Chinese interests have bought their very own "castle" on a chunk of the Waitaki Valley, and have big plans.
An affiliate company of NZHouseChina, based in Auckland and China, has bought Campbell Park Estate and plans to create an educational facility for Chinese students as well as tourist accommodation.
NZHouseChina general manager Rene Bros said the company previously focused on providing an end-to-end service for New Zealand businesses wanting to export their products and services to China, but had always planned to expand into other services.
"Tourism is New Zealand's largest export industry. The $3 billion international education sector, which the Government is looking to grow to $5 billion by 2025, is also one of our biggest export earners," he said.
"It makes sense for us to be involved in both sectors. Chinese consumers love Kiwi-made products but they also see New Zealand as a great place to holiday and to study."
The estate, which features the oldest castle in New Zealand as well as a historic education campus, was an ideal location for NZHouseChina to launch its tourism and education services, he said.
It planned to refurbish the education campus at Campbell Park Estate, which had been dormant since 1987, to create an educational facility for Chinese students. There would also be accommodation for tourists visiting the area, with a primary focus on Chinese visitors who would travel between Queenstown and Christchurch.
Residents in the village of 32 homes on the estate would be unaffected by the change of ownership, although there would be new job opportunities from the new business ventures. All existing staff would be offered jobs.
Mr Bros said NZHouseChina's plans for Campbell Park Estate was good news for the local economy.
"The South Island has a great reputation in China. More Chinese tourists and students will mean more spending in the local area, providing jobs and supporting local businesses. Many of the students will visit other parts of the South Island during their stay."
The property was marketed by Barry Robertson and Steve McIsaac of Colliers Queenstown.