Project Puhinui: Solo Session five – Puhinui Homestead, Howick Historical Village.

Puhinui HomesteadOn March 29th of this year, it was Marlene’s turn to conduct a solo overnight stay at Puhinui Homestead, one of our favourite, and possibly one of the more ‘active’ of any of the locations we have thus far investigated in this country.

On this night Mark, Barbara, Sam and Lisa also spent the night sleeping / investigating solo within the village. Each team member staying alone in one of the many other buildings. Sam in the little Church House, Barbara in the Court House, Lisa in Eckford’s Maraetai Homestead and Mark in Johnson’s Cottage (Children’s toy room).

Marlene had admitted she was nervous prior to going in, but stuck it out till the morning. We are proud of her for taking herself beyond her personal safety zones and pushing her limits in her search for answers. She could have given up and left the house at any moment, yet stayed strong, without any sleep and fought through her fear of what was going on around her throughout the night. We have all experienced things we could not find explanations for in this building. Marlene’s session was to prove no different. What follows is Marlene’s personal report of her time alone in Puhinui Homestead.

Howick Historical Village – Lloyd Elsmore Park, Bells Rd, Pakuranga, Auckland.

Thursday 29 March, 2018.

It was a clear night.

No major wind.

Temp ranged between 19-21 inside degrees throughout.

Full moon.

There are many stories reported by many different individuals over a large span of time. There are reports of people hearing footsteps in the house when no one else is inside the house; footsteps heard down the corridor and rooms upstairs.

A lady wearing a white dress has apparently been seen on the stairs. The sound of objects being moved and or dragged across the wooden floors.

The caretaker had at one point experienced a standing mirror being swayed back and forth by itself while he was in the process of trying to clean it.

Team members have heard voices in the house on their overnight investigations; mainly that of a male voice.

One member even reported being touched while she was sleeping and thought that the duvet she was sleeping under may have been moved. Another member who stayed overnight was woken up by a sound of something being thrown from upstairs, which later was confirmed to be that of a torch that seemingly moved with force, a torch that was initially placed on a chair upstairs.

It is a very old historical building that has kept much of its “Victorian style” (in my opinion) type of décor. Very wooden interior and exterior. Everything from the floors to the furniture, walls etc, just about the whole building is almost made out of dark solid heavy wood. It is clear that despite its age it has been taken very well care off, as everything is basically still in mint condition. One cannot help feel the energy lingering in the air when one enters the building. It truly takes you back in time.

I have been in the building numerous times before I did the solo vigil. Honestly, I have never really felt “affected” by the building in any way shape or form before. However at the start of my solo investigation, no matter how grounded or tactical I tried to stay, I felt incredibly overwhelmed. I felt I was not in control of what was going to happen and that the night had indeed something in store for me.

The mood changed almost half way through my solo investigation. I began to feel uncomfortable, I felt like I was being watched constantly, even ‘stared down’, if you will. That being said, I still tried to stay rational, as I expected this to happen, I tried my best to stay sensible and calm.

For this particular night there were a few areas of interest that stood out to me.One being the kitchen. During the night I heard odd noises and sounds of movement coming from there. The noises were so profound I was almost certain it was going to trip the alarm at one point. The dining room on your left as you enter the house also stood out to me earlier in the night. This is where I saw an unusual light phenomenon shoot across a portrait that was hanging over the fire place. It was almost ‘mystical’ like, but thick, white and solid. One could not see through it.

The atmosphere in the main living room where I slept almost changed instantaneously. It honestly felt as if the air was sucked out of the room and there was no gravity. This left me with some sort of “pressure” feeling within my body. It honestly felt like all the blood was rushing through my veins; going straight to my head. I have never experienced a feeling like that before.

I had multiple things occur I could not explain at the time. More than anything; every time I thought something had happened, I tried to write it off as my imagination; or even hysterical paranoia and even tiredness. Yet to my core, I feel it was none of the above.

  • A mist – like light shooting up from the floor diagonally across the portrait hanging over the fire place.
  • As I sat on my mattress in the main living room, I could clearly hear what sounded like footsteps directly above my head upstairs.

