Monastery on market


The Monastery, one of Tamahere’s most storied properties, is on the market again.

Current owners of the 4.5ha, riverside property, Shane and Paula Walsh, were about to put their historic home on the market when New Zealand entered Covid-19 pandemic lockdown in late March.

“We’ve owned it for four years, it’s been fantastic, we’ve loved it,” said Shane Walsh.

The Monastery
The Monastery and its old world charm are on the market again

“But we’re at the time of our lives when we want to travel more and this is not a lock-up and leave place.”

Their stately Newell Rd home has a long history, starting its life in Insoll Ave, Hamilton in 1906 where it was built for the Primrose family and named ‘Dalmeny’ after a Scottish manor house of the same name.

In 1952, the Catholic Church bought the house, which became a retreat for priests and earned it the name, The Monastery. It was moved to Tamahere in 1990. More detail on its history here.

In the trickle of owners since, the charitable Wise Trust owned it before the Walshes and ran it as a wellness retreat for women experiencing trauma before dedicating its services exclusively to Cantabrians in need of a break from the Christchurch earthquake aftermath.

The Walshes have run it as a five-room Bed and Breakfast but mostly enjoyed it as their family home.

“We employed an interior designer to take it up a few notches to be a boutique B and B but the good bones were already there,” Walsh said.

After moving from the city and corporate life back to the Waikato from which they hailed the Walshes found The Monastery and its extensive gardens to be the “perfect family home,” he said.

“It was a great lifestyle change. There’s an organic orchard and pottager, geese, chickens, pigs, sheep. We grow our own veges and I make cider from our apples.

“It even has its own sandy beach from which I’ve caught trout,” he said.

With the NZ economy in post-lockdown disarray the Walshes could be putting their property on an uncertain market but early signs are that there is plenty of interest in the unique property.

“There’s been a lot of interest already, ” he said, “and someone else coming to look this afternoon. I’m bullish about a sale.”

Walsh is equally bullish about his travel prospects in a Covid-19 changed world.

“I’m holding out for a vaccine in 12 to 18 months,” he said. “We’ll be staying in the Waikato but in something we can lock up and leave.”

Property details here.

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