Emerald Glen Homestead sits proudly within the bush just across the rail tracks at the Waterfall Road Junction with State Highway 1. In 1852, the original 900 acre property from Paekakariki township north was given as a land grant to Captain Henry Lynch of the Queens 65th Regiment in recognition of his service.
The first homestead built on the grounds directly in front of the present home burnt down. The site later became a tennis court and in more recent years the setting for many weddings where guests are serenaded by noisy flocks of wild parakeets and galahs thriving in the valley.
The only surviving original buildings on the property are a large wool shed and a small accommodation whare, once the Lynch family schoolhouse. Like the original home, these were built using pit sawn timber and bricks fired on the site.
Ossin Lynch, son of Captain Henry and his wife Catharine, homebuilt the current stately wooden two storey in 1905. Home to three generations of the Lynch family, it is truly the grand old lady of Raumati South.
The family loved their sport, especially tennis and game shooting. They were the first in New Zealand to introduce and farm deer for hunting.
Devout in their Sunday worship, the whole family, dressed in Sunday best, would wait for the Wellington to Manawatu express to pass through, then lift their homemade jigger onto the tracks and jigger like heck down to the Church in Paraparaumu and back before the next train. Woe betide anyone lagging behind for a chat with the other parishioners after the service. They’d probably have to walk all the way back.
During the past 32 years of private ownership as a family home, conference centre, wedding venue and ‘bed and breakfast’, graceful Emerald Glen has retained all her original features. Truly stepping back in time, staff have spoken of walking up the great wooden staircase to see the apparition of a young girl standing smiling at the top of the landing.
A drive nowadays through Valley Road, down the picturesque Waterfall Gully (or Snakes Gully as the local children have called it) and on past our precious upper Whareroa Farm to the sweeping slopes of Mt Wainui, showcases one of the most beautiful features of our own special part of the coast.
Photos contributed to Jacqueline Elliot