Opinion: Mona Vale of the east

ENCHANTING: Gates leading to the historic Avebury House.

Avebury House Community Trust social enterprise manager Michelle Whitaker writes about the history of the “Mona Vale of the East”

There’s a good chance you have never heard of Avebury House.

Tucked away in a corner of Richmond’s river red zone are the well-tended gardens and stately grandeur of a Victorian manor.

Completed in 1885 for the Flesher family, Avebury House has weathered dilapidation, youth hostel and earthquakes, and is now beautifully restored to 100 per cent quake standard.

A beautiful heritage building steeped in local history Avebury House is no museum – it is a thriving community hub where you can find yoga or art classes, join the new men’s shed, hire the commercial kitchen, have a birthday party, or your workplace meetings, and naturally it is a stunning setting for that picture-perfect wedding too.

You can view the history room or just sit in the cosy community library with a good book.

In contrast to the neatly kept flower gardens in front, out back beyond the paddling pool and playground, dedicated local volunteers have created the Richmond Community Garden.

Raised garden beds, a native edibles garden and a rain capture system, it is definitely worth a visit.

The space was recently used for a Matariki celebration that included live music, stalls and a traditional hāngi.

The restoration and ongoing management of the house and grounds has been funded by council and Government agencies, but the goal is to make it into a bustling social enterprise, a community space supporting locals and have wonderful annual events.

So all the very affordable hire fees for your party, wedding or meeting goes straight back into community activity. So a beautiful venue with the real feel-good factor.

If you haven’t discovered this architectural and community treasure, hopefully, this has piqued your curiosity – go and admire one of Christchurch’s true heritage buildings, one that has its face to the community’s future.

•Phone to become a volunteer or hire admin@aveburyhouse.co.nz, 381 6615.

•Rooms and rates details can be found at  www.aveburyhouse.co.nz