Friday, May 22, 2009

25 February 1982 – Opening of Kinder House, Parnell

Kinder House in Parnell, owned by Auckland City Council and administered by the Kinder Society, became the first building in New Zealand devoted to the artistic work of one person when it was opened as a gallery and museum on 25 February 1982. Inside, the works of Rev. Dr. John Kinder are on display and provide examples of the contribution Kinder made to the history of New Zealand art, as well as that made to the history of the Anglican church in this country.

Bishop Augustus Selwyn purchased land in Parnell for the school, and had the house made from Rangitoto stone, designed by Frederick Thatcher. It was built to serve as the Master’s House for the Church of England Grammar School. Kinder arrived in Auckland in 1856 to be the headmaster of the school by 1857, and the house at Ayr Street was to be the Kinder family home for the next 15 years. Five other headmasters of the school followed him as residents of the house. In 1974 the council purchased the house for the purpose of preserving it as a historic building.

Rev. Kinder left the house in 1872 on being appointed as master of theology at St John’s College, Meadowbank, and in later years lived at Arney Road, Remuera. He journeyed over much of the country, both painting and photographing scenes of New Zealand during the 19th century. He died aged 83 at his Remuera home, Woodcroft, in 1903, after a brief illness.

The house today is looked after, as I said earlier, by the Kinder Society, of which I'm very proudly a member. I've come to know some truly wonderful, history-minded people over the past two of three years through attending their meetings and book launches. The house itself is one of Auckland's real treasures. Visit, next time you're in Parnell.

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