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Auckland buyers plan to restore historic Central Otago homestead

Author
Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Wed, 30 Mar 2022, 2:20pm
Haka Tourism Group founder Ryan Sanders first learnt Earnscleugh Station Homestead was for sale when a staff member sent him the link. Photo / ODT
Haka Tourism Group founder Ryan Sanders first learnt Earnscleugh Station Homestead was for sale when a staff member sent him the link. Photo / ODT

Auckland buyers plan to restore historic Central Otago homestead

Author
Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Wed, 30 Mar 2022, 2:20pm

Haka Tourism Group founder Ryan Sanders first learnt Earnscleugh Station Homestead was for sale when a staff member sent him the link as a possible site for luxury backpackers' accommodation. 

He had other ideas, sending it to his husband, Marco Creemers, with a note saying, "Stuff it, we'll live there". 

The couple were in Alexandra this week with friends and family to organise waterproofing of the category 1 listed historic place and learn about its history. 

In 1919, Spain had noted architect Edmund Anscombe draw up plans for a castle-like building in the Victorian-Edwardian-Jacobethan style of between 1880 and 1920. Photo / ODT 

Creemers, of Auckland, is a project director for Samson Corporation, where he has overseen many new buildings, green buildings and restorations of buildings. 

The couple had tracked down and read the book, Castle on the Run written by Gay McInnes, the granddaughter of the home's builder, Stephen Spain, who lived in the mansion with her mother, aunt and her aunt's family. 

In 1919, Spain had noted architect Edmund Anscombe draw up plans for a castle-like building in the Victorian-Edwardian-Jacobethan style of between 1880 and 1920. 

The new owners want to learn all they can about the mansion's colourful past to "educate and inform how we want to move forward". 

The mansion was never completed to plans, which called for the brickwork and concrete pillars to be plastered over, as is obvious from the spaces left between the brickwork and windows, Sanders said. 

The couple married in 2018 at Rippon in Wanaka and had been thinking of having a home in Central Otago for a long time. 

New owners Marco Creemers (left) and Ryan Sanders. Photo / Tracie Barrett 

They fell in love with the home and stables and purchased it knowing the job ahead of them. 

Creemers said they just have to piece it together, and work with Heritage New Zealand on what can be done. 

"We like the philosophy of faded glamour so we want to keep as much of the original house as possible," he said. 

The main changes will be functional, with waterproofing being the most urgent task, followed by rewiring and heating. 

The main changes will be functional, with waterproofing being the most urgent task, followed by rewiring and heating. Photo / ODT 

The kitchens and bathrooms need replacing but they wish to honour the mansion's past in its new life, with lush curtains and chandeliers and furniture that suits the era. 

"Ultimately, the imperfections are part of the attraction," Sanders said. 

His tour group operates nationwide with increasingly more work in Australia also. 

"But this is where we'll be spending our time unless we're travelling for work." 

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