Garden Tupare banner

Tūpare

TuparemapNEW
Open all day every day
Free entry

Address: 487 Mangorei road New Plymouth View on Google maps

  • bbq3x BBQ area
  • bus3x2 Mobility assistance
  • no dogs Please, no dogs
  • picnic area Picnic areas
  • toilets Toilets
  • tours3x Gardens Tours
  • school3x2 Riverside School
Facilities

Relive the splendour

Soak up the atmosphere of this stunningly landscaped garden and unique homestead.

The landscaped garden

Tūpare is a premier landscaped garden with a unique homestead, originally developed by Sir Russell Matthews and his family from 1932.

Read more...
Landscaped Garden image

The landscaped garden

Tūpare is a premier landscaped garden with a unique homestead, originally developed by Sir Russell Matthews and his family from 1932.

Read more...
The River Flat image

The river flat

The river flat retains an idyllic pastoral feeling with simple plantings of specimen trees, complemented by the movement of the wind and water.

Read more...

The Chapman-Taylor house

Tūpare’s distinctive Chapman-Taylor designed house is a great example of the Arts & Crafts style of architecture.

Read more...
Tupare house image

The Chapman-Taylor house

Tūpare’s distinctive Chapman-Taylor designed house is a great example of the Arts & Crafts style of architecture.

Read more...
The Riverside school text

The Riverside School

The Riverside School is a study unit developed by the Taranaki Regional Council outlining the activities available for teachers and classes visiting Tūpare.

Read more...

The property

When Russell and Mary Matthews bought the Mangorei Rd property in 1931, it was a wilderness. It was covered in blackberry, gorse and bracken, with one mahoe tree in the Dell.

The Matthews began developing the garden during the Depression when labour was cheap and plentiful. For 18 months, the family employed men through the ‘over the fence’ Depression relief scheme to clear the gorse and blackberry. They also planted shelter trees, starting with eucalypts in 1933, followed by rhododendrons, magnolias and maples.

As the garden progressed, the range of plants at Tūpare included Russell’s favourite rhododendron hybrids, daisies, and Mary’s favourite cottage garden plants. Russell also used his engineering skills to achieve the contoured walls, brick walls and concrete walls on what is a very steep property.

The house

Initially designed by the renowned James Chapman-Taylor, the house at Tūpare was built under the direction of Russell Matthews, with a lot of the furniture and accessories being commissioned or bought on overseas trips.

Russell and Mary Matthews were familiar with the work of James Chapman-Taylor through the house he had designed and built for C A Wilkinson, the MP for Egmont, at Pukearuhe, which is now known as Wilkinson’s Castle. When Chapman-Taylor prepared drawings for the house at Tūpare, the only change he requested was with the size of the dining room, to accommodate the size of the dining table. Chapman-Taylor did not take this very well. Not only did he decline the proposed changes, but he insisted that he should provide full-time supervision for the construction of the house. In Russell Matthews’ view, this was entirely unnecessary and the commission was terminated. They did, however, end up building the house to follow the general form and layout of the plan that was originally designed.

The construction was supervised by Russell Matthews from 1932 to 1935, but took 12 years to complete. Most of the construction work was carried out by Russell Matthews’ road construction gangs in the winter off-season, through an employment agreement with a government department. Sand and shingle from the neighbouring Waiwhakaiho River were used to make the concrete for the house. The original cedar roof shingles were imported from Canada.

The splendour

Tūpare was considered to be an important house in New Plymouth and many local people were very proud to have it in their city. Even though it was a private residence, everyone knew that Russell and Mary Matthews lived there and that it was a very attractive home.

The Matthews were considered to be very prominent people in the city and people took a lot of interest in the house – they were also known for hosting parties in the house, which often involved singalongs around the piano.

Tūpare attracted many local and international visitors. In the 1960s, busloads of people from various societies visited, including the Compost Club, the Camellia Society and the Lily Society. One particularly memorable group was a busload of dendrologists (tree specialists) from the United Kingdom.