The last big block of undeveloped, residential-zoned land in central Kerikeri is on the market for the first time in more than 60 years.

The sale of the 20ha-plus property bordering Kerikeri River and the Heritage Bypass comes amid a boom in the Bay of Islands town with new subdivisions springing up, work about to start on the Far North's biggest retirement village and an influx of new residents, many from Auckland.

No other land currently being developed, however, is as close to the centre as Woodlands Park, known to long-time locals as the Bing property.

Given its location — depending on who buys the property and what for — the sale has potential to change the face of Kerikeri.


The land is currently forested in gum and redwoods with some secondary native bush, and forms part of the town's distinctive backdrop.

Subject to subdivision consents the land will be sold as an 18.5ha block described as suitable for a residential development, retirement village, hotel and conference centre, sports or medical facility.

A separate 2ha lot includes Woodlands Motel, which is currently leased to a Korean travel company and is also for sale.

The land was bought by the late Ian Bing in the 1950s and is being sold by his descendants in the Bing Family Trust.

Bing, a prominent member of New Zealand's Chinese community, died in 2014 at the age of 92.

He is immortalised in Picton with a statue outside a pub he restored in 1951, when he was reportedly the country's only Chinese publican.

The Advocate understands the family want to retain part of the property bordering the Fairy Pools, a popular swimming hole on Kerikeri River, which they intend to leave as bush with public access to the pools.

Harcourts Kerikeri sales consultant Esmae Farrington said she had been fielding strong interest in the property, which was for sale by international tender closing on October 31.


The growth in Kerikeri, now easily the biggest town in the Far North, was ''amazing'', Farrington said.

''When I came here 20 years ago Kerikeri was a sleepy little village. Today it's booming,'' she said.

''Building consents and property sales have escalated, and with the Government injecting significant funds from its Provincial Growth Fund into major projects in our area we're seeing increased numbers of young families and tradespeople arriving.''

The land sale has also caught the eye of local lobby group Vision Kerikeri, with founder Rod Brown urging the Far North District Council to acquire a 20m-wide esplanade strip along Kerikeri River ''as a matter of priority''.

An esplanade strip would allow the now disused Bing Track along the river from Fairy Pools to Tuatahi Place to be reinstated, filling an important gap in Kerikeri's walking trail network.

The work could be done by community volunteers in the same way the well-used track along Kerikeri's Wairoa Stream had been built.


Farrington said a public riverside esplanade was already part of the subdivision proposal.