Collage style artwork with Highwic and photos of children.


Discover New Zealand’s original crowded house, with 21 rambunctious children at Highwic, Auckland.

Imagine having 21 brothers and sisters to contend with, or being able to summon snacks at the ring of a bell. A visit to Highwic during the April school holidays will offer curious families a snapshot into Auckland society life in the 1860s.

Plan your visit
The boys shared bedroom with three beds, a record player and various toys under an a frame roof at Highwic

Full house

A businessman, farmer and father, Alfred Buckland made a lasting contribution to provincial Auckland during the 19th century.

Stepping into the sprawling Newmarket home of Alfred Buckland, first wife Eliza and then, second wife Matilda during the 1880s would have been a lively experience. Kids everywhere, of all ages. Noisy games. And dolls and toys scattered, mostly on the ‘Children’s Landing’ between the boys’ and girls’ sleeping quarters. With 21 children (14 daughters and seven sons) to Alfred’s name, there was nothing dull about this Victorian family home.

Black and white photo of the extended Buckland family having a picnic.

The Buckland family enjoying a picnic. Photo: The Highwic Collection, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.

Historic black and white photo of people playing tennis at Highwic circa 1910-20s

An introduction to Highwic

Built in 1862 – but by no means finished then – the house is a rare instance in Aotearoa New Zealand of Carpenter Gothic architecture, a style associated with America’s East Coast, reflecting Alfred’s enthusiasm for the New World. Highwic is a grand home, in the sense it’s very large, notably ornate, and comes complete with a drawing room and a number of outbuildings, including a stables, fernery and a detached billiards house.

Discover more about Highwic

Discover the story of the cheeky Highwic parrot and its grand adventures between family members’ homes.

We were here

The art of leaving your mark has been around for countless generations, with many a historical figure scratching their names into buildings around the world. Highwic is no exception, with two of the Buckland daughters making their marks on panes of glass.

Florence has etched her name in the glass of the right-hand door to the balcony in her former bedroom (not currently open to the public). The name Kate is etched in the window glass in another bedroom. Kate was 10 years older than Florence. Did Kate’s cheeky act of rebellion lead Florene astray, or did Florence copy Kate years later?

Florence etched into the Balcony Bedroom window, aside a photo of Florence.

Florence etched into the Balcony Bedroom window, aside a photo of Florence. Photo: Steve Burgess.

Explore the collection

Arthur Morrow drawing, 'Cutting [illegible] shown from Little Bucklands 1895'. Credit: Highwic Collection.

A pencil drawing depicting the 'Cutting' track from Little Bucklands by Colonel Arthur Morrow.

Husband of Mariamne Buckland, Arthur Morrow was a prominent Auckland draughtsman.

Married in 1877 they lived in ‘Simla’ in Epsom and later Bucklands Beach. He is known for his detailed pencil drawings and paintings of the local area.

Explore the online collection of stunning drawings by Arthur, generously donated to the Highwic collection by his descendants.

Explore the collection
A watercolour painting of the 'Cutting', Tamaki by Arthur Morrow.

Painting, 'The old cutting, Tamaki', 1925.

Highwic on screen

A recognisable film and television shooting location, most recently used for Oscar winner Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, visitors to Highwic will feel excited to experience such a famous place first-hand.

Can you spot Highwic in The Power of the Dog trailer?

For information about filming at Highwic please contact us.