A company owned by the multimillionaire founders of a large financial services business has bought a rural clifftop peninsula north of Auckland for $12 million, planning a new lodge there.
Carmel Fisher and her husband Hugh Fisher are on the NBR Rich List with an estimated $90m fortune and they have set one of this year's higher property prices so far by purchasing the 9ha site flanked by beaches on either side.
Nick Goodall, CoreLogic research head, said 20 Omaha Block Access Rd near Leigh had been sold to Panetiki which Companies Office records show is owned by Carmel Miringa Fisher and her husband Hugh Gladstone Fisher, both of Clifton Rd, Hauraki, Auckland.
"It was bought by Panetiki Ltd on March 7 for $12m and settled on June 4. The vendor was J R Courtenay Trustee Co Ltd," Goodall said. The property had been listed for sale in October last year by Kellie Bissett of Bayleys Warkworth.
Carmel Fisher said: "We are in the very early stages of planning a lodge to be built over coming years to maximise the beautiful site at Panetiki."
In 2017, Fisher sold out of Fisher Funds which at the time had $3.6 billion in KiwiSaver funds and $7b total under management. It was sold to TSB, making it the fifth-largest fund manager in the country behind the four major Australian banks.
Fisher has championed women's financial independence and financial literacy and supported a number of charities both through her company and personally.
Advertising around the Leigh site said it was 9ha and "unique beyond compare" because it had uninterrupted panoramic views of the Hauraki Gulf and direct access to Omaha Cove.
Panetiki Island is off the end of the peninsula. Two beach fronts, natural landscaping and a principal residence which was an under-stated single level three-bedroom house were features, advertising said.
The Fishers are no strangers to big property deals: in 2016, they bought Chateau de La Sur Mer on Clifton Rd near Takapuna for $22m, although the property had been advertised for $35m. That house is 1730sq m, more than eight times the size of most Kiwi homes and is on nearly half a hectare of land.
The home was marketed as "arguably the finest private residence in New Zealand", featuring a swimming pool and cabana, imported chandeliers, marble bathrooms, and Swedish solar heating and was sold by Cameron and Tracey Gregory.
Carmel Fisher, who has Lebanese and Māori heritage, remains on the Fisher Funds board. She already owns another place on Leigh Rd.
J R Courtenay Trustee Co's directors include Bob Narev of St Heliers who said that trustee company was established by the late John Courtenay.
"It was his out-of-town pad," Narev said. "He bought it in the name of the trust and then when he died, the trust sold it, at the instigation of the family because none of them wanted to keep it."
John Robert Courtenay's death notice was published in the Herald on December 30, 2017. It said he was of Leigh, aged 83 , and that a celebration of his life would be held at his Omaha Block Access Rd home on January 4, 2018.
Last November, the Herald's Herald Homes published an article headlined "Unique 70s family getaway" promoting the sale of 20 Omaha Access Block Rd and saying Courtenay had been a pioneer in the plastics industry.
In the mid-1970s, he took his three daughters on a boat trip to Great Barrier Island that changed their lives forever. It was meant to be fun but the crashing waves frightened the girls so much that he decided instead to look for a holiday home within driving distance of their home in Bayswater, the article said.
He found it near the coastal town of Leigh, an area he knew as a boatie and via his parents who were caretakers of the Martins Bay campgrounds. In a nod to the area's significance in his life Courtenay's middle daughter was named Leigh.
From day one, it was clear this land was special, with a number of dwellings, Omaha Cove and Pacific beach access as well as bountiful seafood and native birdlife, the article said.
"It was mostly about the land back then," Leigh was quoted as saying "I remember my mother, Marcelline, out in her bikini smashing through the gorse.
"We all helped to clear the land but she was the gardener and the landscaper. After she died, Dad took over and planted the native trees. In the main driveway the wonderful blooms of colour that greet you are Dad's work too. He never stopped coming up with ideas."
The property has three main dwellings: the main house, the mezzanine bedroom/games room and a renovated cottage where Courtenay lived for 10 years until it was destroyed by fire, according to the article.
In this year's sale, Bayleys sought a price by negotiation and its agent Kellie Bissett expressed delight with the deal on the property she indicated was magnificent.
Auckland Council lists 20 Omaha Block Access Rd as being valued at only $5.4m of which $5m is the land and $425,000 the buildings.
The land area is 9.04ha, building total floor area is just 200sq m and the land use is listed as lifestyle. Annual rates are $9888.28.