Hayes Engineering

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.

Explore the 1900’s belt-driven works where significant agricultural inventions were created, including the still-in-use Hayes wire strainer and triplex.

See what life was like for those working in the engineering trade and for those who lived in rural NZ. Discover the lives of the Hayes more intimately as you walk through the family Homestead or “the Big House”, where the inventions continued – this restored, 1920’s mudbrick home had electricity, a flushing toilet and even piped radio through the bedrooms! Refresh yourself at Hannah’s Café with freshly made food and espresso coffee or browse our gift shop. Cool drinks and free water available. Hayes Engineering Works and Homestead today is a Category 1 historic place, operated by Heritage New Zealand.



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.


September to May - 7 days - 10.00am -5.00pm 

Operating Days – Tours of the works including demonstrations of belt powered mechanisms are held on Sundays at 1:30pm from November to April inclusive.