Historic Hayes

A home of Kiwi invention

Historic Hayes belonged to a 19th-century pioneering couple who developed and marketed ingenious labour-saving inventions for pastoral farming, defining the spirit of 'Kiwi ingenuity'.

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The Story

From their rural Ōtūrehua farm, Ernest Hayes and his wife Hannah worked as a resourceful team. Ernest forged ahead with inventing and manufacturing devices to make life on the land easier, and Hannah cycled throughout the district in her ankle length skirts marketing their wares and taking orders.

Many of their inventions are still in use today, notably the wire-strainer that farmers came to depend upon to keep their fences strong and straight, rabbit baiters and windmills. 

Historic Hayes is proudly cared for by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.

See & Do

Do a self-guided tour through Ernest Hayes’ engineering workshop with its labyrinth of overhead shafts, belts and pulleys driving various lathes, drills and saws. 

Explore the 1920s homestead with its treasure trove of ingenious domestic devices that were well ahead of their time in rural New Zealand, including an indoor flush toilet, overhead shower and the likely first in-home sound system connecting each room to radio and messaging. 

Eat delicious food from the award winning café during the summer months.

Plan your visit to coincide with a summer-time Operating Day to witness all of the historic workshop machinery come to life. 

More information

Hayes Engineering Works Otago.Credit Clare Toia Bailey 157

Visitor Information

Hayes Road, Off Ida Valley-Omakau Road,
Ōtūrehua 9387

Hayes Engineering Works - LR

School Visits

Tours tailored to the needs of school groups can be provided by visitor hosts.  Operational tours of the historic workshop can be booked in accordance with specialist-guide availability.


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