Historic Sites

Hayes Engineering Works

If you love old sheds and farming tools, or just want to wander through the workshop of an innovative Kiwi inventor – then Hayes Engineering, near Oturehua, is the place to stop. You can also take a step back into the past and wander through the original mud brick family homestead – and there is a cool little gift shop and café.
Ernest Hayes was no ordinary farmer, he was also a millwright and engineer. He set up a flour mill in Oturehua, then in the 1880s he began to invent simple tools to make farm work easier. He built his own windmill to power his machinery (look out for the windmill sign at the gate) and his wire fence strainers are still used all over New Zealand and the world. A small museum introduces you to the site, and guided group tours can be arranged, demonstrating the machinery and allowing you to view many examples of his ingenious agricultural tools.
His wife, Hannah, was no ordinary farm wife – she took sales and marketing to a new level, by visiting farms around Central Otago, even as far as the Mackenzie Country in Canterbury, to take orders for Ernest’s tools – on a bicycle! Hayes Engineering Works and Homestead today is a Category 1 historic place, operated by Heritage New Zealand.

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Address: Oturehua, Otago

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