Hinemihi comes to Clandon Park
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By 1891 William Hillier Onslow, fourth Earl of Onslow (1853-1911) was approaching the end of his term as Governor of New Zealand and on the look out for a souvenir of the country to take back to his family estate at Clandon Park.
Hinemihi was chosen as meeting houses can easily be dismantled and transported elsewhere. A sum of £50 was agreed upon by Mika Aporo, son of Chief Aporo, to purchase Hinemihi.
An official hand-written bill-of-sale for Hinemihi, signed by Mika Aporo, was drawn up, dated 27 January 1892. Today, the document is on public display in Clandon Park’s Onslow Room.
Following the arrival of the carvings at Clandon Park in April 1892, Hinemihi was at first re-erected by an ornamental lake. Due to concerns about the poor condition of the carvings, some restoration work was carried out in 1919.
A patient reconstruction
She was reconstructed on her present site at the back of the main house by recovering WWI New Zealand soldiers, including Maori National Expeditionary troops (Maori Pioneer Battalion) when Clandon Park and neighbouring properties were used as military hospitals. Carvings were cleaned and she was reconstructed as near as possible to her 1880’s form.
A souvenir with many uses
Later generations of Onslows found different uses for their New Zealand garden souvenir. Hinemihi was used as a garden store, a home for a pet goat and at one stage was proposed as a bar for a family garden party.