Explore the house and garden that inspired Katherine Mansfieldby Redmer Yska
Our greatest writer's Wellington home offers a rare glimpse into her late-Victorian world.
Walk this historic roadway, starting at Mansfield’s squat wooden birthplace at No 25. Today a tourist pit stop, the place has been rebranded “House and Garden”. Open Tuesday to Sunday (10am to 4pm, entrance free), the house offers a rare, fascinating glimpse of her late-Victorian world, especially when you consider the zigzag immortalised in The Wind Blows still winds down the nearby hill.
Cross busy Molesworth St, past wooden villas. Today’s scrappy gardens are nothing like those in Mansfield’s story Weak Heart: “You could see, as you ran by, whose daffys were out, whose wild snowdrop border was over and who had the biggest hyacinths, so pink and white, the colour of coconut ice.”
Below the Hawkestone St turn-off is the site of the now-demolished white wedding cake mansion that was her second Tinakori Rd address. From here, young Kath looked onto the workers' cottages below, inspiring The Garden Party. A heritage trail panel by the car repair shop at No 130 fleshes out the history.
Continue up to the road. Hillside Kitchen and Cellar at 241 Tinakori, across the road from Premier House, makes a good espresso. This zingy local cafe has recently had a makeover and gone “meatless”. “I've been watching their refurb with much interest,” Gayford says. “We’re looking forward to trying it out.”
This article is sponsored by Wellington Tourism.
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