Fyffe House, Kaikoura's oldest surviving building, (1844) has links with moa hunting, whaling, fishing, farming and port activities. Fyffe House is a property of the Historic Places Trust, thanks to it's age, heritage and classic colonial appeaerance. The building's foundations are supposedly made from whale vertabrae. Check the website for the open hours, which were reduced to zero after the 2016 Kaikoura Earthquake. Though the cottage was mostly undamaged, it awaits an engineering assessment.
A visit to Fyffe House provides a rewarding insight into early European life in Kaikoura, but even if the building is closed it has an attractive exterior and is on the route of the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway. The grounds around Fyffe house are known as their own Historic Area, thanks to items of archaeological interest. These include the remains of the 'beacon' which was beacon point, now a one metre post, relics found where the whale boiling down pit may have been, and indicators of the Ngati Kuri's residence here.
To Ngai Tahu, the hill upon which Fyffe House rests, is known as Wai-o-puka. The occupation of the Ngati Kuri Hapu here predates the whalers, going back to the moa-hunting days of previous centuries. It is a Wahi Tapu area. It was here at Fyffe's house, in 1859, where the Crown finally managed to procure the signatures of Ngati Kuri to the million hectare block that is Kaikoura. The Hapu were left with some coastal reserves and 300 pounds.
The Audioguide (Press play) is about the historic whaling industry in Kaikoura as it relates to the Fyffe family.