By Andrew Ashton

It has been 13 years in the making, but Mahia will get a brand new village that promises to give the whole Wairoa district an economic boost.

Real estate agent Bayleys last month offered 35 sections across a 2.9-hectare area of the waterfront Blue Bay subdivision in Mahia as part of a mortgagee sale, and Bayleys Gisborne saleswoman Katie Bowen confirmed after receiving a total of 50 tenders from across New Zealand, all 35 sections had now been sold.

"With all 35 lots now sold and/or under contract, the future for Mahia is looking very promising. The multitude of new holidaymakers in Mahia throughout the year will provide support for local businesses and help grow the local economy."

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Ms Bowen said she could not disclose sale prices at this stage because of the confidential tender process, but section prices would eventually become public knowledge when the sales were registered with Land Information New Zealand.

Latest Wairoa District Council rating valuations on the sections ranged from $67,000 to $143,000.

She added that most tenders were for specified individual sites, with a pair of (unsuccessful) tenders for the entire development.

A total of 31 tenders were accepted for individual sections and two tenders were accepted from buyers wanting two sections each.

Total price high

Ms Bowen said the total price achieved from the combined individual tenders was "considerably more" than the values indicated in the two tenders received for the entire Blue Bay offering as one package.

Tenders were submitted from Wairoa, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, Wellington, Auckland, Hamilton, Thames, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Reporoa, Taupo and Marlborough.

Bayleys Gisborne manager Karen Raureti said the Blue Bay sales and marketing campaign was one of the biggest the branch had ever been involved with.

Ms Raureti said "many scores" of potential buyer groups either visited the Mahia sections during allocated open days or visited the site of their own accord, with several hundred making enquiries with Bayleys resident Mahia saleswoman Katie Bowen.

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said the sale and the popularity of the sections was more evidence that Mahia was entering an "exciting transitional stage".

"It's exciting news and obviously these people are buying with the aim of building, so that's quite exciting because everything's ready to go - the plumbing's done, the power is there.

"It's quite amazing it has been so popular," said Mr Little.

"Things are ticking along quite nicely there, but this year there have been a few things happening, Blue Bay was one. It was sitting there doing nothing, and you have the camping ground for sale in the main part of Mahia. I just think it is all quite exciting for businesses out there to be honest. The tavern is for sale as well, so there are quite a lot of things happening out there.

"The council is keen to see Blue Bay thriving again. It is a beautiful part of our community and moving forward, we hope any new development takes into consideration the wider Opoutama and Blue Bay communities."

Good news for home builders

Master Builders Gisborne branch president Rod Dear said it was also good news for Gisborne home-builders.

"It will be good for us because at the moment there are not enough sections around to keep things humming. Most guys are pretty good at the moment but it's good to see those coming on line, and Gisborne builders will get a percentage of that market. They have seen a lot happening down at Mahia now, with a lot of guys doing work down there - which is excellent for us."

The site was home to Blue Bay Motor Camp for about 60 years until it closed in the early 2000s.

It was landscaped into the genesis of an exclusive residential enclave by a Wellington property developer who set about constructing paved avenues and installing infrastructure, including street lighting, sewerage, drainage and a water supply system.

Under its original layout, completed in 2004, the subdivision contained 44 sections set amongst grass-covered sand dunes. Seven sections were sold to private individuals, with Wairoa District Council buying two further sites in 2012 to establish the Opoutama Community Wastewater Scheme.

The roads and streets associated with the Blue Bay subdivision, and the original water and sewerage scheme installed some 13 years ago, have been passed on to Wairoa District Council to operate.

The developer faced financial difficulties and the Blue Bay subdivision was taken back by the mortgagee. It was subsequently sold to a second developer in 2008, shortly before the global financial crisis struck, and the asset has remained dormant since then.

The controversial sale of the land in the early 2000s started years of protests from some residents, who opposed the sale of the site because it had not been land-banked for Treaty of Waitangi claims.

- Gisborne Herald