The sale of a Hawke's Bay kiwifruit orchard property in Fernhill is believed to have achieved both a record price for any sale of New Zealand kiwifruit land and the start of a new era of fruit growing in the Bay.
Stan and Chris Robb, of PGG Wrightson Real Estate in Tauranga, successfully sold the 66.47ha Fernhill property, comprising five orchards, just before Christmas to Tauranga's Ngai Tukairangi Trust for $40.2 million.
PGG Wrightson Real Estate general manager Peter Newbold said it was one of the largest sales, by value, of any New Zealand rural property; a reflection of extremely positive indications that the kiwifruit market will remain buoyant for the next five years.
"In recent months, values for premium Bay of Plenty orchards have exceeded the $800,000 per canopy hectare threshold. This time last year, similar properties were selling for $600,000 per canopy hectare and, two years ago, they were around the $450,000 per canopy hectare mark," he said.
Mr Newbold said the sale, which he deemed remarkable by any standard, reflected the kiwifruit sector's outstanding confidence and reinforced it's bright future following the struggled it once went through several years ago with the Psa virus.
"It just proves and it will become more apparent that it is successful to grow kiwifruit in Hawke's Bay as it's typically grown in the Bay of Plenty," he said.
While just a small amount of New Zealand's kiwifruit is grown in Hawke's Bay, Mr Newbold said this significant sale should "stimulate" thought around the potential the Bay has to grow kiwifruit.
"I can't think of anything this significant in a long, long time. It's one of the largest, if not the largest in this sector," he said.
PGG Wrightson Real Estate rural sales consultant Stan Robb said despite Hawke's Bay's distance from the Bay of Plenty it has strong market appeal.
"This is an operation of exceptional size, developed to a high standard over the past two decades. Although it is some distance outside the established kiwifruit heartland, its outstanding scale and quality gave it strong market appeal," he said.
Located 12km north-west of Hastings, the orchards were developed over 20 years ago by the present owners, a long established family in Hawke's Bay, who will now pass it on to Bay of Plenty's well-respected grower the Ngai Tukairangi Trust.
The trust said the demand for gold kiwifruit property is phenomenal, with Mr Newbold adding there was considerable interest from both overseas and local parties in the property.
"Many observers will be gratified that this transaction took place between two New Zealand-based entities. Even for sales of this magnitude, locals have the capacity to purchase New Zealand rural property, despite competition from overseas interests," he said.
Mr Newbold reported Zespri's confirmation, in November, that it will release another 400ha of licences for gold kiwifruit in 2017 further consolidated the exceptional confidence the sector has shown over the past few seasons.