A picturesque island in the Far North has sold for an undisclosed sum.
Agent John Greenwood from Bayleys would not comment on the sale of 3.34ha Motuekaiti Island but previously told OneRoof the tiny island in the shape of a horseshoe would be suitable for Robinson Crusoe, or Tom Hanks’ character in the movie Castaway.
The island has crystal-clear waters, a sandy beach and is just north of Matauri Bay and less than 10 minutes by helicopter from Paihia.
Greenwood’s listing said while there was no accommodation, the island was a freehold title and “begging for Robinson Crusoe to build his escape here”.
It was the first time the island had been for sale in 30 years, and it was one of two islands Greenwood was involved in selling, the other being Motuketekete in the Hauraki Gulf, which is also being marketed by former deputy prime minister Paula Bennett and which is still for sale.
Greenwood told OneRoof previously it was rare for any of the around 144 islands in the Bay of Islands, and another 27 in the Cavalli Islands to the north, to come to the market.
Motuekaiti Island was special and affordable with price expectations around $3.5m: “It’s cheaper than some bits of coastal land or bigger islands like Motuketekete where you’re looking at around $10m”.
The island was one of the most viewed listings on OneRoof this year, taking out the number three spot.
Greenwood told OneRoof in November he was not surprised that both Motuekaiti and Motuketekete, the ninth most-viewed listing, got so many views as they are idyllic, however, he said people interested in buying islands had to do a bit more thinking through than when buying other real estate.
“It’s not straightforward. You need to either have a helicopter or you need to drive and have somewhere to park your car and then get a boat.”
There had been regular inquiries mainly from New Zealanders, he said, but many were “dreamers” who did a double take at the price tags.
He said Motuekaiti was stunning: “It is small but it is beautiful and it’s shaped just like you think an island should be with a beautiful little protected cove with a white sandy beach and all the rest of it.”
Another island in the Far North, Motukawaiti, sold last year after being taken over by squatters.
The New Zealand Herald reported the $22m price tag was dropped and the island was now owned by an unnamed New Zealand family, “dashing the hopes of some in Ngati Kura who had hoped the Crown would buy and landbank the island with which it shares 900 years of history”.
The Herald report said the sale followed the island’s abandonment by its Chinese owner years ago, after which it became a getaway for local youths who took over a sprawling mansion intended to be the centrepiece of a Northland resort.
Greenwood said the top end of the market in the Far North was otherwise quiet following the election.
There was disappointment the foreign buyer ban had not been reversed, though there was hope Overseas Investment Office applications would be looked at differently to the Labour Government, he said.
While there is land for sale up north there were not many “sexy” pieces of coastal land on the market.
“There are farms and things like that but not big coastal blocks or islands or beautiful 200ha pieces, they’re not really about.
“The owners of them are not looking at that until the market actually starts responding to it because that sort of product, if it’s on the market too long it’s not good for it.”
However, Greenwood said a “sexy” listing he would have before Christmas was the relaunch of individual lots at Wiroa Station in the Kerikeri Inlet, which he said was “absolutely stunning” with two beaches, a vineyard, beach chalets and a tennis court.