"I never thought it would be worth $30 million. Not at all. Never."

Back in 1985, "proud westie" Henry Norcross paid $450,000 for his 6.8ha slice of rural paradise, today valued at about $30 million.

He is one of 10 owners of a huge west Auckland site who have grouped together to sell their $150 million-plus farmland for a vast new housing estate.

Norcross, a businessman whose family have been in the west since the 1920s, retired wealthy at the age of only 49.

He said there was a lesson in his decision to invest in the rural section of land, which is now valued at $30 million.


Westies unite to sell 42.26ha farmland block

"It's all very well to invest in what I would call over-priced housing, but if you have the opportunity to, buy vacant land further out from the city.

"Sure it's location, location, location, but it's also land, land, land, land!" said the Aucklander who now lives at Orewa.

His 15 grandchildren and four children will be the beneficiaries of the sale.

In 1985, Norcross only put down 10 per cent for his 6.8ha, buying from an acquaintance who smoothed the way by allowing Norcross to pay off the rest.

Henry Norcross. Photo / Supplied
Henry Norcross. Photo / Supplied

But the man who describes himself as "a proud westie" says he didn't buy it to become wealthy, and used the property for cattle grazing and to raise horses.

"I bought the land with the idea of living there and building a new home and I even had the plans drawn up," he recalls.

"I never thought it would be worth $30 million. Not at all. Never."


Norcross is one of 10 landowners who might get $150 million-plus for their 42.26ha of farmland near Westgate and Norcross said there was only one reason why it was so valuable.

"The radical increase in the value is due to the yield - 1500 houses. We have a very, very, high yield of houses and that's because we're so close to the shopping centre," he said.

"My land is about 80m away from the Pak'nSave, 50m from the Bunnings and 200m from the new shopping centre," Norcross said, referring to the NorthWest mall which opened last October.

Norcross, 77, says if he had his time over again, he'd be scouting around Auckland's fringes.

"Riverhead, Kumeu, West Auckland ... we have a lot of overseas buyers buying land that won't be rezoned for 20 to 30 years and they're prepared to sit on it. They're buying left, right and centre."

Norcross was in business for many yeas in the west with his office products and printing business.

"I could retire at 49 because I'd worked very hard. My grandfather had a general store, my sister had a book shop and my brother had a sports business. We had a lot to do with the development of Henderson," he said, recalling how it sometimes took him more than an hour to travel from home in the 1950s into Sacred Heart school in Ponsonby.