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Model experience... Edna Dickson (left) and her niece, Lorraine Irvine, marvel at the replica of the Elder family homestead "Altrive", which was unveiled at a family reunion recently. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

The house, garden and setting befit the aspirations of a gentleman, reflecting Donald’s status and association with the New Zealand Agricultural Company

A scaled-down model of the family homestead was a focal point for a recent Elder reunion.

Seventy-five descendants of James and Euphemia (Effie) Elder recently gathered in Gore for a clan Elder reunion lunch.

The model of the family homestead at Waipounamu, in Northern Southland, was unveiled at the celebration.

Descendant Lorraine Irvine said the beautiful wooden homestead “Altrive” had played an important part in the story of the Elder family.

The model was made by craftsman Richard Gardiner, of Christchurch, Mrs Irvine said.

He had made models for people who wanted to remember homes, especially those lost in the earthquakes.

New Zealand Historic Places Trust information stated “Altrive”, built in 1897 for William Donald, a former manager of the New Zealand Agricultural Company, was an imposing residence in Waipounamu and a significant example of a late Victorian villa, she said.

“The house, garden and setting befit the aspirations of a gentleman, reflecting Donald’s status and association with the New Zealand Agricultural Company,” Mrs Irvine said.

The aesthetic of the exterior was a mix of styles but the design was eclectic and eye-catching.,

“The architectural value of ‘Altrive’ lies in the richness of a mostly unaltered interior and exterior of this late Victorian villa,” she said.

It was designed by Invercargill architectural partnership Mackenzie and Gilbertson and has an Historic Places Trust category 2 listing.

In 1918, James and Effie Elder came south from Kakanui, in North Otago, to live at “Altrive”, where they raised a family of nine children.

Son Keith and his wife, Freda, took over the farm in 1950, she said.

“There have been many meetings with the Historic Places Trust in an effort to get funding to put towards its maintenance but to no avail.

“It is classified as category 2 and as such generates no funding.”

The Elders have had a long association with the area and have been active in many community, business and civic affairs.

The house and farm remains in the family.

Geoff Elder and his son, Andrew, manage Altrive Red Deer Stud, producing velvet and trophy stags.

The family plan to give the model, along with a display board detailing the history of both “Altrive” and the Elder family, to the Gore Historical Museum.

The model was funded by 37 fourth-generation first cousins and their children.

Edna Dickson (98), the daughter of James and Effie Elder, was born at “Altrive” and enjoyed catching up with her 37 nieces and nephews.

All gathered… The descendants of James and Effie Elder get together for a family reunion. PHOTO: SUPPLIED