The Auckland Regional Council has bought David Tua’s 52ha at the southern end of Pakiri Beach for $10.25 million.
A large portion of the Tua land is low-lying, with a sharply rising backdrop of pasture. It was previously owned by local farmer John Matheson, who won consent in 2001 to subdivide it into 6 lots before selling to Tuaman Inc, the heavyweight boxer’s trading company, for $7.5 million.
Mr Tua, his manager Kevin Barry and manager of his financial affairs, Martin Pugh, intended to turn the property into a retreat, but instead their falling out ended in bitter High Court litigation.
Next to Arrigato block
The property adjoins another controversial block, the 149ha Arrigato property running up the ridge at the very end of the beach, which Ian Gillespie fought to get consent to divide into 14 titles before selling it to Kitchener Homes Ltd (Susan Hamilton & Kim Spencer).
Mr Gillespie bought 169ha for $3.2 million in 1995, sold some then sold the balance to Kitchener in 2000. Under Mr Spencer’s control there have been frequent disputes â€“ one over allegations that he illegally cut a road down the hillside.
Abatement notices were considered in 2002 to get a proper planting programme under way after the initial planting failed through lack of care. The Auckland Regional Council issued an abatement notice in June for the same reason, but in the meantime Mr Spencer has become embroiled in allegations of kidnapping against former business partner Richard Kroon â€“ who was to have been involved in several rural & coastal developments with Mr Spencer.
“Quintessential kiwi beach experience,” says Lee
Auckland Regional Council chairman Mike Lee said the Tua land would make a spectacular regional park: “Pakiri Beach is well known & loved by Aucklanders already. A regional park on this part of the coast will provide visitors with a unique opportunity to access a truly spectacular ocean beachfront â€“ so they can enjoy what can only be described as a quintessential kiwi beach experience.
“The ARC has been in a race against time to secure outstanding coastal landscapes for future generations. This, we believe, given the price of coastal land, is our last chance to secure Pakiri Beach. The property is stunningly beautiful & of national importance.”
Council parks & heritage committee chairman Sandra Coney said the 900m of sandy coastal foreshore and stands of mature coastal pohutukawa trees along the dunes were inspiring. She also acknowledged the significance of the land to Ngati Manuhiri.
“The ARC has long been interested in having a park along this part of the east coast and is extremely pleased to have secured this property for the people of Auckland and protected it from potential development. Although a full range of park facilities will not be developed for some years, people will be able to walk across the land from 22 December, when ownership transfers to the ARC.”
Mr Tua welcomed the regional council’s purchase: “This land holds a special place in my heart. As a people person, I am pleased that the general public of New Zealand will be able to enjoy the property, for generations to come. When I heard it was the ARC that wanted to purchase the property, it was an assurance to me that it was OK to let go.”
Cllr Christine Rose, deputy chairman of the regional council and of he parks & heritage committee, and Rodney representative on the council, said the relationship between Mr Tua and the new park would be acknowledged in some appropriate way. She said the land would be suitable for picnicking & walking.
The new acquisition will be the council’s 25th regional park. Its previous 3 additions were 247ha at Waipiro Bay, South Head, on the South Kaipara Peninsula, in October; 187ha at Waitawa, near Kawakawa Bay, in September 2004; and an 843ha property, Atiu Creek Farm on the Tapora Peninsula near Wellsford, which was gifted to the council by its owners in October.
28 October 2005: Councils buy South Kaipara farm for regional park
4 October 2005: 843ha Kaipara farm gifted to ARC
18 February 2001: Pakiri beachfront subdivision approved
18 February 2001: Coherent planning explanation hard to come by