David Stewart swaps beach for avos

By John Cousins

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David Stewart and partner Heather are bidding farewell to one of New Zealand's most desirable places to live.Photo/John Borren
David Stewart and partner Heather are bidding farewell to one of New Zealand's most desirable places to live.Photo/John Borren

Tauranga's former deputy mayor David Stewart is swapping his Mount Maunganui beachfront lifestyle to become an avocado orchardist at Katikati.

The man who carved out an 18-year career in local government politics has sold his impeccable home on Marine Parade's golden mile to a Waikato farming couple.

Mr Stewart, 56, was forced to reappraise his life when he and six other Tauranga City councillors were dumped by voters at last year's local body election.

"I always liked the idea of going rural and this property ticks all the boxes; it gives me something to do," he said.

He and partner Heather looked at more than 20 rural properties before settling on the orchard tucked under the Kaimais with panoramic harbour views to Mauao.

The purchase was conditional on the sale of their Mount property, leading to the Stewarts accepting a "very attractive" offer for 42 Marine Parade.

It was set down to be auctioned this Wednesday by Bayleys.

He confessed to experiencing an attack of nerves on the night before they signed the sale agreement for their Mount home.

"After being here for 20 years it will be quite a wrench.

"I love the Mount - there is certainly something about it."

Mr Stewart said he had been toying with the idea of shifting for several years and felt good about owning a 2.2ha orchard, producing export-quality fruit.

"It is like starting life again. It is the second half of my life and I am doing something new and exciting.

"It will be quite a learning curve." The orchard is a short distance north of Katikati and has a 1990s home, which they intend to renovate.

Mr Stewart, who is still an elected member of the Bay of Plenty District Health Board, said he had no ambition to re-enter local government politics.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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