Designed and built in 1905 by Guy & Eileen Williams, the homestead is now owned and run by their great granddaughter Angela Irving. The property has remained in the Williams family since it began in 1857 and plays an important role in the history of the Wairarapa. Te Parae was originally part of the Beetham owned Brancepeth Station with farmland totalling 70,000 acres. 

In 1857 Thomas Williams, son of Archdeacon Henry Williams & his wife Marianne, married Annie Beetham from Brancepeth and soon after became a financial investor and part owner in Brancepeth together with Annie’s two brothers, George & William.

Forty eight years later the Williams/Beetham partnership was dissolved and Thomas & Annie’s share of Brancepeth was divided into eight properties to be owned and run by their thirteen children. Among these properties was Te Parae, a 5,000 acre sheep and cattle station run by their second son Guy. It was Guy who designed and then dug the lake with a horse drawn scoop, taking three years to fill naturally, whilst his wife Eileen designed and managed the building of the Homestead and gardens. Eileen, an accomplished woman in her own right, was the New Zealand Ladies Golf Champion five times from 1907 to 1922, Australian Champion in 1920 and reached the semi-finals in both Great Britain and France.

Of Guy & Eileen’s four children, it was their only son Alister who inherited the property, continuing to farm sheep and cattle. In 1938 Alister married Nancy Teschemaker from Blenheim, who introduced her two thoroughbred broodmares to the property which became the foundation for one of the early thoroughbred studs established in New Zealand. They sold their first yearling at the National Yearling Sales in 1941 and the family have continued this tradition ever since. Alister & Nancy were integral in the thoroughbred world with Alister becoming a noted expert in the pedigree field and co-founder of the Thoroughbred Breeders Association which still represents thoroughbred breeders today.

Alister & Nancy’s oldest son Tom took over the property in 1963 and two years later Tom’s brother Richard (‘Buzz’) returned home to run the horse stud. Both brothers continued to manage the property in partnership running sheep, cattle & horses. In 1968 Tom married Gay Phelps from Martinborough who in 1965 had been crowned Miss New Zealand. It wasn’t until the mid 1970’s that the property diversified again with the introduction of deer, caught from the local Tararua Ranges and east coast hill country. Tom and Gay continue their great support of the deer industry, with Tom chairing the Game Industry Board from 1984 to 1994. During Tom’s time as Chairman the ‘Cervena’ brand was developed and applied to New Zealand farm raised venison. Both Tom and Gay travelled extensively promoting ‘Cervena’ to international markets.

Today Tom and Gay’s three children live on the property and it is their daughter Angela with her husband Simon who now occupy the homestead and 100 acres of land, continuing the tradition of horse breeding and developing Te Parae into a function venue hosting weddings, lunches and celebratory events.