Fay buys Mahia farm after subdivision bid fails

MARTY SHARPE
Last updated 05:00 06/11/2012

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A Mahia farm that has been in the same family for 128 years has been sold to a company run by Sir Michael Fay and David Richwhite after a failed bid by the family to subdivide coastal land.

Pongaroa Station was sold to Baytown Investments last month. The 936-hectare sheep and beef farm was owned by George Ormond, who made an unsuccessful attempt last year to develop a 35-section coastal subdivision to repay debt and develop a dairy operation.

It is understood that Mr Ormond has retained about 100ha, including the coastal land he wanted to subdivide and the farm homestead, in which he and his family live.

The sale price is not known, but the rateable value of the full 936ha was put at $5.47 million in August.

Mr Ormond's application to subdivide was declined by hearings commissioners in February. It was opposed by many members of Mr Ormond's iwi, Rongomaiwahine, and by Wairoa District Council.

Mr Ormond's ancestors have run a sheep and beef farm on the land since 1884. He is the 17th-generation descendant of the first Maori inhabitant, and had been guardian of the farm for 25 years.

He told the hearing that "if this subdivision is not approved, the farm or part of it will likely be sold to foreign ownership".

Mr Ormond appealed against the decision to the Environment Court, but the appeal was withdrawn in September "due to a dramatic change of circumstances".

It is understood that the farm will used to support dairy farms owned in New Zealand by Sir Michael or Baytown.

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- The Dominion Post

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