(Worthy of Note: The clear and loud sounds of ”footsteps walking on wooden floorboards” has been heard from all other team members that have conducted solo overnight investigations in this building also – Mark Wallbank)

  • I heard movement sounds coming from the kitchen, as if someone was moving around in there.
  • While seated on my mattress, one of the candles fell down from the piano. Very logical possible explanation for it, but at the time I truly felt there was someone in the room with me. This also coincidently happened after I asked who ever was in the house to play me something on the piano.
  • On the video monitors that were situated right in front of me, allowing me to view the rooms upstairs, I was at one point convinced I saw something bright yellow, or orange slither across the floor on one of the screens. As I moved closer towards the screen to take a better look in which room I thought I saw it, I realised it was indeed in the main living room area where my bed was made up and that this “slithering” happened right in front of my mattress. Yet nothing was captured / recorded on camera.

Last but not least, (I can only give my team members my word on this, as I have no way of proving it) I did not read the full team’s previous reports / stories about the Puhinui house before my Solo. The point being I did not want it to affect or contaminate my experiences or what I could potentially feel, see or hear.

Having stayed up the entire night; it was around 4 am and I was sitting on my mattress staring at the right door corridor entrance of the living room.

I turned just for a minute to my right to get my phone charger that was next to my bed on the floor. As I turned back I thought I saw something run past the door entrance, at an incredible speed.

The only way I can explain it; it’s as if it was the back end of a dress blowing, that caught my eye. I was CERTAIN I saw what looked like a young girl running past and it was her running motion that caused her dress to create this flowing – like motion.

I immediately told myself this was indeed my eyes playing tricks on me, as I had by that point been awake for almost 26 hours straight.

It was only the following morning when I had retold this information over to the first team member to arrive at the house, Sam, that he informed me about the apparent sightings of a woman dressed in white that has been seen on the stairs. I admit I started to cry on hearing that. Not entirely sure why. Maybe cause I was mentally and physically tired? Maybe because this proved something to myself that I was indeed experiencing “things” in the house, or maybe because what happened would have been just so unbelievable that no one would truly have believed me.

I did not expect the night to go the way it did.  found that the immense fear I was experiencing was enough to have caused me to make multiple mistakes.

I did not get to use all the equipment I had brought with me either; I had such high hopes of making this one of my best investigations ever.

Unfortunately, panic set in. This made it almost impossible for me to stay calm and level headed.

I think back to that solo overnight so many times and how I could have done things better. Personally I felt it was a success in the sense of, when I first left that house the next morning to go home, there was nothing no one could say or do to convince me that there was not something going on in that house.

It is an experience that will forever stay personal to me and I wish there were other members present to have experienced what I did. I wish some of the cameras would have caught what I experienced too. It did make me feel a bit disappointed and frustrated and hence I left the house that morning with more questions than answers really.

I totally fully understand and get it now, why it is so important that one must experience a solo overnight investigation. However, after my experience, I can honestly say, that was my first and my last. (Yeah Right – Mark)  I don’t think I am cut out to do solo investigations. The fear cluttered my head and I couldn’t investigate properly. We had cameras set up all over the house this time, YET still we could not capture anything. In my opinion there is nothing more or better we could have done at the time. I wish I felt the same about myself though.

After my time in the Puhinui house, I can honestly admit I can never look at that house the same way I did before the investigation. This house has shocked me. Probably most likely because I honestly did not expect (in my opinion) to experience so much activity. There is no doubt in my mind, there is something still residing in that house. What it is, or may be, residual or not, I can’t say. However I am now convinced of its authenticity and the tales / stories / rumours that I have heard.


  1. Andrew

    Interesting…way back in 1985/6 when I was at school there was a Maori boy up the road who told me him and his brother used to go eeling in the creek at the back of the historical village, one morning around 4-5am or so they were eeling and a “ghost lady in a white dress” was standing at the back of that house!!, his brother ran and he ran too crying. We were around 13 when he told me that story and kids tell all sorts of stories but it really stuck in my head all these 30 odd years and he seemed genuinely frightened when he told me. I’m sceptical but open minded and the “dress” seems to be a common theme in relation to this house.

  2. Gina G.

    My grandmother lived inside Puhinui quarry and as a child we would go there every weekend and school holidays my whole childhood. This house and who ever was renting at the time (there were a few) were my Nanas closest neighbour along with the hippies that lived in the small adjacent house which I understood to be the original houses workers residence. The property was originally 1000 hectares. I was around four years old when I saw my first ghost in that house and I still remember it to this day. The ghost I saw was a little girl around four years old like me! She seemed mischievous and wanting to play and ran by almost coaxing me to engage with her and yes she was wearing a white dress. It scared the daylights out of me. Once I realised that what I was sensing was ghosts that house became very busy for me indeed and I did not like to be in any part of it alone. You indeed are very brave.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *