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Awaiting new owners . . . Gary and Ann Dennison outside Te Kiteroa. PHOTO: CHRIS TOBIN

by Chris Tobin

A building with an interesting history is on the market.

Te Kiteroa Lodge in Point Bush Rd, which stands on a 1.68ha site overlooking Waimate, is being sold by Ann (70) and Gary Dennison (68).

“We’re looking ahead for the next 10 years,” Mrs Dennison said.

The Dennisons have owned the home since 1992, and over the years built a restaurant over the road, which is now leased, and put in a vineyard on land in front of Te Kiteroa.

They will continue to live “on the hill,”and move into one of two cottages they own near the restaurant until a new home is built.

The vineyard land will eventually be subdivided and sold.

“We enjoy the aspect of where we are – the close proximity to the bush with the tuis, bellbirds and pigeons,” Mrs Dennison said.

The vineyard will be removed.

Regal lady…The Dennisons with a photograph of housekeeper turned grand lady, Emily Phillips, original owner of Te Kiteroa. PHOTO: CHRIS TOBIN

“We’ll be pulling that out,” Mr Dennison said.

“It’s not economically viable as we operate and too labour intensive. We’ve been rezoned residential by the council and to build we’d have to have it rezoned back to commercial.”

Mr Dennison grew up in Waimate before working around the world as an aeronautical operations and infrastructure specialist.

The couple met and married in Libya, where Mrs Dennison worked for an oil company.

They holidayed in Waimate each year, and after buying Te Kiteroa, leased it out, as well as land around the house, before finally settling there permanently in 2008 after a 12-year stint in Singapore.

The house was in bad shape when they first took ownership.

Since then theyhave implemented an upgrade programme.

They have also kept alive the story of Te Kiteroa’s original owner, Emily Phillips, whose large portrait hangs above the staircase.

Emily Phillips was housekeeper to Allan McLean, a wealthy landowner who left her a large inheritance.

In 1913, aged 76, Mrs Phillips built Te Kiteroa and lived there in grand style on an annual payment of McLean’s estate. She died in 1921 aged 85.

Before the Dennisons bought the house, it operated as a Women’s Division of Federated Farmers rest and recuperation home for women members from 1945 until 1978 and then as a bed and breakfast.

The lodge is being marketed with an asking price of $1.225million.