29 January 2018

Teschemakers - North Otago

Historical buildings and huge park like grounds are an attractive feature of Teschemakers. Once a catholic boarding school for girls, this intriguing place comes with an interesting history.

Teschemakers is set on 70 hectares in North Otago, about ten minutes south of Oamaru. The property was originally bought by William Teschemaker in 1860. William's brother Frederick gave the property the name 'Teschemaker' which is Old Dutch for table-maker.

In 1862 a homestead was built from Oamaru stone on a plantation surrounded in English trees. William Teschemaker died at the age of 59 and the McCarthy brothers bought the property in 1905. Six years later in 1911 they gifted the property along with 25 acres of land to the Dominican Congregation of Sisters. Then in 1912 the grand opening of St Patrick's school took place. The school continued to grow until there were 140 girls on the roll.

The school closed in 1977 due to its isolation and the low number of girls that attended. In 1994 the centre was run by a co-op of nine people and used as a retreat for healing, prayer, study and reflection. 
It seems Teschemakers has had a few owners. In 2000 it sold again and was bought by a Japanese businessman, Dr Hirotomi Ochi with the intention of turning it into a university. However three years later, tragedy struck when a fire badly damaged the main building. Dr Ochi rebuilt the building with some of the builders working on it for four years! It must have cost a fortune! Sadly before it could be used as a university Dr Ochi passed away.

John and Judy Murdoch purchased the retreat (in 2011) and opened it as a wedding and conference venue. The property still has the former classrooms and three storey dormitory from when it was used as a boarding school. They've now been shut off and used as storage.
Nowadays Teschemakers is owned by a Chinese tourist company.

The NZMCA are very fortunate in that their members are able to use these gorgeous sweeping lawns as a place to stay.

The view of the gate when leaving Teschemakers.

My buddy waiting patiently for me to come back.


  1. It looks like a beautiful place. We will have to visit next time we can get to the south. Thanks for showing it to us.

    1. Thanks Lynne. It is a beautiful spot and I'm sure you'll enjoy visiting it.

  2. Hi Bernie and Katrina,

    As the manager of the Teschemakers Resort, I'd like to ask you if it'd be possible for us to use your photos about Teschemakers,we really like your photography works. Please kindly be advised the authorized way for that.

    Many Thanks.

    Judy Zhu

    296 Teschemakers Road, Oamaru 9492,New Zealand



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