Mona Vale Reopens20 March 2017
Within walking distance of Holly Lea Village is the historic Mona Vale homestead. The homestead is set to dazzle visitors again as it reopens following a challenging $2.8 million restoration project which saw the building carefully deconstructed. Bricks were numbered and placed on pallets as sections of the building were dismounted and subsequently reconstructed. New furnishings including carpets and curtains were sensitively chosen in consultation with heritage experts.
Initially known as Karewa, Mona Vale is sited on land that was originally part of the estate belonging to one of Christchurch’s first European settler families, the Deans.
The building was originally built in 1897 for Fredrick Waymouth, and was landscaped and developed by Mrs Waymouth, a keen amateur botanist. In 1905, heiress Annie Townend bought the property and renamed it Mona Vale after her mother's birthplace in Tasmania. Additional land was purchased and much of the garden was redeveloped. Many of these can still be seen today including the Fendalton Road Gatehouse, the Bath House, and the Conservatory and Fernery.
Up until 1939 when Tracy Gough bought the property, Mona Vale had a series of owners. During Gough's occupancy the lily pond was installed and the gardens were extensively planted with exotics including a vast collection of rhododendrons and azaleas.
In 1962, Mona Vale was sold to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. A chapel was erected on the corner of the property bordering Fendalton Road. At this time properties the size of Mona Vale had become rare because they were expensive to maintain and run. By the mid 1960s a decision was made to demolish the homestead and subdivide the land.
Fortunately a campaign to save Mona Vale was launched by the visionary Christchurch Civic Trust. The people of Christchurch raised $55,000 and the local councils of the time provided the balance of the purchase price. Mona Vale became a public park in 1968.
Today Mona Vale Homestead is a Historic Place Category 1 listed with Heritage New Zealand and its Gate House is listed as Category II. Everyone is welcome to stroll its expansive grounds featuring rose gardens filled with modern hybrids and heritage roses, extensive collections of irises, herbaceous borders, and eye-wateringly beautiful annual bedding displays, which change twice a year. Its sweeping lawns, punctuated by English and European woodland plantings as well as rhododendrons, camellias, conifers and maples, beg to be explored. During the summer, if you don't feel like walking, you can always float through the gardens on a punt ride.
Address: 63 Fendalton Road, Fendalton