History of Chillawhile Residence originally Marapua House owned by Welsh Historian W.H.S. Roberts.
Originally Chillawhile Backpackers was known as Marapua House, Marapua being the Maori word for flower. The house was built from Timber shipped from afar as Tasmania in Australia, fire places are made of Italian Marble. Marapua Estate spanned as far as where the New World supermarket is today 3 blocks North, today the front gardens are now a public garden and park by the name Roberts Park.
Marapua House – the Maori word for flower
Welsh historian from the Former British Empire – WHS Roberts settled in Oamaru in 1878, building a lavish home and gardens, Marapua House was completed in 1883. Roberts named his home Marapua, the Maori word for flower. today known as Chillawhile Backpackers and Art Gallery, Chillawhile offers our guests a slice of life during Oamaru’s Victorian Colonial days – remanence of the British Empire Reign in New Zealand.
In 1947 Marapua was sold, it was the end of the magic of Marapua Homestead and gardens, the land subdivided and re developed, Oamaru local persons of that time petitioned to local council and the front gardens were purchased at 1,000 British Pounds and converted into Roberts Park a park today for local children, people passing through Oamaru and guests at Chillawhile Backpackers Art Gallery.
Marapua was converted into 8 flats and went by the name of Meadow Bank Flats, for a time it had a colourful history as a place to acquire ilegal drugs and home brewed alcohol.
Today Chillawhile Backpackers Art Gallery is a thriving backpackers where people can experience local history, become a displayed artist and enjoy spontaneous musical melodies.
Today Chillawhile is a place of personal growth, as people are inspired by each other and become each other’s teachers, in art, in music, dance, cooking and more…
Descendents of the W.H.S Roberts family are always welcome and often do return to roam what was for so many years known to them as Marapua House. I hope that after the many years that Marapua fell into disrepair, that the despair felt by many can now transform into positive emotion, as the energy of the house again generates higher vibrations of life.
Art for Artists, Music for Musicians, Chillawhile featured on Getaway Australia in 2011 as Oamaru’s creative hostel destination!