The Bushy Park Farm was established in the mid 1860's at
Kai Iwi, a farming district north of Wanganui on the west
coast of New Zealand's North Island.
In June 1863 James Moore from Lerwick in the Shetland
Islands arrived in Auckland on board the Warspirit in
company with his sister Emma. After visiting his sister in
Christchurch he came to Wanganui and purchased Kells Store.
In about 1865 he and future brother-in-law James Currie
founded the Bushy Park farm. The Moore/Currie partnership
ended during the 1880's.
The farm prospered and by 1890 was a significant property
but during the 11 years from 1891 to 1902 all the family
died, leaving the youngest son, George Francis (Frank)
Maitland Moore as the sole survivor.
Frank commissioned C.Tilleard Natusch to design a house and
what is now the Bushy Park Homestead was completed in 1906.
Frank never married, but is remembered for a lavish and
generous life style.
While the main part of the farm continued under management,
Frank had a focus on racehorses and hereford cattle.
He died in 1962 aged 85 after gifting his house and the
attached forest to the Royal Forest and Bird Protection
To The Public with Wanganui Forest and Bird
Following the death of Frank Moore, the operation of Bushy
Park became the responsibility of the Wanganui Branch of
Forest and Bird who tackled the task of preparing the
property for public visits.
Furnishings befitting the period had to be found, walking
tracks had to be defined to the notable points in the forest
and informative signs had to be created and erected.
Over time teas and light meals became available and the
accommodation was brought into line with the different
useage it now had. Teams of volunteers took control of the
never-ending maintenance of the old house, while others
looked after the extensive grounds, lawns, hedges and
The first custodian was Frank Moore's handyman, Ernie
Paulger. After his retirement in 1964 there were a number of
custodians and managers over the following thirty years.
During this time, the major part of the upkeep was being
carried out by an organising committee under the eye of the
Wanganui Branch of Forest and Bird, with some financial
support from the central office.
Increasingly, the role of the Homestead was being
questioned and eventually the decision was made to
re-configure the administration of Bushy Park.
The forest was retained by Forest and Bird while the
Homestead was transferred to a new Trust. The new system
took effect from 1995.
Trust And A New Direction
The formation of the Bushy Park Homestead and Forest Trust
- a registered Charitable Trust - allowed access to new
forms of funding, leading to some significant developments.
The Trust was successful in securing funding under the
LEOTC (Learning Experience Outside The Classroom) and a
teacher was based at Bushy Park for nine years. The funding
application was not successful in 2009 and this very popular
During the time LEOTC operated at Bushy Park, tens of
thousands of children of different ages from schools all
round the lower North Island were able to benefit from the
experience of a safe visit to a stand of virgin New Zealand
The construction of a predator proof fence saw the
successful removal of all manner of predators from the
forest, which in turn allowed the re-introduction of
saddleback (tieke) and the start of the involvement in
Operation Nest Egg.
In the Homestead fundraising saw the improvement of the
water supply and the installation of a fire sprinkler
system. Over time progress has been made on work to make the
The way the Homestead is operated also changed. The early
management saw the catering upgraded to bed and breakfast.
In due course the the employment of managers and custodians
came to an end as administration of the Homestead went to
the first lessee.
The current lessees are Theo and Vivienne Perry who are in
their eighth year at Bushy Park.