Maori land sold for golf course

Last updated 12:35 16/10/2012

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A Northland hapu has sold a swathe of beachfront Northland land to a multi-millionaire Los Angeles fund manager who plans to build a championship golf course on the area.

Te Uri o Hau has sold 230 hectares of their 616 hectare forest at Te Arai beach, near Mangawhai, to American financier and golf enthusiast Ric Kayne.

Kayne, the founder and CEO of Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, an $18 billion alternative asset manager, has commissioned renowned golf course architect Tom Doak to design the championship links-style course.

Kayne said Doak, the designer of the internationally rated Cape Kidnappers course in Hawke's Bay, aimed to create a similar-level course at Mangawhai.

Doak was known as a "minimalist" designer who used the natural lay of the land and none of the course would be visible from the beach.

Te Uri o Hau received the forest as an asset in its 2002 Treaty of Waitangi settlement. The deal was signed off by the Overseas Investment Office who imposed a number of conditions including replanting of the area with native trees and establishment of a trust for protection for nesting shorebirds.

The land is currently a commercial pine plantation but trees have already been felled to make way for the course.

Te Uri o Hau said the development of the course would add about $5.9 million to the local economy and the complex would create about 30 jobs.

Anticipating a backlash, Te Uri o Hau released a set of questions and answers including "why is Te Uri o Hau selling its land to a wealthy foreigner?".

The hapu said it offered the land sale to the Department of Conservation and the Auckland Regional Council, who both declined it.

The sale of one third of Mangawhai North forest enabled the hapu to go on with a development where it would sell 45 one or two acre blocks, with 150 hectares possibly going to a public agency.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly put the value of Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors' assets under management at $5 billion. The correct figure is $18b.

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