The absence of building permits in early years makes it difficult to find out the age of many of the older houses in Tauwhare.
The oldest house still in existence for which we have a definite date of erection, is that of Mr and Mrs Richard Nicholls. It was built for Mr Francis W. Browning by Mr H. Carter, a Cambridge builder, on the site of an earlier house which had burned down. A Times report of the 19th December 1885 stated that it had just been completed and was one of the prettiest residences in the district, being in the classical style of architecture. It contained ten rooms fitted with all modern conveniences.
Another old house, possibly of similar vintage, is that owned by Mr Harold Shaw, situated opposite and just north east of Ringers Road. Mr Shaw is the youngest of the family of Mr and Mrs David Shaw, junior, who moved into it upon their marriage in 1898. It is just possible that it was the home of Mr Thomas E. Dodd who bought 700 acres in this area in 1883. The Shaws called their property Barton.
About the turn of the century, three houses of similar style were built by a Cambridge builder for members of the Ramsay family. Mr Richard Ramsay, son of Alex, says his father remembered a house on the property alongside the present hall. Mr Andrew Ramsay, senior, and family, lived there until they built the house where Messrs Mickell now live. The timber was carted by wagon from the Matangi Station.
Mr Charles Ramsay built the house on the present Fawcett property at the corner of Tahuroa and Morrinsville Roads. Later owners of the old house were Mr George Runciman, Mr David Laird, Messrs George Eva, Fletcher and Skinner, and Mr L. P. Fawcett, father of Harry Fawcett.
The third Ramsay house was occupied by Charles Ramsay and family, after he sold the main road property to George Runciman. The present owners are Mr and Mrs J. Post.
The house now occupied by Mr and Mrs Colin Badger is believed to have been built about 1903. An unusual feature was the ceilings of pressed steel, but these have since been covered by lower ceilings, to conserve heat.
"Penfield", the home of Mr and Mrs George Dingle is believed to have been built on its commanding site by G. Chapman about 1909. Mr Percy Dingle bought the farm from Mr Chapman in 1913.
In October 1909, two North Canterbury farmers, David Jones, a former M.P., and O. F. Clothier bought 3,191 acres on Tahuroa Road for Four pounds an acre. The house now occupied by Mr and Mrs N. Boyd, was probably built in 1910. The Jones family lived there until 1911 when Clothier bought his partner out. He in turn sold to Griffin Brothers in 1913.
"Finiston" now owned by D. and C. Fraser was probably built a little after 1907 when the property was purchased from the New Zealand Land Association by Arthur E. Edmonds. The original house had only two rooms. Mr Fraser discovered the name Edmonds on a piece of timber, during alterations.
The remnant of a much larger early Tauwhare home is now occupied by the Berry family. It was built for Mr and Mrs Charles Shaw, and added to as their family grew to 10 children. Exactly when it was begun is unknown but at its largest it took the shape of a wide U with the two wings facing the road and a tennis court in front. The walnut tree just east of the house is very old. Originally the drive from the valley road was flanked by a double row of pine trees. The house was often used as a Polling Booth in its early days.
The Old Store, 1927-31.
Philip Te Kate, respected by Maori and Pakeha.