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Six years ago, William Cotterill decided that the rambling Canterbury estate Gunyah was the perfect place from which to follow his passion for restoring and amassing an extraordinary collection of colonial antiques.

Despite its auspicious beginnings as home to the son of the former Prime Minister, Sir John Hall, the Edwardian homestead near Darfield had suffered years of neglect. William, with his Italian wife Simonetta Ferrari, took up the lifetime task of tackling the drains and the woodworm, and restoring Gunyah to its former glory. He also developed it as a home stay business and filled it with the largest private collection of colonial antiques in New Zealand.

William Cotterill takes Spectrum for a tour of the estate and talks about his life since packing in his job as a film editor for TVNZ. Any spare time he has devoted to researching and writing the lavishly illustrated Furniture of the New Zealand Colonial Era.