Explore four carefully restored stone farm buildings and find out about farming life in the 1800s.
Totara Estate's historic farm buildings and displays are a tribute to the courage, determination and ingenuity of New Zealand's early farmers. As you arrive at the estate, which is managed by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, you'll see the Totara Estate Museum complex - a series of four original Oamaru-stone structures. The carcass hanging shed (or meat house) was built to support the export of frozen meat to Britain; the granary was used for processing and storing the oats, wheat and barley that were cultivated on the estate; the men's quarters and cookshop housed the estate's labour force, many of whom were swagmen or itinerant workers; and the estate's horses were accommodated and fed in the stables. Inside the carefully restored buildings you can learn about the history of Totara Estate, farm management in the 1800s, the evolution of New Zealand's meat freezing industry, sheep breeds and much more. Many of the displays here are set up to mirror life as it was during the estate's heyday.