Kinder House in Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand. Featured in Lonely Planet Guide based on Merit from travellers' experiences.
Built in 1857, Kinder House is one of Auckland's most notable stone buildings. It was commissioned by Bishop G.A. Selwyn and designed by Frederick Thatcher, the architect for many Anglican buildings in Auckland.
The Ground Floor rooms are devoted to the display of watercolours, photographs and sketches by John Kinder (1819-1903) and other temporary art exhibitions are on display at times.
Kinder House is open to the public from Wednesday to Sunday from Noon to 3pm. It is closed over the Christmas and New Year holiday break and the official Easter holidays and at times for renovations & on-going maintenance. The property is available for hire for weddings, garden parties, birthday celebrations, seminars, meetings, displays, art exhibitions, fund raising events, musical performances, and workshops when it is closed for such functions. It is FREE entry but a donation is requested on entry. Various booklets, prints, calendars, DVDs and pamphlets on New Zealand Arts and Heritage are on sale.
The building was commissioned by Bishop G. A. Selwyn as a schoolmaster's house for the first headmaster of the Church of England Grammar School, now long since demolished, but which occupied the site directly opposite Kinder House to the south, where shops are now situated.
The schoolmaster's house is of rubble construction, basically using scoria from Mt Eden, with dressed stone at corners and openings thought to have been quarried at Mt Wellington. Michael Dunn wrote an article in 1982 for the publication Art New Zealand which is available on the net at http://www.art-newzealand and incorporates a number of historic photographs. He notes that Kinder House was the grandest of three stone buildings constructed in Parnell by the master mason, Benjamin Strange, in 1857/8. It cost £1404.10.10, a considerable sum in those days. This was not surprising, as it was unusual to build in stone or brick at the time, particularly stone, there being a shortage of masons of sufficient skill. This is evidenced by structural difficulties which were experienced following the construction of a number of stone churches in the region at the time, namely the earlier St Thomas's on the corner of Kohimarama Road and the original St Stephen's chapel in Judges Bay.
The schoolmaster's house, on the corner of Ayr Street and Parnell Road, was sold by the church and remained in private ownership through to the 1970s. On the death of the then owner it became available on the open market. Councillor Sheila Horton and Deputy-Mayor Dr Lindo Ferguson convinced the Council to purchase the property because of is heritage value.. The Kinder House Society (KHS) was formed to manage the property and operate it as an art gallery under the agreement. The first Chairperson and driving force was Sheila Horton, who is commemorated by a sundial and plaque in the garden.
Kinder House has been used by various voluntary organisations for meetings, seminars and celebrations for many years. These include the Parnell Rotary, the Ex Libris Society,UNANZ Northern Branch, the NZ Founders Society, Royal Commonwealth Society, Parnell Heritage, Auckland Civic Trust, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Painting classes, NZ History Federation, Auckland Heritage, NZ Hearing Society, Royal Foundation for the Blind and health support groups. The Kinder House Society support the Auckland Council's Photographic Festival, Heritage Festival, and Art week programs with exhibition contributions.
The Kinder House Society has been fortunate to have received private art collections to display that reflect the heritage of Auckland. We do take group house & exhibition tour bookings outside official opening times.
The house and gardens can be hired for private or professional use, for example small weddings and anniversaries, business functions, wedding photographs, fashion garment photographs, film location shoots and the like.
The volunteer Justice of the Peace service is offered by appointment.
The KHS gardens have had a major make over and have adopted a policy of non-toxic spray and drought resistance plantings to encourage the native birds, butterflies, bees,lady birds, skinks habitat. The garden and house are disadvantage access designed and constructed for all types of disabilities persons.
Contact the Kinder House Society at info@ kinder.org.nz for charges and other details.