Literature-lovers are making their way to Janet Frame’s childhood home in Oamaru.
Since the visitor season began in November, the house at 56 Eden St has been open to the public from 2pm to 4pm each day. Custodian Lynley Caldwell hosts visitors Monday to Saturday and about 20 volunteers take turns on Sundays.
Miss Caldwell said the number of arrivals often began slowly, then built up throughout the summer.
They were invited to write in a visitors’ book. One recently wrote: “How fantastic that this place has been preserved and we can visit”.
The house, which had been a rental property for many years, was bought by then New Zealand Historic Places Trust chief executive Bill Tramposch and his wife Peggy, who had it “reframed” with the author’s blessing.
Frame died in 2004, before the house was taken over by a not-for-profit trust and opened as a destination the following year.
Frame lived there with her parents and siblings from 1931 to 1943. The setting was incorporated into her first novel, Owls Do Cry, and it features strongly in her autobiography. Visitors can listen to a recording of Frame reading an relevant excerpt.
The house and section have been laid out in a style similar to how they would have been during the Frame family’s occupation.
Visitors are charged $5 for a guided tour and to spend time there. Frame’s works are also available to buy.