Hi, we are Stewart and Jane Whiteside, your hosts at Tipapa Estate. Our journey to Tipapa has been one of many years.
Jane is a former professional university librarian and administrator – and passionate weekend gardener. She is now the full-time gardener and Manager at Tipapa.
Meanwhile, Stewart puts his creative skills into everything from cooking fabulous food in the kitchen to crafting rustic furniture and general maintenance, while still maintaining his lifelong career as a pilot. Ruby and Sapphire, our German Shorthaired Pointers, are the official dogs who love meeting new people. #RubyatTipapa #SapphireatTipapa
We have been fortunate to visit and stay in wonderful places around the world, and when we found Tipapa we knew it was a unique place deserving of our love and attention, and to be shared with others. Tipapa Homestead is also quite special to the people of the Greta Valley and Hurunui district. Tipapa is valued as an important part of the local history and our neighbours are greatly supportive of Tipapa’s new lease of life. The gardens are available for events and we have added to this by opening the homestead for B&B guests who can share our enjoyment of our peaceful and historic home.
History of Tipapa
We are the 4th family to live in Tipapa Homestead. Tipapa was established in the 1880s and was originally around 18,000 acres (about 7300 hectares) in size, stretching all the way to Motunau Beach. The woolshed and a single storey house were built in the late 1880s and many of our wonderful trees were planted at that time. The original owners, the Acton-Adams family, ran thousands of sheep and sold wool. It is believed that they usually employed around 50 people to run the property and house. Over the next 140+ years, parts of the station were sold to fund other projects or divided off to provide farms for returning soldiers after both World Wars. In 1893 Tipapa donated the land upon which Greta Valley School was established.
The Acton-Adams sold Tipapa in the early 1960s to Don Robertson and his wife Bobby, who raised their family here and began a highly successful deer farm. In 2004 Bobby sold Tipapa in several sections with John Carr of the UK buying the homestead. John sold land to substantially renovate the homestead, leaving just the valley around the homestead (130 acres or 52 hectares). In 2020 we were able to purchase Tipapa homestead and move here from Auckland. In addition to opening our home to guests, we run events in our gardens and woolshed. We also have a small herd of Lowline Angus beef cattle. These are the black cattle you can see in the paddocks near the house.
1890’s homestead modernised in 1928
In 1928 the original house was replaced by a new two-storey homestead built to a design by noted NZ architect Heathcote Helmore. The Acton-Adams family crest embedded in the front doorstep overlooking the lawn records the year they completed their modern home.
Blueprints show this 1928 design as an addition to the original, not a totally new house. The pronounced sloping floor in part of the dining room is likely because it rests on the original foundation, and concrete blocks on the ground floor are the remains of original chimneys. The waviness of much of the window glass is a reflection of their age. This is most pronounced in the Orchard Room windows which came out of the original 1890 house.
Helmore designed a modern, light-filled home that was strongly influenced by his time on the American east coast. The beautiful Rimu timber staircase and carved oak bookcase were designed for the house, and the hardwood jarrah floor in the downstairs hall creates a stunning effect. However, the many small windows overlooking the garden are typical of Helmore’s design. Every room in the house overlooks the gardens, and the house is the centre point of the lovely gardens.
The 1928 design included nine bedrooms– but no kitchen or laundry as those tasks were done in the servants’ quarters. The current kitchen created in 2005 was originally two rooms – the children’s day nursery, and the sunroom. Today’s Garden Suite was formerly 3 rooms – the children’s night nursery, balcony, and a separate bedroom. The Lawn Room, with its lovely wall panels, was the original master bedroom. Other rooms have had walls removed or have been changed to incorporate bathrooms. If you are interested to see more details, please take a look at Helmore’s blueprints which are hanging in the ground floor.