Nestled on the rugged coastline of Northern Hawke’s Bay, Waihua Station is first and foremost a working sheep and beef farm. This family operation has spanned several generations, and for the first time in its history, the doors have been thrown open to welcome guests to experience the idyllic location and enjoy this unique part of the world.
The sheer-cliffed isolation imposed by the Waihua coastline was a far cry from the bustling life of late 19th century Dunedin, but something about the nature of the place must have appealed to John Glendining when he ventured there back in 1882 and began a legacy that has spanned generations.
John and his wife, Laura-Sarah, had six children, who were still young when their father died suddenly of scepticaemia. Rather than pack up and head back to Dunedin, Laura-Sarah stayed on to run the farm, thus beginning the heritage of women taking a leading hand in the operation of Waihua Station.
The next generation to take up the reins was Ernest and his wife, Mabel, whom he married in 1910. Together they had a son, Rupert, and a daughter, Betty. It was at this time that the original homestead, which was situated close to the river, was largely destroyed by a flood. In true Scottish-style, everything that could be saved, was. As a result, the new homestead at its present site is comprised of bits and pieces of the old, including the original piano.
The 1931 earthquake was also a memorable time on the Station. Although there was no major damage to the house, the landscape underwent a major transformation, prompting the beginnings of the beautiful gardens that remain today.
Rupert and Betty enjoyed a trip to England in the 1930s, and it was on the homeward boat journey that Betty met the man who was to become her husband – Stewart Haynes. Rupert married Barbara Baird, but left Waihua shortly after to join the World War Two efforts. Sadly, Rupert was killed by a sniper’s bullet at Casino, and never got to meet his son, John.
The death was a great blow to the family, and in late 1944 Betty and Stewart moved back from Onewhero to take up the Station in Rupert’s stead. By his own admission, Stewart did not start out as a farmer. The family joke that was bandied about was that Betty taught Stewart to farm, while Stewart taught Betty to cook. Whatever the case, this was a partnership that saw the Station thrive.
Stewart and Betty had four boys – David, Bob, Rupert and Peter. Eventually, it was Bob who decided to come back and take over the farm. He met the woman who was to be his wife, Jill, when she moved to Wairoa to take up a kindergarten teacher’s position. They married in 1968 and had three daughters – Tori, Rose and Gretchen.
A house was built for Betty near her beloved oaks, and is still affectionately known as ‘Gran’s House’. It is this home that is now open to visitors.
The grand homestead of Waihua Station is now occupied by Rose Haynes and her young family.