A restored homestead considered a one-off house in New
Zealand and a cafe are exciting new developments at a popular
Central Otago visitor attraction, which continues to prove a
Located in Oturehua, off the Ida Valley-Omakau road, is Hayes
Engineering Works featuring inventive machinery which was
vital to New Zealand's farming community, men's quarters and
The main homestead of Ernest and Hannah Hayes has been
restored and refurbished in its 1920s character. The 11-room
mud-brick home was the first in the district to have a
flushing toilet and electricity and comprises five bedrooms,
a drawing room, laundry, kitchen, pantry, bathroom and large
The New Zealand Historic Places Trust owns the homestead as
part of the Hayes complex at Oturehua.
Hayes Engineering Works property manager Helen Cameron says a
random gate survey of visitors four years ago indicated a
need for a cafe.
Initially starting with pre-wrapped and pre-made basic
sandwiches and pies, the idea progressed to installing a
commercial kitchen this winter. The cafe officially opened in
September in the original mudbrick cottage where Hannah Hayes
read to her nine children.
‘‘Today all the food is made on-site, from breads and sammies
to quiches and pasta. The cafe is proving very, very
popular,'' she enthuses, adding unique merchandise including
homemade jams and pickles are also for sale.
Some original furniture and even linen features in the
restored homestead, described by Helen as ‘‘the grand house
of the district''. She was grateful for a chattels list from
the Hayes' oldest son to work from, and for generous
donations from daughters-in-law and grandsons who ‘‘gave
items back to the house''. ‘‘It's a one-off house in New
Zealand and, perhaps in the world, because it was built by
engineers, not carpenters or builders, so it's got a lot of
quirky features,'' says Helen. ‘‘The biggest thrill is that
men enjoy it as much as the ladies do.''
Helen says the grounds around the homestead will also be
For all deatials, opeing hours and entry fees, view