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Sitting room of 'Atawhai', Fitzherbert

Sitting room of 'Atawhai', Fitzherbert

'Atawhai', meaning 'warm welcome', was built for Edwin Keiller, a widower, as a healthy place to raise his children. It was designed by C.T. Natusch, the architect, and built by Arthur Bennett at the top of the bluff across the bridge from Palmerston North. At the time building materials had to be hauled up the bluff by a double pulley, although a steep access road was built at a later date. The house had 17 rooms, plus sculleries and pantries, and included a veranda facing the sun. The house remained in the family until 1963 when the Presbyterian Educational Trust bought it. It is administered in conjunction with Massey University as a hostel for students and is now known as Fergusson Hall.