Topic: 'Donnybrook'/Newman Residence 7 Kapu Grove (circa 1866)

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7 Kapu Grove 2017


7 Kapu Grove is characteristic of New Plymouth farming cottages constructed in the middle decades of the Nineteenth Century, and was constructed for John Litchfield Newman about 1866 - it was the third house constructed on this section for Newman, with the previous two destroyed by fire in 1861 and 1866. 

John Newman was born in Ireland in 1815, and emigrated to New Zealand in the late 1840s. He settled in New Plymouth around 1849, marrying Harriet Matilda Honeyfield, who lived on a neighbouring property, in 1850. Matilda was one of the five (of twelve) children of John and Hannah Honeyfield who emigrated to Taranaki in the 1850’s. Harriet Honeyfield, aged 23, and her younger brother, William Henry Honeyfield, aged 17, departed England from London on the Berkshire on 4 October 1849 and arrived just off New Plymouth on the 18 January 1850.

Despite his Crown Grant for Section 4 Omata District not being issued until 1864, John Litchfield Newman seems to have occupied this section since at least the early 1850's, and probably purchased this section from Matilda's brother, William Honeyfield about 1851 or 1852 - although transactions this early are not recorded in the land deed register. 

The late Mr J. L. Newman, Cyclopedia of New Zealand 1908

John Litchfield Newman: The Cyclopedia of New Zealand 1908 

Newman's first house on this section was likely constructed in the early-mid 1850s, as he advertised 'Donny Brook' for sale in March 1856 with "newly erected dwelling house consisting of six rooms" - the property obviously didn't sell and Newman retained ownership. This first house was later burnt to the ground on Tuesday March 5 1861, during the First Taranaki War. During the conflict, the Newman's evacuated to Nelson for several years, before returning to New Plymouth about late 1864 or early 1865.

Following the conclusion of conflict, Newman had another house constructed on the property, however, as Newman had taken over the proprietorship of the Ship Hotel in February 1865, the family did not reside in the Barrett Road cottage, and it was instead used as accomodation for farm workers. Unfortunately, disaster was to strike the property again, and on a Saturday evening in early June 1866, the second cottage was also destroyed by a mysterious fire. After the second fire he wrote a letter to the editor of the Taranaki Herald, expressing gratitude to the New Zealand Insurance Company for their promptness in paying out his claim of £200.

Fire at Donnybrook, TH 9 June 1866, page 3

Taranaki Herald, 9 June 1866 

The original (western) portion of the present home is thus thought to have been constructed about mid-1866 to replace the second home destroyed by fire - the eastern two-storied portion, and also parts of the rear section, were likely constructed later in the 1880s-1900s period. The Newman's probably returned to live at DonnyBrook around mid 1868, when John gave up his proprietorship of the Ship Hotel - he was living at DonnyBrook in 1877 when he wrote a letter to the editor regarding the harbour works.

The ownership history is somewhat unclear for a short period during the early 1880s, but ownership appears to have passed to at least one member of the Honeyfield family between about 1880 until 1882, when the farm was sold to William Haskett in August of that year. William Haskett died in 1889, although the farm remained in the Haskett family until 1897, at which time it was sold to John Glynes. 

In February 1910 the farm was purchased from Glynes by B. A. Mace, who retained ownership until August 1919, when it was purchased by F. J. Greenway. 

Whilst the original cladding has been replaced with fibrolite and wooden battens, and it is unclear if the french doors under the porch are original, the cottage still retains much of its original structure, and also some of the original internal linings underneath the plasterboard. 

See Taranaki Land Deeds Index I2, page 131.

(note: This home is sometimes confused with the similar looking homestead Tukuparu - that home was located near present 401 Barrett Road, and was demolished about 1976). 

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