Matamau was originally a standard class 7 station and consisted of a lean-to shelter with one entrance, a corrugated-iron roof and vertical board-and-batten cladding. It is attached to the larger tablet room, added later. This building is a gabled structure, little more than shelter shed. It has a corrugated-iron roof and rusticated weatherboard cladding, and a central entrance flanked by a window and another smaller aperture. There is another four-pane shelter on the north elevation, with a stove and chimney in this part of the building. On the other side of the shelter shed are a small lobby and toilet.
The line reached Matamau from Napier in June 1884 and the station building, a simple shelter shed, was finished earlier that year. The station building was extended as much again when a tablet signalling system was installed early in the 20th century. It was in place by 1914, when the provision of a ladies' waiting room was being mooted. The following year a toilet window was installed. There has never been direct road access to the building and it was not until 1949 that a parcels shed - the lamp room from Makotuku - was provided. The station is now no longer used and all yard track has been removed.
Matamau is not an ostentatious building but one of much architectural importance. It contains, as a distinct part, one of very few remaining examples of a Vogel class 7 station building. Of these, just three such board-and-batten-clad shelter sheds remain. It is also, with Pukerangi, one of the few buildings left designed as tablet stations. Some significance is derived from the extension of the building for its signalling function.
Matamau's historical importance is not great, but like any other rural station its local worth should not be underestimated. The simplicity of its operation - no road access and limited goods-handling facilities - is a good reminder of the range of business carried out by the railway. Stations specifically adapted for tablet signalling are now very rare and Matamau is an important example.
Townscape / Landscape Value
In a broad cutting, Matamau has a very modest impact on the rural landscape.
Matamau Ormondville Rd, Matamau
Class 7 tablet station
Palmerston North Gisborne Line
Landscape / Townscape Setting
In the midst of farmland, with few other buildings in the vicinity