Highwic is a 19th-century house in Auckland, New Zealand, which is listed by Heritage New Zealand as a Category I structure. The house was built in 1862 for Alfred Buckland, a wealthy colonial settler and landowner. The building sits in an elevated position above Newmarket.

Gardener at work at Highwic.
Gardener at work at Highwic.

Highwic House Above Newmarket NZ.jpg
General information
StatusHistoric house museum
Architectural styleCarpenter Gothic
Address40 Gillies Avenue, Epsom (off Mortimer Pass Newmarket)
CountryNew Zealand
Coordinates36°52′18″S 174°46′30″E / 36.8718°S 174.7749°E / -36.8718; 174.7749
Designated7 April 1983
Reference no.18

Origin and constructionEdit

Highwic is a large house of Carpenter Gothic design that was built for a wealthy colonial settler and landowner, Alfred Buckland. The building was erected in an elevated position looking out over the township of Newmarket. In 1861, the land was purchased by Alfred's first wife Eliza for £1,000. The family with seven children, moved into the house in 1862. Eliza Buckland had two more children during her short time alive in her new house, she died of pneumonia in July 1866. The original eight room house was extended in 1874, 1883 and 1884 as the Buckland family grew bigger and their wealth increased.[1]

Alfred Buckland married Matilda Jane Frodsham in May 1867. Matilda was twenty years younger than Alfred and went on to have eleven children of her own, nine of them surviving to adulthood. Matilda outlived Alfred, spending her declining years at Highiwc.

The building included a Drawing Room, several bedrooms, a boy's dormitory, a laundry, kitchen, scullery, outside stables, grooms accommodation, a billiard house, and a service yard. By the early 20th century two inside bathrooms were added with baths, hand basins, flushing toilets and hot and cold water on tap! Family descendants who lived in the house until 1978 made alterations of their own. The property was then jointly purchased by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust (now Heritage New Zealand) and Auckland City Council to save the site from subdivision.[1] Highwic was opened as a historic house museum in 1981.[2]

Functions and celebrationsEdit

A reception for the Duke of Kent and Katharine, Duchess of Kent was held at Highwic in 1980. There was also a ball to aid the New Zealand Blood Foundation in 1982. The ball generated a substantial article in the New Zealand Woman's Weekly magazine.

The Twelve Days of ChristmasEdit

In 1985, an exhibition known as "The Twelve Days of Christmas" involved Christmas items such as Christmas decorations, Christmas cards, Christmas trees, Christmas carol singing, floral arrangements and wreaths in addition to antique dolls and toys. There was also a display explaining Christmas legends and symbolism, as well as a gift shop. One of the large Norfolk Island Pine trees in the grounds was covered with eight hundred lights. On a few occasions, there were also candlelit rooms.

150th anniversaryEdit

In 2012, year-long celebrations were planned to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the building including high tea at the house, seeing a collection of Victorian era costumes and floral arrangements as part of the Festival of Flowers plus music and arts.[3] That year, Highwic became the main attraction of several Auckland Heritage Festival events.[4] The concert A Song Without Words celebrated the work of students of Felix Mendelssohn in the ballroom.[5]


The building has been used in filming for music acts such as Bic Runga, Rhys Darby, and also television shows such as The Jono Project and The Luminaries.[6]

Claimed hauntingsEdit

Highwic is considered to be one of the “spookiest” places in Auckland as there have been claimed sightings of a ghost in a bedroom.[7] It is also said to be the home to a ghostly canine. A former spokeswoman claimed that a black dog has been seen running across the garden to the property's boundary.[8]


  1. ^ a b Jan Harris (1996). Sweet Villa of Highwic – The Story of Highwic and the Buckland Family. ISBN 0-908577-32-X. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
  2. ^ "Highwic". New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero. Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  3. ^ "Highwic celebrates 150th anniversary". Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  4. ^ "Highwic to come under close scrutiny". Scoop. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  5. ^ "Song Without Words at Highwic". Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  6. ^ "Highwic's life in films". Stuff. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  7. ^ Ghost hunters in for the chill
  8. ^ Mathers, Joanna (18 May 2012). "Haunted by the memory of these visits". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 19 February 2020.