The picturesque Vogel House, once home to Sir Robert Muldoon, has become the subject of a legal dispute as its original owners’ grandsons fight a government decision to hand it over to two Wellington charities.
The stately home in Lower Hutt was gifted to the Crown in 1965 by Jocelyn Vogel, for whom it was built in 1933, and was used as the official Wellington home of prime ministers from 1977 to 1990.
Now the Crown has decided it no longer needs the estate, which has a rateable value of $4.1 million, and has decided to allocate half each to the beneficiaries of her will, the Wellington SPCA and the Vogel Charitable Trust, which gives grants to the poor and needy in Lower Hutt.
I’m sad that Vogel House is no longer a ministerial house. It has such history.
I’d been out there many times in the 1990s, and enjoyed great hospitality there. The grounds are huge and beautiful.
But Tim and Geoff Vogel, grandsons of Jocelyn and her husband James, say their grandparents always meant to leave it to them, and are contesting the commissioner’s decision.
“It was a family property gifted by the Vogel family to the Crown. It should go back to the Vogel family,” Tim Vogel, a lawyer who played cricket for Wellington in the 1980s, said on Wednesday.
Only if that is what the Vogel Family specified at the time of gifting.
“It bears the family name, and we spoke to our grandparents over the 50-odd years about the gifting and it was clear to us that our grandparents wanted the property, in the event the Crown no longer needed it, to be gifted back to family.”
If that is what they wanted, they should have said so in the will.