Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Scandal-hit family own lots of NZ farmland

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Europe's super-rich Rausing family, which hit headlines this week with the sudden death of Eva Rausing, have been one of the biggest farmland purchasers in New Zealand.

Hans Kristian Rausing, one of Britain's wealthiest men, was arrested after his wife was found dead in their luxury London home.

Eva Rausing, 48, was discovered by detectives after her husband's arrest in south London for drug possession.

British newspapers reported how officers went to the couple's five-storey Georgian town house in Cadogan Place, Chelsea, and found her body in an upstairs bedroom. Police said they were treating her death as unexplained.

Foreign farm investors coming to New Zealand have been controversial since the Crafar farm deal but the Rausings bought many farms around Gisborne and Canterbury.

The Rausings are a Swedish-born British-resident family whose wealth was made from milk cartons via Tetra Pak, invented by the company founded by Rueben Rausing in Sweden in 1950.

Rueben's sons, Hans and Gad, co-owned the company when they moved to Britain in 1983. In 1995, aged 70, Hans sold his 50 per cent share to his brother for about $4.4 billion.

His daughters Lisbet and Sigrid have been actively involved in managing the family fortune and it was Lisbet who was involved with the New Zealand farm purchases.

The Rausings appeared in the Sunday Times as the sixth-richest family with a fortune estimated at £5.4 billion.

Since 1999, their New Zealand-registered The Ingleby Company Ltd has bought about 17 farms, some later amalgamated, one sold, and another part sold.

In 2007, The Ingleby Company got approval from what was the Overseas Investment Authority to buy the Matahiia Station, which is on 1118ha of freehold and 41ha of leasehold at Matahiia Rd, Ruatoria, Gisborne, for $8,074,168 from New Zealander Jeremy Kenneth Williams. The property adjoins conservation land. It bought the land for intensive sheep and cattle finishing, producing meat and wool for domestic and overseas consumption.

The Ingleby Co got approval the same year to buy the 595ha Katoa Station, also in Gisborne. In March 2004 they bought 272ha at Geraldine, South Canterbury. In December 2002, they bought 1951ha at Waitahaia Station and Ruatahunga Station, Tokomaru Bay, Gisborne, and in November 2001 the 5381ha Puketoro Station in Ihungia Rd, Te Puia, Gisborne.

- NZ Herald

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