About Waikonini Homestead

An unforgettable historical venue to create treasured memories.

Nestled at the base of Mount Peel near South Canterbury’s artisanal hub – Geraldine, this lovingly restored Heritage Listed Victorian home offers fine accommodation in an unforgettable private venue that’s an ideal place to create treasured memories.

Waikonini Homestead offers locally sourced homemade food, stunning scenery, and rich regional history. Guests from around the world choose Waikonini as their go-to place for events, meetings, overnight visits and full-week stays, because of the welcoming atmosphere and classic old-world charm.

You’ll meet our two resident dogs Pippy and Annie (Pippy’s Annie’s mother) and our 20 year old cat Balzac (named after the French poet). Pippy and Annie are friendly Swedish Vallhunds, a pedigree bred by the vikings 1,200+ years ago. Our pets get very excited when guests arrive and we call them the 'welcoming committee'.

At Waikonini, you can expect a warm country welcome, the buzzing sounds of nature, and the smell of home-style cooking all year round. Make Waikonini Homestead your home away from home.

Waikonini Homestead History

Waikonini Homestead is a historic Victorian home that’s a New Zealand Heritage listed building.

Built in 1882 by Mr J.P. Pritchett, an architect from Darlington, UK, Waikonini was designed especially for Mr William Barker - Founder of the Mount Peel Floral and Horticultural Society, and a bee keeping orchardist who was well known across the South Island for his delicious fruits.

Waikonini is historically important, because it’s a colonial homestead with Gothic features typical of the period. The homestead is a T-shaped timber house with seven bedrooms, a verandah, a high vaulted ceiling, a gallery and a grand suspended staircase.

The gardens of Waikonini are majestic featuring Atlantis pine, Tasmanian blackwood, oak and much more… The flower beds include Mt Peel's famous Himalayan lilies mixed with rhododendrons, primroses, daffodils and violets. Mr Barker's original pear and apple trees continue to bear fruit over one hundred and twenty years since they were first established.

Waikonini Homestead is a lovingly restored private home owned by your host, Mary Casey. Under Mary's stewardship, Waikonini has been revitalised, plus Mr J.P Pritchett's original architectural plans from 1882 were completed in 2014 with the construction of a conservatory alongside the kitchen.

Guests from New Zealand and around the world appreciate Waikonini Homestead for its old world charm and rich history. Whether you visit for an afternoon, or a week, time spent at Waikonini Homestead is a joyous journey back in time...

Waikonini Homestead is historically important, because it’s a colonial homestead owned by one of the original settlers of South Canterbury. Waikonini is listed as a category 2 historic building of significance with Heritage New Zealand. A home of such significant historical value includes responsibilities to protect and improve the property. Since moving into the home in 1995, Mary has painted inside and out, sanded the floors, overseen earthquake repairs, and added Mr J.P Pritchett's conservatory alongside the kitchen.

The homestead has special features including a gallery, a grand suspended staircase, a chandelier and blazing open fire to add to the charm. Mary’s extensive travels have resulted Waikonini being filled with authentic Persian rugs and fine China bought while living in places such as Oman and Bahrain. The kitchen’s unique island is a repurposed church altar that was salvaged from a deconsecrated church in Cave, South Canterbury.

In the gardens, Mr. William Barker’s original horticultural legacy lives on with heritage trees that continue to bear fruit, alongside violets, primroses and strawberries. Mary’s added lemons, limes and a potager garden with yams and artichokes. Guests can expect fresh produce, handmade jams, preserves and baking from Waikonini’s walk-in larder all year round.

Current Owner

Mary Casey

In 1993, Mary was working in the Middle East when she heard the homestead was for sale. Acting as her agent at auction, Mary’s sister made an offer and Mary became the owner and custodian of Waikonini Homestead.

“I had to pinch myself when I bought it, that I had actually done so! I just wanted an old house in the country with an established garden and Waikonini is far beyond what I ever thought I'd have.”
- Mary Casey

For breakfast, Mary's guests enjoy homemade muesli, cereal, porridge, preserved local fruits, toast with spreads such as marmalade, or farm fresh honey, all topped off with hot tea and coffee.

Afternoon tea could be homemade treats like handmade shortbread, lumberjack cake, fresh bread or classic scones. Packed picnics and customised lunches are availably by request.

Dinners are available with advanced notice. Ask Mary about the house favourite of Middle Eastern inspired stuffed cabbage rolls with couscous salad by Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi.

With sheep, cattle, deer and bellbirds as close neighbours, Waikonini Homestead is a uniquely unforgettable bed and breakfast welcoming guests from around the world across all four seasons. To discover your home away from home in a historic Victorian homestead contact your hostess Mary today.

Original Owner

Mr William Barker

Built in 1882, Waikonini (meaning fuschias by the water) sits on 60 hectares of lush gardens. The original owner, William Barker was a well-known orchardist and beekeeper who founded the Mount Peel Floral and Horticultural Society.

Born in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1858, Mr William Barker was the son of a surgeon and noted photographer Dr Alfred Barker. Dr Barker arrived in New Zealand with the first settlers on the ship Charlotte Jane in December 1850.

Dr Alfred Barker's son William was educated at Christ's College in Christchurch, before studying medicine in Cambridge, UK, where he met his wife Gertrude Pritchett. William and Gertrude later settled in New Zealand in their homestead designed and built by Gertrude’s father, Mr J.P. Pritchett, an architect from Darlington, UK.

Unfortunately living happily-ever-after was not the couple’s destiny as Gertrude died in 1880, aged 28. As a result, William later married Gertrude’s sister Lucy and together they had 7 children who were born and raised in the local area. In 1935, William died (aged 77) and the property was sold out of the family.

In modern times, a trip to the nearby Acland Family Church built in 1868 is where you’ll find Mr William Barker’s final resting place, alongside his first wife Gertrude Pritchett and his second wife Lucy Pritchett.

Waikonini Homestead has a rich history ready to be discovered during your stay in Peel Forest’s peaceful and picturesque surroundings. Waikonini's hostess Mary offers guests extensive knowledge on the history and attractions of the local area.

Local Attractions

Explore South Canterbury’s natural surroundings.

Explore South Canterbury’s natural surroundings such as native bush and waterfalls at Peel Forest’s Scenic Reserve, country cafes and craft markets in Geraldine, and even action-packed horse treks, or whitewater rafting in Rangitata. There’s so much to see and do around Waikonini Homestead.