The house from the North-east
Welcome to the Henry and William Williams Memorial Museum Trust established in 1973 by their descendants with the aim of buying the historic family house in the Bay of Islands known as The Retreat. Thirty four years later this dream was realised with the purchase of the property in 2007. The Trust’s website has been launched to inform the growing number of Williams family members how they can help with this important and exciting project to turn The Retreat into a museum.
An extensive fundraising campaign was run in 2008 and 2009 which raised over half a million dollars from family members – sufficient money to clear the loans needed to buy the house. This is a fantastic achievement from just one family. Now that we have secured the property, we are moving onto the next planning stage, described in Future Plans.
Who were these brothers? Archdeacon Henry Williams and Bishop William Williams were among the first missionaries in New Zealand and with their wives played a central part in the early contact phase of the country’s history. For more information go to Williams family.
Grounds with pond
What is the house? The Retreat, in Pakaraka, Northland, was built for Henry Williams and his wife Marianne around 1851-1852. It is an elegant and important building that the Historic Places Trust has registered as a place of outstanding historical or cultural significance.Click here to view the register. We are extremely fortunate to have possession of such an important and beautiful property. It is the only house still extant with a direct link to the two Williams brothers. For a fuller description of the property see the House and Garden page.
What can family members do? The trustees are hoping to get in touch with as many family members as possible. To contact the Trust for further information please write to the Secretary, H & W Williams Memorial Museum Trust, PO Box 12426, Thorndon, Wellington 6144. For email enquiries contact us. The Trust is a registered charity and donations to it are tax-deductible. For more detail see The Trust.
The Trust’s Patron is Lady Reed, a family member, a long-time supporter and generous benefactor.