Jamie Morton is the NZ Herald's science reporter.

Pay-per-view for $12m hilltop mansion

A grand hilltop estate with sweeping views over Tauranga has hit the market with a $12 million price tag - and a $400 fee just to take a tour.

The five-bedroom neo-colonial home - boasting a rare wind-up music box, a guest bedroom with its own indoor balcony and the largest privately owned solar power array in the country - was put up for sale this month by its US owners.

Perched in the hills above the suburb of Ohauiti, the house dubbed the Majestic Haven forms the centrepiece of a 43ha estate, taking in a pine forest, streams and a solar panel array capable of generating 30Kw of power.

Buyers are principally being sought in overseas campaigns and agent Julie Hignett of Anthem NZ and the owners opted against holding open homes.

"It's just not that calibre," said Ms Hignett.

She will show prospective buyers the manor for a $400 fee, which she believed would separate out serious buyers.

It was something Real Estate Institute of New Zealand president Helen O'Sullivan had never seen before in a big sale. "I guess what they are aiming to do is avoiding too many tyre-kickers," she said.

"You are certainly only going to pay for a tour of the estate in the event that you are pretty serious about looking at it."

The home has furniture and ornaments collected from around the globe, insured for $2 million.

An outdoor garden party area sits alongside an African-themed retreat called the "safari room", featuring carvings and an antique Newman Brothers piano.

The formal living area includes sea vistas, an antique music box, a set of French lounge chairs that is one of five in the world, and a large dining table surrounded with paintings by US artist Chris Hopkins.

Ms Hignett said the sales campaign was targeting Asia and Europe.

Majestic mansion

• The $12 million asking price of the estate dubbed the Majestic Haven is thought to be among the biggest - if not the biggest - of its kind in Tauranga.

• The previous most expensive listing and sale for a residential property in the city on QV's records was a five-bedroom house in Mt Maunganui's Marine Parade, listed for $8.5m and sold for $7.9m in May 2007.

• The Majestic Haven includes a rare wind-up music box, a bedroom with an indoor balcony, and a "safari room'' with an antique piano

- NZ Herald

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