Renwick House


Renwick House was originally called Newstead, and was the home of Sir David Monro from 1864. Monro was an active member of the Nelson Institute as well as a doctor, famous botanist and politician.  Thomas Renwick, another politician and community leader, made it his family home in 1877.  

NewsteadNewstead, The Nelson Provincial Museum, Copy Collection, C2031
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Anne Renwick, the widow and second wife of Thomas Renwick, died in 1937 at age 93 while still resident at Newstead. In 1939 the Government purchased the two-acre property comprising Renwick House and surrounding grounds (the back field was then a bowling green), to support the growth of  Nelson Central School. The House is still a part of the school.

Nelson Central School is now the oldest school in New Zealand still functioning on its original unitary site. The site of the present school was purchased in 1893 for 1,600 pounds. The School gained its present name in 1927, with the enrolment of both boys and girls. The newly constituted school was made up of the main building in Nile Street, which took Standards 3-6 and two side schools; Brook Street, Standards 1 and 2 and Tasman Street which housed the infants.

Renwick HouseRenwick House, The Nelson Provincial Museum, GCW_P697_fr2
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The main School building was rebuilt in 1930 and the façade retains all its character today. 

In 1996 Renwick House was refurbished, also in character with its original style, and reopened as three classrooms with the teaching resource facilities upstairs. 

Renwick House sits on a piece of higher ground in the school grounds, adjacent to an excellent playground.  A large bougainvillea vine, believed to be nearly as old as the house, sits on the northwest side of the verandah. It is known by locals as the Crinkum Crankum tree, as it provided inspiration to Robyn Belton who illustrated a popular children's story written by Margaret Mahy.


Updated: April 2020

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  • THE ADELINE RENWICK TRUST. How does this woman, the Renwick Cottage(s) and Renwick House fit together?
    Is there some piece of the Renwick family history missing? The Cottages are in NELSON town and not Marlborough. {BEP}

    Posted by Barry PYCROFT, 04/05/2021 2:53pm (3 years ago)

  • My name is FitzGerald from Dublin, Ireland but my mother's was Maiben. In Nelson at the present on vacation, looking up Renwick house which I believe one of my forebearers from Ireland William Flounders Maiben once lived. I believe he was the first to live there back in the 1840s. He spent about 10 years in Nelson (shipping business, I believe) before returning to England, Liverpool and then Cheltenham. I understand that a young son of his is buried here in Nelson. I checked Holloway cemetery but no sign of him there. Any further information gratefully received. Oliver. Ed - this information is on the Nelson Cemeteries database

    Posted by Oliver FitzGerald, 03/01/2019 4:27pm (6 years ago)

  • I went to Renwick Kindy in the 80s then onto Central School. I remember also going to the dental nurse up the big old wooden stairs.

    Posted by Natasha Salthouse, 01/12/2014 7:27pm (10 years ago)

  • Dr Renwick purchased the house in 1877, not 1879. For more information see my article in the Winter edition of New Zealand Heritage. Ed. - have amended thanks

    Posted by Elisabeth Airey, ()

  • My own father was born in So Island and had 'Renwick' in his name. We have some photos of Newstead, showing various family groupings, as well as a few of Thomas Renwick. Wd be grateful to ask a couple of questions about these and other mementoes - none of my father's family now living. Regards,

    Posted by Helen Young, ()

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