Chance to buy your own castle
It was a gift from a dying man to his wife. Except he survived and now the castle on the hill that has overlooked Tirau for almost 17 years is for sale.
The grandiose structure that sits comfortably amidst green fields was built by Pamela and Kelvin Baker.
It was Kelvin’s gift to his wife to house her thousands of dolls.
He named it after her. He says he built it for her back in 1998 after they moved from Taranaki, where they owned a business making silos.
Back then, Kelvin had a growth on his heart that doctors would not find for a few more years.
Once the castle was built, Kelvin got a reprieve - the tumour was successfully removed from his heart - and the museum grew. It now includes toys, trains and teddy bears, all set up in displays that tell a curious story.
It’s about imagination and memories, Pamela says. She considers herself a historian, collecting toys that represent a moment in time.
Dolls and toys reflect society from the era, she said.
‘‘Back then, they were just junk to people and we were actually losing our heritage.’’
The pair bought land in Tirau and moved into two caravans while they built the castle. It took two years - working every day.
Naming it Castle Pamela was Kelvin’s idea - to Pamela’s surprise on the opening day in 2000. He’d draped Pamela’s good sheets over the front of the building.
When he pulled them back, in large steel lettering was her name.
‘‘I couldn’t speak. It was the last thing I ever expected. He said, ‘I built it for you.’ ‘‘
The new owners can rename it whatever they like, she said. Deciding to sell it was tough. It first went on the market in 2010. Pamela said they later decided they weren’t ready to sell, but now they are.
The 825-square-metre property sits on 2.88ha over two titles. It is being marketed for sale by Bayleys Hamilton through private treaty, with offers closing on April 6.
Castle Pamela: The front walls are made of concrete tilt slab styled like block work.