Rai Valley Cottage
Location: Opouri Road, Carluke, Rai Valley
The Rai Valley Cottage was built in 1881 by Charles Turner. Charles and his family were the first people to settle in the remote Rai Valley, and lived in the cottage for over ten years before other people began moving to the area.
Charles Turner was born in 1839. He immigrated to New Zealand from London with his family in 1861. After initially settling with his family on a farm near Auckland, Charles moved south to the Pelorus Valley in 1867, where he worked as worked as a bushman. His future wife, Matilda, whom he had met in Auckland, eventually joined him and they were married in 1870.
The Rai Valley was subdivided and offered for sale in 1881; Charles purchased a section of this land. He immediately began clearing the bush and built the simple, gabled cottage with lean-to out of hand-split Totara slabs and pit sawn timber framing. The roof was shingled and a corrugated-iron chimney was constructed from river stones and exterior timber framing. Once the cottage had been completed, Matilda and the children came up from the Pelorus Valley to live on the land.
Charles continued to work as a bushman in the Pelorus Valley, so during the week Matilda and the children would clear the undergrowth in preparation for Charles' tree felling in the weekends. The Turners established a successful cattle farm on their land and were known to be extremely hospitable to passers-by.
The Rai Valley Cottage was registered with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust 28 June 1990. It is registered as a Category I - Historic Place.
- Blyss Wagstaff & Steve Bagley, 'Rai Valley Cottage', NZHPT Registration Report, 05 June 2008 (Record no. 329)