Chance to buy your own cas­tle

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - PROP­ERTY

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.

-Kelsey Wilkie

Cas­tle Pamela: The front walls are made of con­crete tilt slab styled like block work.

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