“Kaingahou” is a Maori word that translates to “New Home” (kainga means ‘home’ and hou means ‘new’). The name was chosen by the first owner of the property, Ditlev Gothardt Monrad, who was the grandson of Bishop DG Monrad, a significant figure in the history of Denmark and the Manawatu district. Ditlev was forced to sell the family farm due to ill health, and built Kaingahou for his wife and family in 1903/04. The builder was a local master builder Abraham du Fresne, a Dane of French Huguenot ancestry who was part of the local Scandinavian community. It has been speculated that Monrad, having a keen interest in architecture, designed the house himself or in conjunction with du Fresne.
Ditlev Monrad died of tuberculosis in 1908 and his widow, Kamma, sold the property to George Kendall in 1913. Kendall died in 1930, and his oldest, unmarried daughter remained in the house until 1973. During the following decade the house changed hands several times and was purchased in 1983 by Bodil and Gunner Petersen, also Danish.
Eager to ensure the character of the historic house was preserved into the future, the Petersens negotiated with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust in 1992 for a Covenant to be placed on the house. This was the first Covenant to be placed on a heritage site in Palmerston North and prevents alteration of some of the house’s most historically significant features whilst allowing alteration of the interior with the consent of the Trust. The house was again sold in 2002 to K A Lynch and W J Drake and the new owners had the interior altered slightly to accommodate a bed and breakfast suite. The house has since been purchased by new owners and is now proudly owned by Tedy and Monica.