Reid Homestead, Home Bay on Motutapu Island

The historic Reid Homestead at Home Bay on Motutapu Island is base for the Motutapu Restoration Trust, which is committed to restoring the cultural and natural landscape of this island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf.

Salmond Reed’s first involvement with the farmhouse building occurred in 2001 when we carried out a condition assessment and produced detail drawings for restoring the verandah. Restoration of the house, which had been home to the Reid family who farmed the island, was pivotal to the Trust’s long-term intention to develop Motutapu into a “destination” attracting sufficient visitors to ensure a regular ferry service.

In 2006, we were asked to review some plan changes proposed by the Trust to enable the house to be used as a centre on the island for its various volunteer activities, the longer-term vision being that the house would serve as a visitor information facility as well as a space for meetings, storage, displays, arts and crafts, retail activities and small catered events.

Salmond Reed assisted with heritage advice on some of the architectural issues relating to the restoration and helped the Trust to select a colour scheme more appropriate to the building’s age and former use.

The next stage in the Trust’s work on the island involved developing the house into a visitor centre displaying interpretive material outlining the history of the island from its geological past, through to its Maori settlement and the later farming endeavours of the Reid family. It was essential that this display should provide interesting exhibits whilst yet maintaining sufficient flexibility to allow the spaces to be used for the Trust’s other purposes.

In collaboration with graphic design consultants, pHd3, a system of shutters was developed on which to mount the display items – thus enabling the story of the island to be told through old newspaper clippings and historic photographs, without taking up valuable floor and wall space. This shutter system also ingeniously allowed the display to be viewed internally, when volunteers are on hand to “man” the visitor centre and yet remain fully accessible to the public from outside the house at other times.

Thanks to ASB Community Trust funding, this interpretive material was able to be installed in 2013.

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