Diamond Harbour’s historic Stoddart Cottage – birthplace of one of New Zealand’s foremost painters – reopened yesterday to the public after extensive earthquake repairs and restoration.
“Stoddart Cottage is a small building with a big story to tell,” says Andrew Turner, Banks Peninsula Councillor and Deputy Mayor.
“It’s the birthplace and family home of Margaret Stoddart, one of New Zealand’s first professional female artists, and arguably our foremost painter of flowers. The cottage was shipped over from Australia by her father, Mark Stoddart, in 1861, making it one of the oldest homes left in the area and an incredibly rare surviving example of a pre-fabricated Colonial home.
“It’s the community’s love for this little treasure that has let it keep pride of place in Diamond Harbour, and the fact that we can still enjoy it to this day is testament to the efforts of the Council’s Heritage repair team and the Friends of Stoddart Cottage group – which was formed to save the cottage when it was threatened with demolition in the 1970s, and has been taking care of the cottage since the mid-1980s,” Cr Turner says.
Work began in October 2016 and included repairing earthquake damage and the roof, reconstruction and strengthening of three chimneys, replacing deteriorated weatherboards and a re-paint of the exterior. A new drainage solution was also installed to protect the property from flooding.