US pair buy more peace and quiet

Last updated 05:00 06/12/2013
matthew monahan
Inflection CEO Matthew Monahan.
Brian Monahan
FORESTRY PLANS: Silicon Valley entrepreneur Brian Monahan

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The American internet entrepreneurs who decided to move to a quiet rural valley outside Upper Hutt now own another 4 square kilometres of it.

Matthew and Brian Monahan, co-founders of multimillion-dollar Silicon Valley company Inflection, have been given Overseas Investment Office approval to buy 445 hectares of exotic forest and empty land off Whitemans Valley Rd at a cost of $2.9 million.

The acquisition substantially increases the size of their holdings in the valley, which include four other land parcels and five houses, bought over the past two years. Much of the forestry land was bought from the Mangaroa Timber Company.

Matthew Monahan said he was interested in improving forestry techniques in New Zealand and had decided to buy the blocks for research.

It was exciting to get consent from the OIO.

"The forestry block caught our attention due to the innovative work of its previous owners around reducing wood waste and lowering the carbon footprint during harvest," he said.

"We plan to provide new resources to the project in hopes of creating new models for sustainable forestry and the application of permaculture principles."

Permaculture is a theory of sustainable agriculture based on managing productive land in the same way as an ecosystem.

"New Zealand forestry currently struggles with post-harvest erosion, high rates of wasted wood, and significant associated petrol costs," Mr Monahan said.

He hoped work to improve techniques would benefit New Zealand.

The brothers, both in their 20s, sold their California-based records search service for US$100 million (NZ$121.9m) in 2011.

Inflection continues to develop new products, but the brothers invested some of their wealth in New Zealand and make frequent visits.

They have long been fans of the Wellington region and chose Whitemans Valley because of its proximity to the city and similarity to their Midwestern upbringing.

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- The Dominion Post

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