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Millionaires' coastal haven almost sold out

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  • Millionaires' coastal haven almost sold out

    Millionaires' coastal haven almost sold out

    15.10.05
    By Anne Gibson

    New Zealand's most exclusive coastal subdivision on a farmland strip in the Bay of Islands is almost sold out, following a millionaires' grab for a slice of paradise.

    Only four lots remain in the breathtaking seafront gated block on part of the 1133ha Mataka Station, which is virtually surrounded by sea and with four private, white-sand, pohutukawa-fringed beaches.

    Calls in 1999 for the Government to buy the historic station failed when it was put on the market by evangelist Bill Subritzky, who had opened it up for Youth for Christ summer camps for 15 years.

    Instead, it has now been carved up as the luxury hideaway for the conservation-minded wealthy.

    The Mataka subdivision was the dream of Auckland businessman Bill Birnie, formerly of Fay Richwhite, and his barrister associate Evan Williams.

    Part of the beachfront station has been subdivided into more than 20 sections ranging from 20ha to 57ha, set on the northern fringe of the Bay of Islands, just outside Kerikeri.

    The latest buyer is one of New Zealand's richest and most private men, Peter Cooper, and his overseas associates who sought Government approval to buy one of Mataka's largest lots: the 55ha blocks at Rangihoua Rd on the Purerua Peninsula for $3,937,500.

    Kaitaia-born Mr Cooper is the developer who returned from the United States about three years ago to snare the lucrative $350 million contract on the Britomart development, restoring the single largest group of historic waterfront buildings in Auckland.

    Overseas Investment Commission approval was needed for his farmland purchase because although Mr Cooper owns 60 per cent of the buying entity - MLP LLC - his associates who own the remaining 40 per cent are American and British.

    Rules also require that sales of 0.2ha or more foreshore land to foreigners go before the commission.

    In the past two years, Mataka's master plan has drawn buyers by promising them a haven - with a convenient helipad, waterfront access and access to the luxury Mataka Bay Lodge.

    Privacy of the blocks of land, the area's remoteness, high-security from its gated entranceway, on-site staff patrolling with full radio coverage and strict rules to ensure only high-quality developments were built have been drawcards which tempted people to fork out well over $1 million each.

    Neil Prentice of Bayleys Real Estate said yesterday the sections went for $1.4 million to $3 million.

    "The property in its entirety is still continuing to be run as a sheep and cattle station," he said. "Owners have access to all the key features of the station which include four beaches, more than 10km of coastline, Mt Mataka and countryside views, conservation areas which are home to several hundred Kiwis, walking, horse-riding and biking tracks."

    Mataka has been designed so retreats built there ensure the utmost privacy. The houses are being spread over a 16km coastline so they all enjoy uninterrupted views with few signs of habitation visible from any one place.

    Owners can initially only build one house, but after three years can put up a caretaker or guest cottage.

    To preserve rare wildlife, cats must be kept off the land.

    But residents can keep up to two dogs and "approved domesticated birds".

    Iwi access is written into the rules. Local Maori families "who have many centuries' association with the property" have been granted rights of access twice a year to defined destinations. Public access during daylight hours has been granted within a valley at Oihi Bay.

    The station is said to be one of the most important kiwi preserves in New Zealand.

    Mr Cooper already owns the exclusive 338ha Mountain Landing farm which adjoins Mataka. In February, he got resource consent to create a 39-lot subdivision there.

    The history - and future - of Mataka Station:

    * Site of early meetings between Maori and Europeans initiated by chiefs like Hongi Hika, Te Pahi and Ruatara.
    * First missionaries landed at Mataka's Oihi Bay on Christmas Day, 1814.
    * Historically significant stone icon Marsden Cross on a 40ha reserve adjoining station.
    * Mataka is Maori for "shining face" because of mirror-like effects of sun on land.
    * Coastal farmland now snapped up for millionaires' high-security hideaway.

    News source
    "There's one way to find out if a man is honest-ask him. If he says 'yes,' you know he is a crook." Groucho Marx
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