The biggest rural property to come on the market in the North Island is expected to set a record price for a farm sale in New Zealand.
The 13,800 hectare Lochinver Station, in the Taupo region, has been put up for tender by one of New Zealand's largest privately owned companies, Stevenson Group Limited, which has owned it for more than half a century.
The property has a Capital Valuation for rating purposes of $70.6 million, placing it at the top of the most highly valued stations in the country.
Its sale price will far exceed the biggest farm transactions undertaken in the past five years, which include St James Station in Canterbury for $45 million, a rural Dipton property in Southland that sold for $33 million and Mt Pember Station in North Canterbury, which sold recently for almost $30 million.
Located on the Rangitaiki Plains, 32km from Taupo and 92km from Napier, Lochinver Station is a sheep and beef breeding and finishing and dairy support station.
The station also has three airstrips, a lake, a recreational hunting block, 22 houses for the families of 20 permanent staff, a staff recreation centre and school, as well as cattle yards, woolsheds and multiple other farm buildings.
Lochinver Station is for sale by tender, closing on February 27, 2014, and is being marketed by Bayleys' managing director Mike Bayley, corporate rural salesman David Gubb and Bayleys Taihape's Peter Stratton.
"While, in terms of land size, there have been larger farms sold in the South Island, this would undoubtedly be the most productive freehold rural property ever put up for sale, with a carrying capacity in excess of 100,000 stock units," said Mr Bayley.
"Lochinver is widely recognised as one of the most prestigious stations in the country because it has been meticulously developed and superbly maintained and managed. Given its size, value and further development potential, it represents an unprecedented, one-off opportunity to purchase an iconic and internationally renowned station."
Stevenson Group chief executive Mark Franklin said the company was rebalancing its investment portfolio and Lochinver Station was being put up for sale as part of that process.
"Lochinver Station no longer fits with Stevenson's future strategic direction which will be focused on the core businesses of mining, quarrying, concrete and associated investments around these industries."
The property was bought in 1958 by the late Sir William Stevenson, founder of Stevenson Group, after prompting from his son, the late Ross Stevenson, who had observed the property during his hunting expeditions in the area.
"Mining was very much a six months a year industry in those days and the company's mining machinery was put to good use over the winter months breaking the land in," Mr Franklin said. "It was a testament to Ross' vision, tenacity and innovative approach to projects that the land was transformed within a relatively short space of time into a very profitable farm."
He says the station's favourable, predominantly easy contour - with more than 60 per cent of the farmed area relatively flat - has helped with its development and management.
"This provides flexibility for a variety of farming activities including sheep and beef finishing, stud, deer, dairying and dairy support and would enable a new owner to maximize profit across several revenue streams.
"The property also usually experiences a very good spring with reliable summer and autumn growing conditions, illustrated during last summer's drought when we provided grazing support for other farms."
This year the farm wintered approximately 60,000 sheep, 3500 beef cattle, and 2300 dairy support cattle. Franklin says carrying capacity is expected to increase to 120,000 stock units in the near future as a result of an extensive pasture renovation programme, further development of scrub land and the recently returned leased land, as well as an irrigation project which is just commencing.