History

Gear Homestead brings over 130 years of Wellington history to your event.

Surrounded by rose gardens, manicured lawns, native bush and established trees with stunning views of Porirua Harbour, Gear Homestead provides an outstanding venue for your special occasion.

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Early history

The homestead was built in 1882 by businessman James Gear. Mr Gear was born in Somerset, England in 1839 to parents of modest means. He worked in his father’s butchers shop before seeking his fortune in the Australian goldfields. He continued on to the goldfields in Central Otago and finally arrived in Wellington and opened a butcher’s shop.

He expanded into a number of shops, introduced van deliveries to Wellington homes and moved into meat processing. He was one of the early pioneers of the the frozen meat trade to Britain.

He was a wealthy man by the time he built Gear Homestead for his second, and much younger, wife. It was designed to highlight his success, in a prime location overlooking the harbour and in an ornate style particularly favoured in Australia at the time. When completed it had 18 rooms.

An annex building was added later but destroyed by fire in 1967. The bridge that connected the annex to the homestead survived and remains unique feature of the property today.

James Gear died in 1911 and the homestead remained in the Gear family until 1967.

Recent history

In 1969 the homestead was acquired under the Public Works Act and was earmarked for a school. This didn’t proceed and the property passed to Porirua City Council. It was used as a community arts centre and then opened to the public as a functions centre in 1983.

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Find out more about the history of Gear Homestead and James Gear.