Pioneer Fundays at Woodlands Estate

Annette Taylor and her husband, David Riddell, will play Lord and Lady Black at the event and assist with a number of ...
MARK TAYLOR/STUFF

Annette Taylor and her husband, David Riddell, will play Lord and Lady Black at the event and assist with a number of Victorian-themed games.

Step back in time to the Victorian era.

In 1872 a 98,000-acre estate was purchased from the Crown by The Piako Swamp Company.

The agreement included a commitment to drain and clear the swamp and fence and build roads throughout the area.

Today, the Woodlands Historic Homestead Gardens and Function Centre sits on 15 of those acres.

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This week, Pioneer Fundays will kick off at Woodlands Estate.

The event will include three days of Victorian-inspired foods and activities.

There will be alpacas, donkeys, side-saddle horse riding, vintage farm machinery, vintage games to play, graveyard tours, a garden trail and pioneer menu options at Prof's Cafe.

Board member Kate Wilson said the event is the start of a new initiative to share the history of Woodlands with the community.

"There will be lots of physical things for kids to see that reflect the history of the place," Wilson said. "We've got a range of old-fashioned children's games like spillikins – which is like a giant game of pick-up sticks, chess, stilts, bowls, croquet and quoits.

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"We're hoping people will dress up too, but being the first event we'll just have to see how it goes."

The Woodlands Estate was planted over 135 years ago and is surrounded by extensive reclaimed agricultural land.

The homestead was originally built as a manager's residence between 1872 and 1875.

It is largely made of kauri and still features some of the original weatherboards and iron on the roof.

Surrounding the homestead was a village of farm buildings, large two-storey stables, a woolshed, a single men's quarters, a bakery, a blacksmith's shop, a waterwheel, a joinery shop, a butchery, a two-storey implement shed and stockyards for sheep and cattle, but these buildings were removed in 1928.

The gardens around the homestead contain New Zealand's largest eucalyptus and house the country's most significant collection of old camellias, many of which were brought from Britain in the 1870s.

Pioneer Fundays will be held at Woodlands Estate on July 18, 19 and 20, from 10am to 2pm.

 - Stuff

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