENCE)

The property is about a two-hour drive from Christchurch International Airport and 15 minutes from the port city of Timaru.


During four decades of covering luxury and celebrity housing, I’ve looked into people’s homes, lives and property records through many lenses. I was the Los Angeles Times Real Estate section editor for eight years, the Hot Property columnist for six and did stints as a newspaper reporter, copy editor and page designer. My work for The Times Business, Home and Real Estate sections has garnered in-house and national awards for blogging, editing and feature writing.