Historic property ready for new chapter

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Rebecca Hulse and pooch Willow.
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Nestled in a property down Beach Road is a grand manor house with plenty of history now the new owners have big plans for the property.

Rebecca Hulse and partner Jema Smith are opening the doors to Hemsworth Estate offering it as a venue for weddings, functions, B&B and high tea amongst other things.

Rebecca and her mother ran it part-time until her mother passed away in 2021. At the start of the year Rebecca and Jema moved into the property to focus on the business fulltime.

Rebecca is passionate about the house where she spent a lot of time when she was young, she grew up in Christchurch but spent almost every weekend and holiday at the house.

‘‘This is what we want to be doing full-time, this has been such a special place of memories for me, having this heritage is very special for me.’’

The house goes back four generations in Rebecca’s family starting with a wellknown Irish family name.

‘‘My great grand parents were part of the Guinness family – so from Ireland who made the beer, they bought this as their retirement farm.’’

Her great grandparents had a 200 acre sheep stud in Ealing and when it was time to retire they bought the 24 hectare Hemsworth property.

‘‘My grandparents were here too so its got a lot of that childhood charm and memory, its kind of selfish if you have a beautiful big place like this and don’t open it up,’’ Rebecca said.

‘‘Everything is created with the old fashioned charm, the furniture is original, lots of people see things and say ‘oh my granny used to have that’, it is reminiscent of that childhood memory.’’

Although the heritage is important there are still modern comforts and touches in the house like new en suite bathrooms in the guest rooms.

Rebecca and Jema have been busy getting the garden in order after almost a decade of neglect. ‘‘We’ve been chopping hedges and weeding and repairing farm buildings,’’ Rebecca said.

The house is now open for business, available for weddings, functions and they will also host high tea. They had their first high tea on Easter Monday ‘‘with all the trimmings, lots of silver ware and antiques.’’

Rebecca said she has 85 antique tea cups good to go.

Over winter they plan to hold high tea and indoor events, and in summer they will host garden parties. ‘‘We’ve got a projector and we want to do some open movie nights outside.’’ There are also rooms available for a Bed & Breakfast.

Rebecca said Ashburton is the perfect place for their business

‘‘I really love this town, it’s come up so much in recent years, to me it’s becoming a new hot spot … once people get here, Ashburton sells itself there are so many little discoveries waiting to be made.’’

Rebecca said their goal was to make a place where people can take time out. ‘‘Rest and having peace and quiet is really underrated right now, so that is our main selling point, yes there is history and traditional aspect we have here, but also that you just get to take a moment of time that you deserve.’’ Visit: www.hemsworthestate.co.nz