Waterfront land and buildings in Awatoto that once housed a paua aquaculture plant has been placed on the market, with aquaculture infrastructure remaining.

The 7760sq m industrial-zoned waterfront site contains seven residential properties generating $81,640 per annum from six of the homes.

Bayleys agent Daniel Moffitt said the seventh was currently vacant and had previously returned $7800 annually.

The site housed the Paua Fresh aquaculture building which was destroyed in a suspicious fire in 2014.


The building was empty for about three years following the closure of Paua Fresh due to a catastrophic failure of its system.

The building was once a nightspot called Cabaret Cabana, which was opened in 1950. In the 1970s, it was called the Polynesian Palace.

While the building has gone its 100m saltwater pump and pipeline remains intact, which pumped water over shellfish housed in large buckets and then recirculated it back to sea.

Bayleys agent Sam MacDonald said the property was a good opportunity to enter aquaculture thanks to strong Chinese demand.

"As we have seen with wine, and most recently apples and honey, there is huge demand for New Zealand-branded primary produce," he said.

"This demand would certainly underpin confidence in the establishment of another aquatic-based production plant on this site again.

"With paua locally retailing for $95kg, the delicacy is one of the most high-value proteins produced in New Zealand, even before you look at its worth on the international market."

New Zealand currently has around 13 commercially-licensed paua farms - the largest of which operates in Bream Bay, Northland, and is on track to produce 100 tonnes annually.

"Paua farming is still one of the smallest aquaculture sectors in New Zealand, but enormous opportunity remains for new areas of development and growth in hatchery, processing, marketing and service sectors. The product could be to aquaculture what kiwifruit was to horticulture in the 1970s."

He said the houses on site had spectacular views but "of relatively basic nature" and could be easily moved to make way for a new building.

While the property had an artesian well with a 7cm bore to 45m there was no current consent for water extraction. One Pure's water bottling plant is next door.

"The location's immediate proximity to State Highway 2 would allow for easy access from across the bay's production hinterland to a centralised collection point from where produce could be trucked directly down to Napier Port just 10km away. As a virtual brownfield site, this would be a cost-effective development option."

Tenders close in March.