Rumours that Sir Peter Jackson has bought Wellington's former Vatican embassy

The former Apostolic Nunciature in Queens Dr, Lyall Bay is rumoured to have been bought by Sir Peter Jackson.
ROSS GIBLIN/FAIRFAX NZ

The former Apostolic Nunciature in Queens Dr, Lyall Bay is rumoured to have been bought by Sir Peter Jackson.

Has the former Vatican embassy in Wellington been snapped up by Sir Peter Jackson?

The large brick building, which is located off Queens Dr in Lyall Bay, is surrounded by high trees and gates with signs warning people not to enter.

On Tuesday a neighbour said rumours were circulating that Jackson was the new owner.

The man had seen a signed Weta van going up the driveway, as well as a shiny black van with tinted windows, and a state of the art motorbike "like something out of Kill Bill" in recent months.

The last reported sale of the property was on November 6, 2012 when it was sold by 'The Holy See' to Wellington lawyer Michael Stephens for $3.15 million, slightly under its rateable value.

Stephens, whose website describes him  as one of New Zealand's leading film and entertainment lawyers, has previously worked for Jackson.

Sir Peter Jackson
MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS

Sir Peter Jackson

He was among the names listed on city records when Jackson bought a $20 million penthouse in Manhattan, New York.

He is also on the title of Jackson's Wairarapa home.

Asked on Tuesday whether Jackson had bought the Lyall Bay property, Stephens said he "absolutely" could not comment, and that the purchase was subject to a confidentiality agreement.

Archbishop Martin Krebs, apostolic nuncio to New Zealand, said the Vatican embassy moved from the Queens Dr building to Onslow Rd in March this year.

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But, because details of the sale were subject to anonymity, he could not comment further.

The building had been the Vatican Embassy in New Zealand since 1973 and prior to that had various uses, including housing Polish orphans.

A neighbour, who had visited the building when it was the Vatican embassy, said the Catholic church moved out earlier in 2015.

"I would say they are glad to get out because it is a pile of rotten old bricks."

Inside was a large drawing room that looked out over an "English country house" style garden.

The property had old stables and a tower out the back, he said.

It is not known what Jackson's plans for the building might be.

A spokesman for Jackson did not return calls on Tuesday.

 - Stuff

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