Ngai Tahu lost $500,000 in land sale

Last updated 09:51 19/01/2011

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Ngai Tahu Property lost half a million dollars in the sale of Rakanui Station to Californian couple Chris Gough and Margaret Hyde, according to Quotable Value New Zealand figures.

A sales history of the property shows the then 1348 hectare Rakanui station, 10 kilometres south of Kaikoura, was sold in 2005 for a gross price of $8 million.

Late last year, the reported 1345ha was sold to the American couple for $7.5m by Ngai Tahu Property Ltd.

The couple say they do not plan to live on the property, instead hoping to regrow native bush and visit to surf in Kaikoura.

Their application to buy the property was approved by the Overseas Investment Office late last year.

Ngai Tahu Property had planned to turn Rakanui into a residential farm park containing 64 sections of 0.5ha each.

A 2007 hearing on the proposal was granted despite some opposition.

Ngai Tahu Property general manager Tony Sewell said the company decided to sell the land because it was moving out of large-scale lifestyle developments.

The property had changed hands in 2004 for $2.3m, and in 1983 for just $117,500.

Mr Gough and Ms Hyde plan to keep Rakanui private for the family, combining it with neighbouring 438ha station Kahutara Downs, which they bought from a Christchurch syndicate for $3.48m.

They have three children and are expecting a fourth.

Speaking to The Kaikoura Star from his home in Santa Monica, California, Mr Gough said the couple had visited New Zealand and were attracted to Kaikoura's "mesmerising, obvious beauty".

"It is very similar to where we live here in California, minus all the people. We find it very relaxing and comforting.

"Serendipity led us there."

They had been to their new property "a few times" but would not move there, he said. However, the family wanted to get involved in the Kaikoura community.

"We have no immediate plans except to regrow the indigenous bush and to work with DOC. We haven't got to the next step yet. Details will be forthcoming."

An energy trader, Mr Gough said he wanted to move away from farming and "participate in your carbon scheme".

"It's a good investment. We plan to preserve the land and have no plans of expansion. We'll keep it as it is."

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- Kaikoura Star

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