A Richlister has bought a station near Glenorchy advertised as "one of the most beautiful farms on earth", famous for being in The Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia and television advertisements.
Sir Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf, described the farm at the top of Lake Wakatipu as his favourite place on earth.
Publicity in April said $15 million to $20m was being sought by the vendor.
Property investment specialist Tim Edney said today he bought the 257ha Arcadia Station from Jim Veint, now in his 80s, who has for 60 years farmed the iconic site bordered by Diamond Lake, Mount Aspiring National Park and the Dart River.
In a wry quip, Edney told the Herald today: "I have brought Arcadia Station at Paradise. Bo the dog is continuing to enjoy his time there, well looked after by Jim and the new manager."
Although the sale has been previously reported, the buyer has never been identified. The low-profile investor appeared on last year's NBR Rich List with an estimated $160m, up from $150m the year before.
Edney is planning his purchase to help revive the area's fortunes, down on its knees from the tourism downturn because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"We are hoping to aid in the rejuvenation of the Queenstown film industry with this and other locations and a operations base and sound stage at Victoria in the Gibbston. The [independent hearing] commissioners are deliberating these matters at the moment as part of PDP 3 [proposed Queenstown Lakes District Plan]," Edney said today.
And in an unusual twist, the vendor farmer will stay on for a bit.
"Veint will continue assisting with the farming operation and help recruit and train a new farm manager," Edney said.
Advertising for the sale said there was 257ha of rolling sunny, sheltered farm land and the property had been owned by the Veint family since 1951.
"The whole farm has never been officially offered to the market until now. Approximately 21ha is zoned for rural visitor accommodation and tourism development," Ray White's Bas Smith said.
About 1.4km fronts Diamond Lake and 1km runs beside the Dart River. Edney now owns the stately 1905 11-bedroom homestead, a four-bedroom shepherd's cottage, four-stand woolshed, two big hay sheds, sheep and cattle yards.
The property has 11 consented residential sections and four consented lifestyle sections, with titles subject to conditions.
Smith called it "one of the most beautiful farms on earth".
The property has featured in almost 20 films, going back to 1958, and hundreds of TV commercials.
The Herald has previously reported how about 15 films have been shot at the Southern Lakes beauty spot over the years, including the two Chronicles of Narnia movies, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian; and Sir Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.
Those in the industry hail it for its versatility as a location and its convenience, in view of the difficulty in gaining approval to shoot on Department of Conservation land.
Edney has long experience and a diversified portfolio throughout New Zealand and also collects cars.
Four years ago, Edney's Tamaki Village bought Auckland University's 12ha Tamaki campus, reportedly for $80m. Edney resigned from the company four months later and transferred his shareholding to Chinese partners Shundi Group Investment which then controlled the campus in partnership with another Chinese entity.
Outside Auckland, Edney is reported to own a mix of properties including vineyards in the Gibbston Valley, Queenstown houses and almost 6000ha of pastoral land in the surrounding Lakes District.
In 2016, he and his wife Cathie donated $250,000 to the university's Liggins Institute for ground-breaking "gut bugs" research to help identify the causes of teenage obesity.
Ray White Queenstown owner/agent Bas Smith, who concluded the sale, said he was pleased that, in the face of considerable overseas interest, Veint had chosen a New Zealand buyer.