Ex-Mark Hotchin mansion goes up in smoke
Mark Hotchin's former Waiheke mansion has gone up in flames.
The multi-million dollar mansion, previously owned by former Hanover finance director Mark Hotchin, was burnt to the ground and demolished by firefighters on Saturday afternoon.
The beachfront property sold for $14.25m in 2014. On Saturday it was set alight as part of a Fire Service training exercise.
Fire fighters conducted interior drills before the house was finally set alight in the afternoon.
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The house, at 46a Matapana Road in Boatshed Bay, was previously owned by Hotchin through a trust known as KA 3.
The five-bedroom home has a boat ramp, spa pool and tennis court and has a rateable value of $13m, of which the land is worth $12m.
It was the most expensive piece of real estate ever sold on Waiheke Island when it was bought in 2005 for $13.8 million.
The current owners, who are planning to build a new home on the site, asked if the Fire Service wanted to use the existing house as a live fire training exercise.
Waiheke station officer Peter Rowe said the offer to train on the house was "pretty phenomenal".
"We're incredibly fortunate that they've made it available to us."
Rowe said fire crews have spent the past month arranging permits and consents to be able to burn down the house.
A fire truck is being taken over on the ferry from Auckland and 20 firefighters - mostly Waiheke volunteers - will be given the chance to test their skills when it is set on fire at 8am.
"There's a huge number of different aspects that we'll use for the training," Rowe said.
"We go into fire development, fire science, different types of fire fighting techniques, using a breathing apparatus, and also the opportunity to do a little bit on fire investigation as well."
Rowe said it was a unique opportunity to train at such an impressive location.
"It's quite rare, particularly to have a more modern house like this one is. Generally we get offered very old villas in the country areas that we actually have to spend time and effort preparing before we can get realistic fire conditions."