I like to imagine that I’m a “High Tea” sort of girl – so what could be nicer than High Tea with our ICA rally friends at the wonderful Oruawharo Homestead, built in 1879? Sounded like my sort of outing. The house was built by Charles Tringham, a Wellington architect, in the Italianate Style. We had been here some years previously, so were very keen to return. Our High Tea was served in the pretty little church, Vincent’s Chapel, which had been moved onto the property several years ago, and is now used for weddings and other functions.
After a very interesting talk given by owner Peter Harris about the history of the property, his wife Dianne served our lunch., Savouries, fancy little sandwiches, scones with jam and cream, and a selection of cakes arrived at our tables, with a choice of fancy teas or coffee. All served on “granny's” best bone china and fancy tea cups, it was lovely indeed. I was particularly intrigued with the tiny silver tongs to lift the sugar cubes out of the dainty lidded dish.
High Tea is served
Fully fed, we were invited to have a look through the homestead. What a wonderful building it was – lovingly restored after years of neglect, and only weeks away from being demolished. The Harris’s couldn't bear for this to happen, so stepped in to buy it.
Here we are, enjoying our visit
When you realise that the roof leaked, all the glass was missing from the windows, the house was infested with possums, rats, birds, and no doubt insects, and vines were growing through the walls, you can imagine the dedication and passion needed to bring it to a livable condition. The house was empty, so suitable period furniture had to be sourced, along with everything else required.
Beautiful warm wood everywhere inside the homestead
I remembered that the lady of the house was a quilter so was thrilled to see examples of her work in the bedrooms. Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to talk quilting with her, she was much too busy looking after all the guests.
Dianne Harris is a quilter too
There were lovely old photos on the walls, gorgeous paintings, tapestries, several collections of old dolls, wonderful colonial furniture - such a lot to look at and admire. I rather liked this set of Russian dolls set out on top of a gorgeous wooden cabinet.
It was a wonderful visit, and our hosts were so generous in letting us wander through their lovely old homestead. They appreciate all their visitors, we were told, as it all helps to fund the never ending maintenance bills. A visit to remember, indeed.