"Internally, we call the beachfront sites the Hamptons lots," says American Jim Rohrstaff, since the beachfront sites are reminiscent of the iconic Hamptons area of New York.
Eleven of the 46 sites are around Tara Iti (fairy tern) Golf Club, north of Auckland, near Mangawhai, the remaining 35 are beachfront. The sites on the golf course range from $2.85 million to $4 million and the beachfront sites range from approximately $2 million to $3 million.
Rohrstaff, of Auckland-based Legacy Partners, is selling sites on the course and along part of the 11km beach where houses will be built just 200m back, in the sand dunes, although one will be only 16m from the water's edge.
The area certainly resembles American oceanfront playground Southampton but without the houses yet.
One plan has emerged showing a sophisticated futuristic glazed structure nestled in the dunes and Legacy Partners' Michael Pleciak said the community is bound to contain a great collection of architecture.
The member-only course has created a caddie programme, with help from Scotland-born Steven MacDonald, which has attracted Kiwi caddies who have been working overseas.
Members and guests are greeted at the club, their cars are then valeted out of sight.
All roadways and paths on the former Crown, then ex-Maori-owned, freehold land are white sand, sealed to reduce dust.
Dean Murphy, New Zealand Golf chief executive, predicted Tara Iti would be one of the best courses in the world.
On arrival, guests and players take a short walk up a golden path to the north-orientated Pip Cheshire-designed clubhouse with a golf pro shop, lounge, bar and dining room seating about 40 people, flanked by an outdoor seating area. Two floor-to-ceiling open fireplaces - one inside, the other out - are centrepieces.
"The theme is high-quality but understated," Rohrstaff said of the building's architecture and fitout. Interior design was by Los Angeles' Herringbone, which has regularly worked for part-owner Los Angeles-based Ric Kayne.
American Matthew Guzik is Tara Iti's general manager. New Zealander Paul Reid is its director of golf, working with three assistant professionals. Head chef is Ben Mills, with access to his organic garden and a glass house near his kitchen.
Seven stand-alone two-bedroom member cottages by Studio John Irving Architects have been developed near the course and will soon sprout rooftop gardens to blend into the landscape. About 20 homes are planned on a ridge behind the member cottages and are anticipated to sell for between $1 million and $2 million.
At the course, thousands of pine trees have been removed, while the natural landscape has been enhanced for a links experience.
Golf Digest praised the result: "It's the newest splendiferous creation by American designer Tom Doak and is far more links-like than the other new coastal courses. It's built on what had been a pine-covered Sahara by the sea. After removing acres of trees from the locale on the eastern coast of the country's North Island, Doak and associate Brian Slawnik spent more than two years gently contouring the sandy soil, forming hummocks, punchbowls and sand dunes that look like they were formed by wind and vegetated by nature. There's a lot of sand, but no bunkers. From holes inspired by Cypress Point, Royal Dornoch and Royal St. George's, players are afforded breathtaking views of the Hauraki Gulf, the North Island's answer to Pebble Beach's Carmel Bay."
Rohrstaff said Tara Iti is a par 71, 18-hole golf course, 6300m from the championship tees, so players are walking just over 8km to complete it, taking around four hours.
"It's not an easy course, but it's not difficult. It's very fair," Rohrstaff said.
The turf is closely-clipped fescue which drains so fast on its sand base that downpours hardly affect play.
House sites are near the beach, but Rohrstaff said they won't be visible from there due to a dune ledge of around 3m and the backdrop of trees.
However, the lowest site sits 16m above the waters edge, giving all of the sites spectacular views.
Rohrstaff said the endangered tara iti or fairy tern appears to be thriving, the original population of 37 now standing at 43, giving hope that the pine forest eradication and conservation measures are working at Tara Iti.
• New members-only golf club 100km north of Auckland.
• Par 71, 18-holes on a 6300m course.
• 46 housing lots are being marketed around the course.
• No golf carts or trundlers.
• Insiders say club costs $175,000 to join.
• Membership about $15,000 per year.
• Compulsory $1000 per month bar tab.
• Club won't disclose any financial figures.