New Zealand's oldest fishing lodge up for sale

By Mike Regan -
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Kingfish Lodge on the Whangaroa Harbour is up for sale.
Kingfish Lodge on the Whangaroa Harbour is up for sale.

What is reputed to be the oldest fishing lodge in New Zealand is in receivership and on the market.

Kingfish Lodge on the Whangaroa Harbour is only accessible by a 10-minute boat ride from Whangaroa Village in the Far North.

The business includes two blocks - one of nearly 12ha and the other of 1345sq m in Whangaroa Village and currently used as a carpark for guests. The land is under 12 unit titles, with one title including the lodge, restaurant and bar and accommodation. The other titles are bare land.

The property is owned by Jeremy and Jacqui Elvidge who bought the lodge four years ago after moving up from Christchurch "to escape the earthquakes".

Elvidge said he was "naturally gutted" the business has been placed in receivership, but apart from noting that news of the lodge's predicament has impacted on bookings, he said he was not able to discuss matters relating to the business going into receivership.

However, he did say the couple had poured substantial money into the business over the last four years, upgrading accommodation and infrastructure. Despite that "substantial" investment, Elvidge said one of his aims had been to make the lodge available to "ordinary Kiwis."

And the investment had been paying off.

"Those improvements resulted in an 87 per cent growth for us last year," he said.

But that was not enough to satisfy their bank, which called in receivers Chapman and Aitkins. Kingfish Lodge was placed in receivership on January 27, according to Rowan Chapman.

The Elvidges had put the property on the market under Link Business late last year - the receivers have since placed the sale with Bayleys.

"Bayleys have been quite successful, especially with businesses in the tourist sector - and we needed to have a fresh start," Mr Chapman said.

He hoped the sale would be sufficient to pay off the bank, creditors and still leave money for the owners.

Mr Chapman said there had been considerable interest in the sale but did not know if that included overseas buyers.

However, Bayleys tourism sales representative Chester Rendell said the main interest had come from Kiwis and expats.

He says the property was likely to attract two sorts of buyers; investors who saw potential in further developing the lodge as a business and individuals or families keen to acquire a remote luxury get-away.

"And having a floating dock is a fairly rare opportunity today - they're hard to come by."

The tender closes at 4pm on March 17.

- The premises started as a fishing lodge before World War II but was commandeered for officers' quarters by the military as part of defensive plans against a possible Japanese invasion.

It was handed back to civilian control in 1953.

- If you have any business news, tips or ideas contact me at biz@north ernadvocate.co.nz or (09) 470 2838.

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