It’s a thrill to discover the hidden secrets in a new city but it’s even more of a thrill when the same thing happens in the city that you call home.
I recently shifted across town and suddenly found The Pah a plethora of new places to visit and enjoy. The Pah Homestead is one.
Once upon a time, the homestead was the most expensive home in Auckland. It was built for James Williamson between 1877 and 1879 as his ‘gentleman’s residence’. Old photographs show hunting parties departing from the grand entrance and it’s not hard to imagine horse drawn carriages depositing elegant visitors for tea on the verandah. The interior of the house has a lovely lived in feeling; almost all the doors and windows are original, as are the gorgeous ceiling roses and shiny black marble fireplaces.
At various times the house was an orphanage, novitiate house and boarding school. Now, after restoration by the City Council and support from the ASB Bank, it is the home of the James Wallace Arts Trust and its magnificent collection of NZ art. Sir James Wallace has been collecting NZ art since the 1960s and in 1992 he transferred his collection to a charitable trust that has continued to acquire works by emerging and existing NZ artists. The trust also manages the longest running and richest annual art awards. No art work is ever sold and the collection (currently 5800 pieces) will be a treasure trove for future generations.
Since August 2010, the Pah Homestead has been open to the public and it’s popular – in the first 2 years there were 240 000 visitors. Go to see the art collection and special exhibitions, sit on the wide verandah and have coffee or something more substantial, or walk around the gardens, marvel at the ancient trees and enjoy views of Auckland to the north, south, east and west.
Categories: New Zealand