Taranaki people are being given an opportunity for up-close-and-personal involvement with one of New Plymouth’s iconic heritage properties, Tūpare.
Volunteers are needed to help run tours of Tūpare’s distinctive Arts & Crafts style homestead, designed by James Chapman-Taylor under the direction of pioneer industrialist Russell Matthews, who began developing the property in the 1930s. Today Tūpare is in public ownership, administered by the Taranaki Regional Council.
“Many of our volunteers have been drawn to the role because Tūpare encompasses a variety of interests and pastimes – architecture, gardening, arts, antiques, history or craftsmanship,” says the Council’s Regional Gardens Manager, Greg Rine. “But really, all you need to be is relaxed and confident with people.”
Free house tours are run four days a week in summertime and volunteers can commit to a minimum one shift a month – on a Saturday or Sunday if their weekdays are full.
“It’s a great opportunity to meet visitors – from Taranaki, the rest of New Zealand or overseas,” says Greg. “Tūpare’s house is a treasure. Visitors enjoy being shown around it and learning the stories behind it.”
Tour guides are equipped with a comprehensive handbook containing all the details they need, and are free to focus on the house stories and explanations that interest them most.
Greg says people interested in taking up the role should first take a tour themselves. They run at 11am on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays from the beginning of October to the end of March. They can then let the tour guide know if they want to take it further, or call Zoe on 027 660 5523.
For information about Tūpare and its history, go to www.tupare.nz(external link) and scroll to the ‘History’ tab.