At Clendon House you can enjoy a glimpse into the fascinating life and aspirations of an early colonial family. This stylish residence was built in 1860 as the home of Captain James Reddy Clendon, his wife Jane and their family.
Captain Clendon was an important historical figure who found success as a ship owner and trader. He was present at many of the earliest encounters between Māori and Europeans, and witnessed both the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1835 and the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840.
Later, James Clendon became chairman of New Zealand’s first bank – the original Bank of New Zealand. He was also a member of the first Legislative Council, and eventually became the first United States Consul in this country.
Clendon House also tells the story of Jane, Clendon’s wife, who was of Hokianga Māori descent. Sadly, she was left a widow in 1872, with little money, huge debts and eight children to raise. Through her determined efforts, she managed to raise her eight children and preserve the family home for future generations. She did all this at a time when being a woman, a widow, and Māori would have all counted against her.
The house remained in the Clendon family until 1972 when the building and its contents were bought by Heritage New Zealand for us all to enjoy.